ISA Welcomes Dr. Gary Daynes to Consulting Team

Ian Symmonds & Associates is pleased to welcome Dr. Gary Daynes to our consulting team. Gary will join our team as a consulting associate, leading strategic efforts with our clients in both (isa) education and (isa) nonprofit. He offices and lives in Eastern North Carolina.


Gary Daynes has over twenty years experience as a professor, author, school leader, and innovator. Through those years, though, his work has focused on a few key beliefs: that communities must organize themselves in order to flourish, that schools are essential parts of flourishing communities, and that the relationship between teachers and learners is the key factor in educational success. Gary is a listener, a problem-solver, and a conceptual thinker. He’s also the father of four college-age daughters.

Gary has taught at large universities and small colleges on topics as varied as American intellectual history, community organizing, and the relationship between place and vocation. He has led initiatives on service-learning, learning communities, mentored student research, electronic portfolios, and retention, all with the purpose of deepening student learning. He has published and presented on the civil rights movement, social change in America, and the activism of Jane Addams. His current work focuses on the ways that small schools and small communities can succeed in the face of competition from larger institutions.

As a school leader, Gary served Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT as Associate Provost for Integrative Learning, and later as the Vice President for Strategic Outreach and Enrollment. He is currently the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Barton College in Wilson, NC where he has led academic affairs, enrollment management, and marketing for the college. Gary’s success in these leadership roles is based on his ability to work across boundaries--both organizational and human.

Gary is a civic leader as well. He co-founded the College Access Network of Utah, and chaired the boards of City Academy, an urban charter high school in Salt Lake City, UT, and the Utah Humanities Council. He is currently the board chair for the St. John Community Development Corporation, a non-profit sponsored by the St. John AME Zion church, and dedicated to the educational success of underserved children in eastern North Carolina. Gary is also a leader in economic development in eastern North Carolina, having just been part of a team to win a million dollar grant to start an innovation hub and co-working space in Wilson, NC.

Gary has led strategic planning efforts for non-profits, K-12 schools, and independent colleges.

Cascades Academy Launches Their Strategic Plan


Cascades Academy in Bend, Oregon has recently launched their new strategic plan. We are pleased to present our Strategic Plan, “Poised and Ready.” This plan is the culmination of 18 months of research, reflection, and community discussions that have resulted in an ambitious plan for the school’s exciting future. We are immensely grateful to the students, staff, parents, board members, and community partners who contributed their time and insight into creating such a forward-thinking plan. You can view the web version of their strategic plan here.

Cascades Academy 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. In the fall of 2013, the school moved to a 21-acre campus in Tumalo, and added a third wing to its campus in 2017. Cascades Academy offers a challenging academic curriculum that integrates experiential learning, outdoor education, fine arts, and service learning. Small class sizes 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. 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.

Epilepsy Foundation Selects ISA

The Epilepsy Foundation has selected Ian Symmonds & Associates as a partner to develop the next strategic plan. Our work will commence with a national meeting in Scottsdale this month with leaders across the nation. We will continue to work with the Foundation and partners through the fall, winter, and spring. We are excited to welcome the Epilepsy Foundation to our client community.


The Epilepsy Foundation is the only national organization dedicated to helping people pursue seizure freedom.

“The Mission Of The Epilepsy Foundation Is To Lead The Fight To Overcome The Challenges Of Living With Epilepsy And To Accelerate Therapies To Stop Seizures, Find Cures, And Save Lives.”

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with over 50 local organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. They work to prevent, control, and cure epilepsy through community services, public education, federal and local advocacy, and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. They work to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential.

Shout Out to Kent Bicknell and Recent Book "Stepping Stones"

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If you are looking for a relaxing and thoughtful read to finish your summer, check out "Stepping Stones", available on Amazon here.  Good friend and colleague Kent Bicknell has just released a book that outlines the history of Sant Bani School in. central New Hampshire.  We got to know both Kent and the school very well several years ago as we completed a comprehensive strategic plan for Sant Bani School.  Kent served as the founding head, long-time leader, and resident historian.  

According to Amazon, "Stepping Stones narrates the fascinating history of Sant Bani School and its rapid growth into a dynamic educational day program in central New Hampshire. With a focus on the early years (1973-1978) founding head Dr. Kent Bicknell offers an in-depth account of the spiritual and educational roots of the school as it developed a curriculum based on the understanding that all life is connected. Along with a description of the relation of the school to two spiritual teachers from India, Dr. Bicknell provides a link to the educational theories of the 19th century Transcendentalists, Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcotts. Contemporary newspaper articles and photographs from the initial years help bring the story to life. Be prepared to wonder, to laugh, to learn – and to be drawn to visit the school's vibrant campus today ("

If you are a school historian and enjoy the challenges, chronicles, and journey of founding a new school and building an educational philosophy, check out "Stepping Stones".  It is thoughtful and in-depth account of a vital school in the central New Hampshire region.