Salem Academy Selects ISA

Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates for research and planning services.  Our work will commence immediately and continue into the spring and early summer.

Since 1772, Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has focused solely on educating young women. Their Moravian founders believed that a first-class education could make a profound impact on a young woman's life, and that belief lives on today as a hallmark of a Salem Academy education.  Small class settings, college-level facilities, and a blend of classic and modern teaching methods give students the tools to master every subject. The liberal arts and sciences curriculum challenges and inspires, building the foundation students need to excel at the nation's top colleges and universities.  Salem's faculty serves an important role in students' lives. As mentors, champions, and advisors, they ignite brilliance and help students to find and follow their unique talents and passions.

We will initiate our work with Salem Academy immediately and look forward to serving the school in market, region, and state that we know well.  We are excited to welcome Salem Academy to our client community.

Sacramento Country Day School Selects ISA

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Sacramento Country Day School in Sacramento, California, has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates for strategic planning services in the fall 2017.  

For over 50 years, Sacramento Country Day has served as the leading elementary and secondary school for students in the city of Sacramento and throughout the greater metropolitan region.   As Sacramento’s only PK-12th grade independent school, they offer a unique educational option to students and families. The school is driven by a mission and the independent philosophy, and both guide us as we seek to maximize the potential of each of the 500 individual students at Country Day.  One of the school's guiding principles is to engage all students in a lifetime of learning. Country Day does not teach students what to think, but to make sure that each and every student knows how to explore, create, and innovate as they learn how to think. 

We will begin our work some preplanning work this spring and forge into data collection and planning throughout the fall.  We are excited to welcome Sacramento Country Day School to our client community.

Cascades Academy Selects ISA

Cascades Academy in Bend, Oregon has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates for strategic planning during the 2017-18 academic year.  Our work will commence in the late spring as we begin our data collection process.  We welcome Cascades Academy to the ISA client community.

Cascades Academy is an engaged, vibrant community that weaves challenging academics with experiential learning to inspire socially responsible individuals ready for a diverse and changing world.  The school was founded in 2003 in order to fulfill the need for an independent, PK-12 college preparatory school in Central Oregon. The school opened its doors on Studio Road in mid-town Bend with 61 students, moved to a 21-acre campus in Tumalo in 2013, and now has capacity for 225 students.  Cascades Academy offers a challenging academic curriculum that integrates experiential learning, outdoor education, fine arts, and service learning. Small class sizes of 18 students allow teachers to discover every student's unique potential - finding the right balance of challenge and support to help each student excel in a caring and dynamic community. 

The Waterford School Selects ISA

The Waterford School in Utah has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates to conduct strategic planning for the 2017-18 school year.  Our work will commence with research in late spring.  

Founded in 1981 by the non-profit Waterford Institute, the Waterford School was established as a research school to join the great lessons of a classical liberal arts education with the benefits of the latest computer technology. This partnership produced a model that the Waterford Institute has integrated in public schools throughout the country and has thus produced improved educational opportunities for all children. Today, the Waterford School and the Waterford Institute are two separate non-profit organizations, each independently governed by its own board of trustees, yet still enjoy the benefits of ongoing partnership, collaboration and research.

Waterford School provides liberal arts college preparatory education for students in Preschool through Grade 12, serving students from Salt Lake City, Holladay, Sandy, Draper, Park City, Utah County and throughout the Wasatch front.  Founded in 1981, the school instills qualities of independent thought, responsibility, and service as it helps students lay a solid foundation for college and prepares them to lead purposeful and honorable lives. Parents trust Waterford to deliver the finest education based on the richness of its curriculum, the quality of its faculty, the commitment of its students, and the safety of its environment. Using classical ideals for learning and life, Waterford teachers measure their effectiveness by the growth and development of each student.

The Avery Coonley School Selects ISA

The Avery Coonley School (ACS) has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates to conduct strategic planning during the 2017-18 academic year.  ACS will join the ISA client family with several other recent Chicagoland area ISA clients, including Francis Parker School, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Lake Forest Academy, and Baker Demonstration School, among others. Our work will commence in late spring and continue throughout the following academic year.

The Avery Coonley School is an independent school whose mission is to provide a learning environment that is appropriate both for academically bright and gifted children who are motivated to learn and have demonstrated the potential for the scholastic achievement necessary to succeed in a challenging academic program, in order that they may become positive, productive, and respectful members of society.  Founded in 1906, The Avery Coonley School is an independent, coeducational day school serving 378 academically bright and gifted students age 3 through Group 8. The School is located on an 11 acre campus in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb approximately 25 miles west of Chicago. The student body represents 40 different communities from surrounding suburbs.

We welcome The Avery Coonley School to the Ian Symmonds & Associates client family.  And, with family roots in Illinois for our president, Ian (a long-time Cub fan), and with so many previous clients in the area, we also look forward to getting back to Chicago! 

French International Schools In North America Select ISA

The French International Schools in North America have selected Ian Symmonds & Associates to lead their strategic planning effort during the spring and early summer 2017.  We will begin our work immediately and should culminate our plan in late spring and summer, with the hope of launching the plan for the new school year.

FISNA or French International Schools in North America is a network of 54 schools located in Canada and the United States, which implement the French curricula, and employ a majority of teachers who are qualified in the French National Education system. These schools also are truly international: in addition to enrolling French and Northern American students, they welcome students from a wide range of countries from around the world. Instruction is offered in at least two languages, French and English, and oftentimes in a third language as well.  

ISA has served three members of the French International Schools in North America network throughout our history.  They include strategic planning (twice) for The French American School of the Puget Sound (WA), French American International Schools (OR), and the International School of the Peninsula (CA).  We are excited to work with this innovative and global network of schools throughout North America. 

Ian to Keynote at Sacred Heart Network National Conference

Ian has been invited to deliver a keynote at the International Network of Sacred Heart Schools in St. Louis, Missouri.  The event will feature heads of schools and trustees from network schools throughout the US, North America, and international members.  The conference runs in late October and Ian will speak on October 27, 2017.   Guided by the global vision of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, the Network of Sacred Heart Schools is an association of Catholic independent schools and the Province, which advances the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The Network provides services and programs that promote and stimulate creative education and leadership framed by the Goals and Criteria for Sacred Heart Schools in the United States and Canada.  For more information, visit the Network of Sacred Heart Schools website

New Series: Who Owns Strategy & Planning?

Among the most frequent questions I get asked from current and prospective clients is "who actually owns strategic planning?"  In other words, it is under the ownership of the board of trustees as a governance process?  Or, is the ownership of the head of school or college president, as an act of hired personnel ownership?  Or, perhaps it is some combination or hybrid of these scenarios, working together to create a long term vision of the organization.  It turns out that the answer to this question will tell you a lot about the maturity and function of the organization that is asking.  

Throughout the next ten days, we are going to outline different scenarios for strategic planning based upon the maturity of the organization.  And, we are going to start with who the client actually is in the strategic planning process.  Keep watching our blog, Twitter, and Facebook feeds to follow along in the series. 

New Hope Christian Academy Selects ISA Again


New Hope Christian Academy in Memphis, Tennessee has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates to lead a positioning and messaging program.  ISA completed the strategic plan for the school launched two years ago.  Our positioning work and messaging structure work will commence this spring and move through the summer months, working closely with the administrative team and board of trustees. 

New Hope Christian Academy is an urban, college-preparatory elementary school providing students with a challenging intellectual and Christ-centered education.  Serving over 400 children from three-years-old to sixth grade, New Hope Christian Academy is rooted in the heart of the Frayser community of Memphis and built upon the core ideas of teaching, learning, and discipleship.  New Hope is an active member of various regional independent school associations (including MAIS, TAIS and SAIS) and is accredited by AdvancEd and SAIS.  

Academy of the Sacred Heart Launches Strategic Plan

Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans has just published and launched their strategic plan.  Ian Symmonds & Associates worked collaboratively with the school over the past 12 to 14 months to complete the comprehensive strategic plan, the first of its kind at Academy of the Sacred Sacred Heart.  You can check out a glimpse of their completed strategic plan on our strategic plan "Work" page. 


The Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, founded in 1867, is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for girls offering education an instructional services from pre-kindergarten school through grade 12. Little Hearts, a separate Early Learning Program for ages 1 through 3 year-old girls, is also a division of the school.

Sacred Heart challenges their girls with an education attuned to the circumstances and times in which we live, and we express an exceptional spirit of love – for their traditions, our students and our city.  Customs and traditions that characterize Sacred Heart schools evolve over the years, but the vital force always remains the same: a deep personal love of God. This love inspires their students to share their gifts with others through lives of concern and service.

St. Michael's Episcopal School Selects ISA


St. Michael's Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates to provide counsel through their strategic planning process this spring.  Established in 1957 by St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, St. Michael’s is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Their kindergarten through eighth grade co-educational program draws students from 30 different zipcodes from Richmond City and the surrounding counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Chesterfield and Powhatan.  Our work will commence in February and continue through the spring.  

St. Michael’s Episcopal School strives to provide children with superior academic instruction in an environment that acknowledges and develops Christian values.  St. Michael’s is an independent school where academic achievement, religious affiliation with the Episcopal Church and participation by their students and parents are all highly valued. Their academic community is small enough for adults and children to know one another, but large enough to provide exciting opportunities in performing arts, sports, clubs and robotics.  The Lower School, which serves approximately 230 kindergarten through fifth graders, is located on the fourteen acre Bon Air Campus in Chesterfield County. The Middle School, which serves approximately 140 sixth through eighth graders, is located just 10 minutes away on the scenic eighty acre W.E. and Dale Harman Singleton Campus.  St. Michael’s offers two classes per grade with a faculty ratio of 11:1. Most classes average 20 students.