The 4th Annual National Small Schools Conference

June 21-23, 2011 (Tues. - Thurs.) at Falmouth Academy on Cape Cod

(1.5 hours from Boston, MA and Providence, RI)


Speakers this year are Jake Dresden, former head of Concord Academy and Janet Rapelye, Dean of Admissions at Princeton University. The current program listing is available here.

We plan two breakout sessions. For the first session, participants will be able to choose from among several topics, including Fund Raising and Friend Raising in a Small Development Office; Legal Issues in Crisis Management; and How to Navigate a Contracting Economy while Maintaining Top-quality Programs. Topics and groups for the other session will be determined by NSSC participants based on their affinities.

Conference organizers Dave Faus ( Falmouth Academy ), Dave Provost ( Nantucket New School ), Bill Wharton (Commonwealth) and Siri Akal Khalsa (Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall) also make sure that NSSC participants have time to enjoy Falmouth beaches, bikeways and restaurants. We will again include a dinner at a waterfront restaurant in Woods Hole and the chance to tour the Marine Resources Center at the internationally known Marine Biological Laboratory and join a marine collecting trip on Vineyard Sound.

Quick wrap-up of the 2010 NSS Conference, attended by about 40 leaders of small schools from South Carolina to Hawaii attended (June 16-18):

Susan Moore Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Professor in Education at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, spoke about recruiting, supporting, and retaining a strong teaching force in the face of changes in teacher employment patterns.

Arlene Joy Gibson, former head of The Spence School (NY) and Kent Place School (NJ) and founding president of the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, recounted situations — both serious and humorous — which confirmed her belief that one learns to lead through experience. She encouraged her thoroughly engaged audience to base their school decisions on the values embedded in their schools, to check with a wide group of people in the course of making far-reaching decisions, and to spend the first year in a new school listening. She pointed out that all decisions a head of school makes are important and recommended that heads surround themselves with people smarter than themselves. She also suggested that they learn to recognize issues that they should not be involved in.

The 2011 conference Registration Form is available.

“Because deliberately small schools have goals and situations quite different from large schools, their leaders look forward to this chance to meet formally and informally,” said Dave Faus. “The conference has generated a great deal of national interest, and many people return each year. Of course, Cape Cod in June is a good draw, too!”

Comments from participants:

“Well organized! Good, responsive speakers. Cost effective, too!”

“Nice size – not overwhelming so you could have good conversations.”

“I am really glad this conference has become an annual event.”

Images from the 2010 Conference

Falmouth Academy on Cape Cod is next to both a conservation area with excellent walking trails and a paved bike path that runs up from Woods Hole, the home of international science institutions, shopping, restaurants, and the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. The school is within walking distance of Inn on the Square and the restaurant and shops on Main Street, Falmouth. It is a five-minute drive to The Coonamessett Inn and to Falmouth beaches.

Questions? Ask Tucker Clark, 508-457-9696 ext. 222, or contact Dave Faus, .


Falmouth Academy dot 7 Highfield Drive dot Falmouth, MA 02540 dot (508) 457-9696