HMAE Annual Conference

Mark Your Calendars

2022 HMAE Annual Conference

November 6-8

The Chauncey Center, Princeton, NJ

Ali Michael

2022 Speaker

Mirna Valerio

Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator and cross-country coach, ultramarathoner, cyclist and newish skier, and author of the memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress. She began running in high school, recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008 and started her blog Fatgirlrunning—about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes— while training for her first marathon. Mirna’s athletic story has been featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner’s World Magazine. In 2018 she was chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and in early 2020 appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show and Access Daily, and most recently was featured on the Today Show. Her partners include LLBean, Lululemon, and InsideTracker. She currently lives and trains in Vermont and is wholeheartedly enamored and obsessed with downhill skiing.

Sherry Coleman, Ed.D.

2022 Speaker

Sherry Coleman, Ed.D.

Sherry Coleman, Ed.D. is the principal consultant of Coleman Strategic Consulting which includes an advisory and coaching practice with a variety of school leaders, as well as school governance. She is also a consulting Managing Director for Storbeck Search, an executive search firm. She has extensive expertise in working with college, universities, independent, charter schools and non-profits. Sherry brings extensive experience in public and private education at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, having held positions as an administrator, teacher, and adjunct professor. She is also an experienced recruiter and search consultant with a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sherry understands the challenges and opportunities faced by the most senior managers in schools, especially regarding hiring, retention, supporting DEI and other strategic initiatives.

Sherry has supported, placed, and guided numerous teachers, mid-career administrators, senior administrators, and Heads of School through her more than 27 years of search and consulting work. She was the founding director of the Independent School Consortium (ISC) of Greater Philadelphia, an organizational resource that focused on the recruitment and retention of faculty and administrators of color. What began as a three-year DeWitt Wallace Readers’ Digest grant with five schools grew to include over 20 schools and became a trusted source of support for administrators and faculty of color for more than 17 years. ISC became a sustaining and vital link to many successful educators of color in independent schools. Many of those placements are still in education. This initiative led to her moving to nationwide recruitment and search consulting work, and Sherry has built an extensive and diverse network of contacts throughout the country.

Sherry is the recipient of several awards and acknowledgements for her work in DEIBJ. She is actively involved in national and community organizations, and she has served as a trustee for independent, charter schools and non-profits. She is a proud HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) graduate, Cheyney University, the nation’s first HBCU. She holds a master’s degree from West Chester University and doctoral degree from The University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Mid-Career Alumni Council. Her research and writing have focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging in the workplace.

Ali Michael

2022 Speaker

Joan Countryman

Joan Countryman was Head of Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1993 to 2005. After leaving retiring Joan served as a consultant and then Founding Head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. From August 2007 until June 2008 she led the Atlanta Girls’ School in Atlanta, Georgia, as Interim Head. Previously, Joan had served as Assistant Head for Academic Planning and Director of Studies at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia where she taught mathematics from 1970 to 1993. During that time she also taught in the teacher education program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She served as a board member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools as well as a Trustee of Sarah Lawrence College, a member of the Board of Managers of Haverford College, and a member of the Board of Overseers of Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

In retirement Joan has served as a board member and chair of the Kendal Corporation and Chair of the Board of Directors of Rhode Island Public Radio. She is currently a member of the School Committee of Germantown Friends School and the Board of Trustees of Lincoln School. She also serves as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the Secretary of the Board of Friends Fiduciary, and a member of the Board of Cliveden of the National Trust.

Joan grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and was the first African-American graduate of Germantown Friends School. She earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s Degree from Yale University, and she studied at the London School of Economics as a Fulbright Scholar. She has received honorary degrees from Bowdoin College, Moore College of Art, Roger Williams University, and Sarah Lawrence College.

Romy Touissant

2022 Speaker

Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon was born in County Armagh in 1951. He now lives in New York. A former radio and television producer for the BBC in Belfast, he has taught at Princeton University for thirty-five years. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry including Howdie-Skelp, published by FSG and Faber and Faber in 2021. Among his awards are the 1972 Eric Gregory Award, the 1980 Sir Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award, the 1994 T.S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2006 European Prize for Poetry, the 2015 Pigott Poetry Prize, the 2017 Queens Gold Medal for Poetry, and the 2020 Michael Marks Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

2021 HMAE Conference Program

HMAE 2021 Virtual Conference

Sunday, November 7, 4-6:30 PM EST
Monday, November 8, 2-4:30 PM EST


Dear HMAE Membership,

We have decided, regrettably, to hold our 2021 annual conference in virtual form. Too many of our members felt uncomfortable traveling and meeting in person. The board agreed that it is better ultimately to err on the side of caution and safety.

Fortunately, our indefatigable and fabulous conference planning committee began preliminary work on a virtual conference late in the summer and locked in our two outside speakers, while retaining essential traditional and important parts of our annual conference, which we look forward to every year.

Many thanks to co-chairs Lise Charlier and George Zeleznik and their inestimable committee: Liz Duffy, Kimberly Field-Martin, Kathleen McNamara, and Sarah Pelmas.

Exact details of the conference and an online program will be forthcoming soon. In the meantime, please “save the date” for two sessions: Sunday, November 7 (end of daylight savings time) 4:00 – 6:00 PM (EST) and Monday, November 8, 2:00 – 4:30 PM (EST).

Please make every effort to participate in both sessions. We will have dynamic and interactive sessions with our two terrific speakers, Ali Michael and Romy Toussaint, welcome our many new members, honor several past members in the Memorials, and engage in a critically important session led by president Susanna Jones and consultant, Clifford Lull, to chart the future course of our association.

I hope all of you are well and that your respective schools are off to a healthy start that approximates a return to a sense of normalcy.

The annual dues invoice will be sent soon. There will be no charge for our virtual conference.

Best wishes,


Ali Michael2021 Keynote Speaker

Ali Michael

Ali Michael works with schools and organizations across the country to help make research on race, Whiteness, and education more accessible and relevant to educators. Ali is the author of Raising Race Questions: Whiteness, Inquiry and Education (Teachers College Press, 2015), winner of the 2017 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award.  She is co-editor of the bestselling Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories (2015, Stylus Press) and the bestselling Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys (2017, Corwin Press), and Teaching Brilliant and Beautiful Black Girls (Corwin, 2021). Ali sits on the editorial board of the journal Whiteness and Education.  In addition to her work as the Co-Founder and Director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, Ali teaches in the Diversity and Inclusion Program at Princeton University as well as the Equity Institutes for Higher Education from the University of Southern California.  Ali’s article, What do White Children Need to Know About Race?, co-authored with Dr. Eleonora Bartoli in Independent Schools Magazine, won the Association and Media Publishing Gold Award for Best Feature Article in 2014. When she is not writing, speaking, or training, Ali is striving to be an anti-racist co-parent to two amazing young kids.
Ali received her B.A. in political science and African Studies from Williams College, with highest honors awarded for her thesis in African Studies.  She received her M.A. in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and her Ph.D. in Teacher Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was mentored by Dr. Howard Stevenson and Dr. Shaun Harper.  Her current research and writing focus on supporting teachers to mitigate the unintentional, pervasive effects of institutional and individual racism in their classrooms.  She also studies how White families racially socialize their children.


Romy Touissant2021 Speaker

Romy Touissant (AKA Energy Queen)

Romy is a transformational trainer and coach, motivational speaker, and yoga teacher. She empowers those around her to create a complete practice of consciously leading their lives; to manage their energy and have constant access to their vitality so they can do their work in the world. Romy resides in New Jersey. She is a mother of four sons and has been teaching yoga, mindfulness, and conscious leadership for over 20 years.
2020 HMAE Conference Program


Welcome, Ken Aldridge – President
Introduction of New Members
Business Meeting
Approval of 2021 Board Slate
Introduction for Chelsea Clinton – Bo Lauder


Introduction for Donna Orem – Nancy Mugele

2019 HMAE Conference Program

Leadership in Volatile Times

November 10-12, 2019

Sunday, November 10

1:00 – 3:45 p.m. Registration: Front Lobby of the Chauncey Center

4:00 p.m. Welcome and Introduction: Ken Aldridge, HMAE Board Chair and Head of School – Wilmington Friends School and David Harman, Executive Director HMAE

4:30 p.m. Session I: Keynote Speaker: Kurt Landgraf, President,  Washington College

Introduction: John Lewis

Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, former senior executive at Dupont and 13 year President and CEO of Educational Testing Service (ETS).

5:45 p.m. Roll Call, New Member Introductions

Business Meeting

Memorial Resolutions

6:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception

7:15 p.m. Dinner

Post Dinner C Bar Open for Social Gathering (cash bar)

Monday, November 11

7:45 a.m. Breakfast

8:45 a.m. Veterans Day Remembrance, David B. Harman

9:00 a.m. Session II: Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Duffy, President,  International Schools Services

Introduction: David B. Harman

Liz can think of few endeavors more significant than educating students to become thoughtful, global citizens in today’s interconnected world. Before joining ISS in 2015, she served for 12 years as Head Master of The Lawrenceville School (NJ). She also previously worked for three educational foundations and led a college-based community service program.

10:30 a.m.  Break 

10:45 a.m.  Session III: Small Group Forums: Third Rail Issues: “What Keeps Us Up at Night.” – Specific Leadership Issues and Challenges for Heads of School in these volatile times

We will begin together in one large group, divide into five small discussion groups with a facilitator, and then report back salient points when we reconvene as a large group.

Possible topics:

  • “I am presently dealing with…”
  • “How might you respond to…”
  • 2020 Election
  • Transgender students, staff, and faculty
  • Me Too Movement
  • Black Lives Matter Movement
  • The mediocre teacher or administrator: How to move along.
  • Problematic Board member

At registration members will be invited to write down on index cards issues pertinent to them and for which they seek help, support, good counsel, and advice. These will form the list of topics to be discussed in the small group forums.

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30 – 6:00 p.m. Free Time: Check in with your school, nap, exercise, or choose to join us for a group walk, shopping in Princeton or a tour of Princeton University by a student admissions tour leader.

6:00 p.m. Cocktails

7:00 p.m. Dinner

Post Dinner C Bar Open for Social Gathering (cash bar)

Tuesday, November 12

7:30 a.m.  Breakfast

Board Executive Committee Meeting with Conference Program Chairs for 2019 and new chairs for 2020 conference.

8:30 a.m. Session IV: Karen Richardson, Dean of Admissions, Princeton University

Introduction: David B. Harman

Karen Richardson brings a wealth of both educational and college admissions experience to our conference. Karen was appointed Dean of Admission at Princeton University on July 1 of this year. In this capacity, she is a member of the president’s cabinet and is responsible for articulating the University’s mission to prospective students and families. Prior to this appointment, Karen was the Dean of Admissions at Tufts University, Deputy Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, and Assistant Dean for undergraduate admissions at Princeton, focusing on diversity recruitment efforts.

10:00 a.m.  Adjournment and Boxed Lunches

10:30 a.m. Board of Directors Meeting

11:30 a.m. Adjournment

2018 HMAE Conference Program

Developing Democratic, Civil, and Civically-Minded Citizens in an Age of Partisan Polarization

November 11-13, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are excited to share with you the theme for the 2018 HMAE Conference in Princeton, NJ on November 11-13. As we considered various options, the challenges presented by our nation’s current political environment rose to the fore. Raising citizens prepared to participate in our democracy is part of our responsibility as educators. However, navigating the intensely partisan waters of today’s culture make doing this challenging. As Heads of School, how do we lead our institutions through these turbulent waters while remaining committed to democratic values? This question led us to our theme for this year’s conference: “Developing Democratic, Civil and Civically-Minded Citizens in an Age of Partisan Polarization.”

We are very excited that Sally Kohn, CNN political commentator and columnist and author of The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity, will launch us on Sunday afternoon. Kohn spent years doing social justice work before becoming a writer and speaker, with credits now from virtually every major news organization. Before CNN, she served as one of Fox News’ few progressive contributors. As this assignment would suggest, she is someone who successfully works across political and ideological divides. We’re confident she will be inspiring and offer much food for thought – plus she’s funny.

On Monday, we will have the pleasure of hearing from Peter Kuriloff, Ed.D., Research Director for the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at Penn and Charlotte Daniels, Ph.D., Associate Director, Independent School Teaching Residency, also at Penn. Dr. Kuriloff and Dr. Jacobs are authors with Shannon Andrus of Teaching Girls: How Teachers and Parents Can Reach their Brains and Hearts. Also on Monday, Rob Bohrer, Ph.D., Associate Provost/ Dean of Public Policy at the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College will present to the group. The Eisenhower Institute uses President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s legacy of leadership as a foundation to promote nonpartisan discourse and critical analysis of issues of long-term importance. They offer fellowships to college students and have also begun partner programs with schools.

Responding to the popularity of last year’s Executive Forum sessions, we will again offer this opportunity for heads to share challenging issues with colleagues. For those who did not attend last year’s conference, the Executive Forum offers a structured format for presenting and discussing a topic. Participants can share experience and advice and generally offer support from which both the presenters and others can benefit. We are looking for Heads who have an issue they would like to share during the Executive Forum session. The topic could be related to the conference theme or not. Please reply to Diana Beebe if you are interested.

Finally, will finish on Tuesday morning with a panel of Heads representing different levels of experience. The panelists will share wisdom they have gleaned relevant to their particular cohort, beginning with someone who has been head for five years or less progressing to someone with over twenty years of headship experience on the cusp of retirement.

We will also honor Stephanie Balmer’s life, enduring legacy and impact on our craft. Stephanie, in addition to being a member of Headmistresses and a valued friend and colleague, was a member of our planning committee.

We hope that you are as eager to dive into this important topic as we are. We look forward to seeing you in November and hearing from you in the meantime if you have a topic you would like to raise for the Executive Forum sessions. We think we can all agree that the opportunity to engage in collective thinking and dialogue around significant and often thorny issues is invaluable for us as leaders. We look forward to discussing and learning with all of you.

Bodie Brizendine, Kathy Jamieson, Penny Evins, Susanna Jones, and Suzanne Fogarty