Head of School Retreat 2022

Registration Closed
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Dr. Eli Gottlieb, Dr. Erica Brown, Nishant Mehta, Sandra Nagy
Heads of School
Registration Closed
Head of School Retreat 2022

We have reached our registration capacity for the Head of School Retreat, however, we hope that more spots will open. Please add your name to the waitlist and the Prizmah team will be in touch when we have more information about registration availability.

If you have any questions, please email Daniel Infeld.

It is time to come together.

After an extraordinary two years apart, come together with heads of school from across North America for three days of deep connection, powerful learning, and meaningful pause, designed intentionally for you.

The Head of School Retreat will give you space to strengthen and renew connections with colleagues, take a breath, and nourish your spirit with inspirational learning and meaningful conversations. Together with your peers, you will dive into your role leading and maintaining the culture of your school, and zoom out to think about your work in a broader context. With this time for rejuvenation will come opportunities for educational collaboration and innovation that will help grow your practice and enrich your school community.

We take the health and safety of our community very seriously and have developed comprehensive Covid protocols in partnership with medical advisors and following CDC guidance. Vaccination and testing will be required. Meals will be served outdoors. Capacity is limited. Scroll down to the FAQs for more information about our Covid precautions.

Funding for this gathering has been generously provided by Jim Joseph Foundation and Crown Family Philanthropies.


Program Overview

The Head of School Retreat is designed for you to decompress with others who have shared your experience, and for you to connect and collaborate with peers. Relational learning, moments of appreciation and community, and intentional down time are at the core of the experience. Our time together will begin at 1:30 PM on Monday, February 7, (lunch will be available at 12:00 PM) and will conclude at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, February 9. Please plan on participating in the entire program. 

The core content of the Head of School Retreat will be facilitated by four faculty members: Dr. Erica Brown, Dr. Eli Gottlieb, Nishant Mehta, and Sandra Nagy. Each of our faculty members brings unique expertise on school culture and how heads shape culture for their teams and communities, and they will share that expertise in a Deep Dive experience that you will sign up for when you register.


Deep Dive Descriptions

Creating and Embracing a Culture of Mistake-Making

Dr. Erica Brown

Resilience can only be built when everyone within a school can manage failure, mistake-making, and rejection and repurpose them as tools of human development. Using a meld of biblical and rabbinic texts, leadership literature, and case studies from you and your colleagues, we will examine how we think about and talk about our own leadership mistakes and regrets, and how we use what we learn from our mistakes to grow individually, with our teams, and for our students and community.

Shaping School Culture through the Unspoken

Dr. Eli Gottlieb

A useful working definition of culture is “how we do things around here.” Sometimes, culture is expressed verbally, but mostly it is made up of nonverbal practices and attitudes. Together, we’ll explore these silent aspects of school culture and the roles you play in shaping them. Using experiential protocols and your own case studies, we’ll examine tensions at the boundaries between home, school and student cultures, and how thoughtful use of “the unspoken” can help manage these tensions.

Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Systems

Nishant Mehta

“Why do you want to lead? And why would anyone want to be led by you?” Go on a reflective journey to explore the personal and professional core values and beliefs that drive your strategy and decisions as head of school. Digging deep into your leadership style and impact, you will also be introduced to, and work with, tactical and strategic facilitation tools and resources that build alignment and foster psychological safety and intentionality with your team.

Cultivating High Performance Teams

Sandra Nagy

Hone in on the skills that the world’s top leaders use to empower cultures of high-performing collaborative teams. Take the next steps towards making the aspirations and vision you have for your school a reality by engaging in meaningful, scaffolded learning and ideation personally and with peers. Walk away with a toolkit of practical ideas to leverage with your school team to drive system, structural and protocol changes.


Draft Schedule

Here’s a glimpse at the schedule for the Head of School Retreat. The final schedule will be shared with participants in January.

Monday, February 7, 2022

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Retreat Check-in
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Opening Circle
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM Break
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM Minhah (afternoon services)
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Deep Dive Part I
4:00 PM - 4:45 PM Break / Hotel Check-In
4:45 PM - 6:45 PM Collaborative: Accelerating the Impact of Jewish Day Schools
6:45 PM - 7:00 PM Break
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Collaborative: Dinner + Cross Pollination
8:00 PM - 8:45 PM Collaborative: Collective Sharing + Next Steps
8:45 PM - 9:00 PM Evening Circle
9:00 PM - 9:15 PM Ma’ariv (evening services)

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Shaharit (morning services)
7:30 AM - 9:30 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM Opt-In Activities (Self-Care, Yoga, Walk, etc)
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM Morning Circle
10:30 AM - 12:30 AM Deep Dive Part II (120 Minutes)
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Lunch
12:30 PM - 3:00 PM Break / Opt-In Activities
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM Minhah (afternoon services)
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM Ignite Presentations
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Sustainability Beit Midrash
5:20 PM - 6:30 PM Peer-Led Roundtables
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM Dinner
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM Fireside Chat / Evening Circle
8:30 PM - 8:45 PM Ma’ariv (evening services)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

7:30 AM - 9:30 AM Breakfast / Hotel Check-Out
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM Shaharit (morning services)
9:45 AM - 10:00 AM Morning Circle
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Deep Dive Part III (60 Minutes)
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM Break
11:15 AM - 12:00 PM Closing Circle
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch-to-Go Available


The Head of School Retreat was scheduled to overlap with the Jewish Day School Investor Summit. Unfortunately, we have decided to reschedule the Investor Summit for a time later this spring, and are looking into possible dates in May. We are excited to create opportunities to bring investors and heads together and build future impact for the day school field at the 2023 Prizmah Conference in Denver.

Prizmah gatherings are designed by day school leaders, for day school leaders - and we intend the Head of School retreat to be reflective of your emergent needs. In order for both of those things to be true, we want you to be a part of the process. Portions of the program will be peer-led. On the registration form, you will be able to volunteer to facilitate and propose topics for working groups and collaboratives.


Retreat Goals

Affective Goals

  • Feel connected to the community of Jewish day school and yeshiva heads
  • Feel that your own professional needs are supported
  • Feel nourished, inspired, and valued for your work as a head of school

Behavioral Goals

  • Take time for yourself as a professional, and experience meaningful pause
  • Connect, learn, ideate, and iterate with colleagues from across the field
  • Be appreciated - from the Jewish community as a whole, from Prizmah, from your colleagues, and from your school community

Cognitive Goals

  • Experience high-level learning with compelling and creative faculty, oriented towards emergent needs from the field
  • Examine how you lead the creation and maintenance of your school’s culture - and how school culture expresses itself throughout your school community
  • Discover new ideas and approaches with your peers


Hotel and Travel Information

The Head of School Retreat will take place at

W Fort Lauderdale Hotel
401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33304

Prizmah is able to offer a subsidized rate of $299 per night, plus tax, for heads of school. There are a limited number of rooms available at this rate, and they are available on a first come, first served basis until January 3, 2022. This rate is only available for rooms reserved for Monday, February 7th and Tuesday, February 8th. If you choose to extend your reservation pre- or post-event, the room rate will be higher for the nights that you extend. Hotel rooms at this special rate can only be reserved through the personalized booking link available on the registration platform confirmation page.

Staying at the hotel means you’ll be able to make the most of your time and focus on making connections with fellow participants — early in the morning, late at night, and throughout the full retreat.

The W Fort Lauderdale hotel is located 15-20 minutes by car from Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What COVID precautions will be in place?

Prizmah prioritizes the health and safety of our community. We continue to closely monitor CDC, local health authority, and Prizmah medical advisory team guidance for gatherings and will follow those guidelines. Final protocols and guidelines will be shared with participants in January 2022.

Head of School Retreat participants, presenters, and Prizmah staff are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In addition, we require booster shots for all participants who are eligible to receive one. Full vaccination is defined as having received two doses of vaccines with a 2-dose protocol or one dose of vaccines with a 1-dose protocol. Fourteen days must have elapsed following the administration of the final vaccine dose. All participants will be asked to submit proof of vaccination during the registration process. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, proof must be submitted by Sunday, January 23, 2022.

Investor Summit and Head of School Retreat participants, presenters, and Prizmah staff will be required to take a PCR test in advance of the gathering. We will share clear and detailed testing instructions and timelines in advance of the gathering. Prizmah has contracted with Inspire Diagnostics to provide US residents with an easy-to-use at home self test kit - the cost of this test will be billed to your health insurance. Since Inspire Diagnostics is based in the US, we ask that Canadian participants arrange for your own PCR tests before leaving home. Inspire Diagnostics will be available on-site at the Summit and Retreat to facilitate required testing for your return to Canada.

Meals will be served outdoors, under the cover of a tent. Some sides of the tent will be kept open to enjoy the sea-breeze ventilation.

W Fort Lauderdale has implemented a multi-pronged approach to meet the health and safety requirements of Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” standards. Program space ventilation has been upgraded according to CDC standards.

Masks will be required indoors at all times, but will not be required for outdoor meals or programs. We will continue to review other safety factors as needed. Decisions will be made in consultation with Prizmah’s medical advisors and current guidance from health authorities. Final protocols and guidelines will be confirmed in mid-January.

If you feel sick, we ask that you stay home. If you develop any signs of illness while at the Summit or Retreat, you will be asked to isolate yourself from other Summit / Retreat participants.

If you have questions about our Covid safety protocols, please reach out to Daniel Infeld at danieli@prizmah.org or 646-975-2834.

When does the Retreat start and end?

Our time together will begin at 1:30 PM on Monday, February 7, (lunch will be available at 12:00 PM ET) and will end at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, February 9. Please plan on participating in the entire program.

Who will be there?

Heads of school from Jewish day schools and yeshivas across North America will gather for the Head of School Retreat. On Monday afternoon and evening, heads will also have the opportunity to collaborate and learn with day school philanthropists, board members, and community leaders who are participating in the Day School Investor Summit. A participant directory will be available to registered participants in the program app.

What will we eat?

Your registration fee includes lunch and dinner on Monday; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Tuesday; and breakfast and lunch-to-go on Wednesday along with snacks and beverages throughout the retreat.

Meals and snacks will be catered by Magic Fisch Hospitality + JM Hospitality Group and will be strictly kosher under the supervision of the OU. All meat will be glatt. Cholov Yisroel and Pas Yisroel (dairy and bread with additional supervision) products will be available upon request.

We make every effort to meet your dietary needs. All meals will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices. Prizmah cannot guarantee the absence of gluten or allergens from any food; however, we are happy to connect you to our catering staff on-site who will be glad to help you find nourishing choices.

Will there be opportunities for Tefilah?

At Prizmah, we strive to create spaces for a wide variety of practices and work hard to create warm and spirited davening experiences. There will be daily Shaharit, Minhah, and Ma’ariv services with options to meet your needs.


Head of School Retreat Faculty

Dr. Erica

Erica is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her newest book is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren). She has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweeted on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown. She has a daily podcast, “Take Your Soul to Work.”

Dr. Eli Gottlieb
Dr. Eli

Eli is a cognitive psychologist and executive coach. He directed the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem for over a decade and has served as a visiting professor at several universities in the US, including Stanford and Harvard. His research focuses on how people form identities, create culture and adapt to social change. He lives in Israel, grew up in London, and holds degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from Cambridge and a doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Nishant is Managing Director & Independent Schools Practice Leader at Storbeck Search. Prior to joining Storbeck, Nishant served as Head of The Children’s School (TCS), an independent JK-8 school in Atlanta that was lauded in 2017 as a “model to follow” for innovation by NAIS’s Independent School magazine. In addition to his leadership of TCS, Nishant has twice co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference, served on the faculty of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the Diversity Leadership Institute, authored articles for NAIS publications, served on the NAIS and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) boards; led workshops on topics such as equity and inclusion and governance and school leadership at national and regional conferences, and was the founder of The Children’s School’s Master Class in Inclusive Leadership, a summer leadership opportunity designed specifically for women and people of color. Since 2018 Nishant has served each summer as a faculty mentor of the NAIS Institute for New Heads, where he coaches new heads of school.


Sandra empowers educators to prepare students for the future. As the Director of Learning at Future Design School, Sandra has dedicated her career to innovation in learning. She has been a driving force in effecting technology-enabled youth programming across North America, and has been featured as a thought-leader in renowned publications including Entrepreneur Magazine. With over two decades of expertise, Sandra has designed, developed and delivered hundreds of learning opportunities to thousands of employees and educators, enabling students to develop critical competencies that help them tackle real-world problems, create innovative solutions and change the world. Prior to her current role, Sandra delivered exceptional results at educational organizations including Pearson Education, The Learning Partnership and Accenture. She has a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, focused on Technology in Education, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce focused on Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship from McGill University.