IBSC Behind the Curtain: Rewards and Challenges of Headship

March 26-27, 2023

The Boys' Latin School of MarylandThe Boys’ Latin School of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

A Conference for School Leaders and Aspiring Heads


Explore the nature of the work of the head of school as you connect and collaborate with senior leaders and aspiring heads of school. Vance Wilson, past head of St. Albans School (United States), and Rick Melvoin, past head of Belmont Hill School (United States), use their vast experience to facilitate the program using extensive real-life case studies. Wilson and Melvoin currently work with school heads, governing boards, and administrators through their firm, Strategic School Leadership.

Join us to cover:

  • Insights into running a school, focusing on the path to headship, the head and the board, and budgeting.
  • The head’s role in school operations, focusing on admissions and financial aid; development; facilities; diversity, equity, and inclusion; student discipline; and curriculum and program.
  • The head as the leader of the faculty, focusing on hiring, firing, and supporting faculty. 
  • The nature of leadership, focusing on the pastoral dimensions of headship; leading in a time of crisis; building, shaping, protecting, and changing culture; and saving your soul as head of school.

IBSC Behind the Curtain starts at 2:00 PM on March 26, and ends at 3:00 PM on March 27. Schedule details coming soon.

Who Should Attend?

Senior leaders from North American member schools, including deputy heads, directors, division heads, executive committee members, and other administrators who aspire to headship of a boys’ school


Conference registration fees include access to all conference sessions, materials, and refreshments as listed in the conference program.

  • IBSC member rate: US $375
  • Nonmember rate: US $450

Refund Policy

IBSC will refund 90% of registration fees if a written request is received four weeks prior to the start of the conference (February 26, 2023) and 50% if a written request is received two weeks prior to the conference (March 12, 2023). No refunds will be made for cancellations received after this time. Schools wishing to register an alternate to replace a conference delegate unable to attend should contact IBSC@theibsc.org.


Rick MelvoinRick Melvoin

Rick Melvoin spent his entire career in the world of education. A graduate of Harvard College, with an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan, he served as a teacher, coach, theater director, dormitory resident and, in time, history department chair and dean of studies at Deerfield Academy.

After five years as assistant dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, he became head of school at Belmont Hill School (United States) and served there for 25 years. His experience in working with schools and boards runs deep. He was elected to the Board of Overseers at Harvard; he also served on the boards of The Winsor School, The Haverford School (United States), and The Epiphany School. He also has served as president of the boards of IBSC and The Headmasters Association.

Currently he chairs the Governance Committee as a member of the board of Facing History and Ourselves and chairs the Program Committee for The Steppingstone Foundation.

Vance WilsonVance Wilson

Vance Wilson has been a teacher, coach, dorm supervisor, department chair, dean of faculty, division head, associate head, and head of school. He worked at four independent schools before becoming the head of St. Albans School (United States), where he served for 19 years. He received his B.A. from Yale College, a diploma from Trinity College, University of Dublin, and his M.A. from the University of Virginia.

He has served on several boards and associations, most notably as the chair of the Academic Services committee of the National Association of Independent Schools and Independent School’s editorial board, and as the president of IBSC. He was the co-investigator of the Klingenstein Programs at Teachers College, Columbia University, a professor at Madison Area Technical College, and an adjunct at the University of Delaware. Wilson has served on school boards for The Asheville School, Roxbury Latin School (United States), and Tower Hill School, as well as on the boards of the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools, the Association of Independent Schools in Greater Washington, and the Association of Independent Schools in Maryland. 

Wilson has also authored of a number of articles and short stories, three books on education, a collection of essays and homilies, and a novel.