2021 IBSC Virtual Conference
Speakers for June 23
4:00 - 5:30 PM EDT
Jon Meacham is a renowned presidential historian, contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, contributing editor at TIME, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Meacham’s latest book is The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. His book Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush was a New York Times No. 1 bestseller and is available now in hardcover and paperback from Random House. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.
Meacham’s book American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House was a New York Times bestseller. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2009, the book was cited as an “unlikely portrait of a not always admirable Democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.” His other New York Times bestsellers include Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Society of American Historians, Meacham is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. He is a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, a contributing editor of Time, and has written for The New York Times op-ed page, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and Garden & Gun. Meacham is also a regular guest on “Morning Joe” and other broadcasts.
Meacham’s biography of President Bush was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The Washington Post and one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, National Public Radio, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Destiny and Power was also honored for excellence in “Politics and Leadership” in 2015 by the Plutarch Committee of BIO, the Biographers International Organization.
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power received the 2013 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award from the Fraunces Tavern Museum and the Sons of the American Revolution in the State of New York, a prize that “recognizes books of exceptional merit written on the Revolutionary War era.” Franklin and Winston was honored with the Colby Award of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at Norwich University. Meacham was also honored with the 2015 Nashville Public Library Literary Award; other winners include John Lewis, Robert K. Massie, Margaret Atwood, John McPhee, Billy Collins, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Irving, Ann Patchett, John Updike, David McCullough, and David Halberstam.
A former executive editor at Random House, he published the letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and books by, among others, Al Gore, John Danforth, Clara Bingham, Mary Soames, and Charles Peters. After serving as managing editor of Newsweek for eight years, Meacham was the editor of the magazine from 2006 to 2010. He is a former editor of The Washington Monthly and began his career at The Chattanooga Times.
Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at St. Nicholas School, The McCallie School (United States), and graduated from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a degree summa cum laude in English literature; he was salutatorian and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
A trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The McCallie School, and The Harpeth Hall School, Meacham chairs the National Advisory Council of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. He has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and of Trinity Church Wall Street as well as the Board of Regents of The University of the South. The Anti-Defamation League awarded Meacham its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Prize. In 2013 the Historical Society of Pennsylvania presented him with its Founder’s Award; in 2016 he was honored with the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute’s Spirit of Democracy Award. Meacham also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005 and holds honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, Wake Forest University, the University of Tennessee, Dickinson College, Sewanee, and several other institutions.
He lives in Nashville with his wife and children.
Jonathan Arendt teaches upper school English at Crescent School (Canada) in Toronto. In addition to teaching grades 9 and 12, he also teaches AP literature and composition and coaches the senior varsity basketball team. Prior to arriving at Crescent, Arendt completed his PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. While at OISE/UT, he focused his research on educational equity for marginalized groups, especially as they intersected with crises around race, ethnicity, and class as well as the general sociology of education. His work experience includes elementary through postsecondary teaching in a variety of educational contexts. He's taught in rural and urban communities, at public and private institutions, in youth prisons in Louisiana and Ontario, and all manner of places of learning in between.
Lorri Hamilton Durbin
Lorri Hamilton Durbin is the head of school at Town School for Boys (United States) in San Francisco. She is the first female head of an all-boys school in the United States. Prior to coming to Town in July 2017, she served as middle school director at The Dalton School in New York City. Her distinguished career in education includes serving as the associate director at The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University; head of the middle School at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, California; director of admissions and financial Aid at San Francisco University High School; and alumni coordinator, admissions counselor, and teacher at her alma mater, Midland School, in Los Olivos, California.
She has served twice as a member of the Board of Directors of the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) Board. Hamilton Durbin has a B.A. in government from Pomona College, where she was the varsity soccer captain and member of the All-League Teams and played women’s lacrosse. She holds a master’s in educational administration from Stanford University and a master’s of business administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She currently serves on the IBSC Board of Trustees and the Common Sense Media Regional Council.
Michael Fellin became Crescent School’s (Canada)10th headmaster in 2014. He began teaching at Neil McNeil High School in 2000, where for over 10 years he served as a teacher, chaplain, department head, and vice principal. In 2009, Fellin was awarded a Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence by the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Education. A member of IBSC since 2007, he has served on the IBSC Board of Trustees since 2015, on the Research Committee, Program Committee, and most recently on the Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Addressing Inequities in the Lives of Young Men of Color Task Force. He also currently serves as a trustee for the School Participatory Action Research Collaborative (SPARC), a research consortium among faculty and students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and school leaders, faculty, and students at a cohort of leading independent schools. Fellin holds bachelor’s degrees in English and education from Glendon College at York University and a master’s degree in divinity from Regis College at the University of Toronto. He is completing a Ph.D. in theology and education, also from Regis College. Fellin and his wife, Heather, have three children: Fionn, Cara, and Ava.
Brad Gioia has served as headmaster at Montgomery Bell Academy (United States) since 1994. He also teaches English IVAP. During that time the school has enjoyed tremendous achievements in academics, athletics, the arts, and annual giving. Gioia has also overseen the growth of the school’s physical campus, including the transformation of the school’s Harding Road campus, as well as the addition of 10 acres in Sylvan Park and 150 acres in McMinnville, Tennessee, that is home to the school’s observatory. The school has also expanded beyond the borders of the United States, with exchange programs on five continents that send nearly 100 boys across the globe every year.
Prior to his arrival at MBA, Gioia spent 18 years at the Darlington School in Rome, Georgia. He served in a variety of roles, including English faculty, director of admission and financial aid, and headmaster.
Gioia holds a B.A. in English from The University of the South, an M.A. in English from Middlebury College, an M.Ed. in administration from West Georgia College, and an honorary doctorate from The University of the South. He is involved with a wide variety of civic and professional organizations, including IBSC, The Country Day School Headmasters Association, a founding member of the MBA International Symposium, The Headmaster’s Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Recently he has been asked to serve with four other heads of school from around the world to form a charter school, similar to the model of the African Leadership Academy, for the best and brightest students in Slovakia.
Gioia and his wife, Minna, have two children, Christopher (married to Liza) and Gabrielle (married to Travis), and two grandchildren, Mac and Lydia.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Flora Mugambi-Mutunga immigrated to the United States after completing secondary school to pursue a college education. During her undergraduate studies in psychology and business management at South Western Oklahoma State University, she served as president of the International Students Association, a leadership role that cultivated her interest in diversity, cultural competency, and global education. In her last semester of undergraduate studies, Mugambi-Mutunga enrolled in a master’s of education program at the same institution and completed her studies while working full time. She has also completed course work through Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School and recently received a certificate in School Management and Leadership.
In her ninth year at Town School for Boys (United States), she serves as the director of community building and inclusion and a member of the senior leadership team. Mugambi-Mutunga is passionate about the ongoing collaboration with several stakeholders that leverages diversity in all its forms, social justice, global education, and service learning. She partners with San Francisco equity leaders in independent schools and together they provide a range of workshops through the California Teacher Development Collaborative. Mugambi-Mutunga has served as a panelist at multiple recent webinars including Teach with Africa and EXPLO, in partnership with First Republic Bank. She also serves as a trustee at Horizons-San Francisco Friends School.
Having worked in boys' schools for more than 25 years, Chris Post was appointed headmaster of the Boys' Latin School of Maryland (United States) in 2008. His relationship with Boys' Latin began in his final year of undergraduate studies when he served as an intern in the middle school. Watching master teachers engage boys in meaningful work helped Post envision how relational teaching can change the life of a young man. To this day, that remains central to the work of Boys' Latin: forging enduring personal relationships that help each boy strive for academic and personal excellence. He earned his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his master's degree from Boston University. He currently serves as secretary of the IBSC Board of Trustees. Previously, Post chaired the IBSC Strategic Plan and co-hosted the 2017 IBSC Annual Conference.