How to Listen, Really Listen: Skills for Connection and Restoration

Join us for the October TABS Residential Life Forum, when Dr. Paula Chu of the Stanley H. King Institute will offer a mini-mini session on deep listening. You’ll experience a taste of the interactive and inter-connective flavor of Dr. Chu’s TABS Conference Pre-Con Deep Dive – and help to restore you between the school day and your evening in the dorms.

This event is included in TABS member dues. 

The event is finished.


Oct 20 2021


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Oct 20 2021
  • Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Event Types



  • Paula Chu
    Paula Chu
    Licensed Professional Counselor (CT), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (NY), National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)

    Experience and credentials matter, but they do not a good counselor make. As you search for someone to work with, I encourage you to listen to your own sense of the potential connection between you and the counselor. That connection is much more important than credentials, coursework, and licensures.

    With that said, I have a doctoral degree (1988) in Counseling Psychology from the University of Connecticut, am Licensed in New York as a Mental Health Counselor (006354), and in Connecticut as a Professional Counselor (001419). I’m certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors and am a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’m committed to continually learning about mental health, mindfulness, nutrition, cultural differences/identity, creativity — all fields that support the search for meaning and well-being.

    In the first decade of my career I served as Associate Dean of Students, Minority Student Advisor, and International Student Advisor at a liberal arts college. I then moved to the independent school world where I served for 10 years as Academic Dean and then 6 more as Director of Counseling (teaching throughout). I shifted to a private practice in 2006. I’ve been a faculty member at the Stanley H. King Institute since 2001 and have taught basic counseling skills at the Blackberry River Retreat (for independent school college counselors) since 2008. I frequently visit independent schools to give trainings on deep listening skills, social styles on teams, and on anti-bias research and practice.

    I have extensive training in EMDR (level II), grief work, cognitive-behavioral therapies, coaching, energy therapies (advanced certificate in Emotional Freedom Technique), positive psychology, and creativity in counseling. I’ve taken numerous courses on nutrition and its relationship to mental health, including classes provided by Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and other training providers.

    I love my work and am committed to helping my clients develop their inner resources of courage, kindness, insight, humor, and resilience. The qualities of curiosity and wonder are core values for me, providing an endless source of delight and meaning. I’m continually learning, for my own growth and for the growth of my clients.

    I am a BRCA2-positive, breast cancer survivor/thriver, and live on a school campus where my spouse works in Dobbs Ferry, NY; we have three grown children.


After growing up as a faculty child at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey, Seth attended Williams College and subsequently spent five years working as a geologist at an environmental engineering and consulting firm located outside of Boston. As Associate Head of School, Seth runs the day-to-day operation of the school, ensuring collaboration, integration, and alignment with the school’s mission and values. He teaches in the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy and coaches lacrosse. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, fly fishing, and loving/hating the Red Sox. Seth lives on campus with his wife Anne, their son David ’26, and daughter Sarah.


Dr. Ari Betof is the co-founder and partner of Mission & Data. He is a nationally recognized expert in the area of nonprofit organizational stewardship and sustainability.

Ari’s consulting work draws upon fifteen years of leadership and governance experience building thriving organizations and maximizing mission-aligned revenue growth. His facility with organizational effectiveness, group dynamics, and strategic planning is paired with his proven track record of cultivating high-impact change. Ari brings together skills in strategy, analysis, and organizational transformation with a nuanced understanding of fundraising, enrollment management and branding in support of his clients. He leverages expertise facilitating group process with diverse sets of stakeholders. Ari is an agile, savvy, and emotionally intelligent partner who builds trusting relationships, achieves results, develops others, and creates scalable systems.

Ari has served as an independent school trustee, head of school, administrator, and teacher. He began his career as a physics and mathematics teacher and coach. Ari understands multiple facets of independent school management, having held the administrative roles of Head of School, Chief Advancement Officer, Director of Enrollment Management, and Director of Strategic Planning. His experience includes working at day and boarding schools; schools as small as 170 students and as large as 1,100 students; single campus and multi-campus schools; single and multi-division schools; and religiously affiliated and nonsectarian schools.

Ari has been an instructor in University of Pennsylvania’s PennGSE Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Leadership Master’s Program. He has served as a mentor in Harvard University’s School Leadership Program, faculty member in the NAIS School Leadership Institute, and judge for the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.

Ari’s governance experience includes serving two terms on the Board of Directors of the Friends Council on Education (FCE) and as a member of FCE’s Development Committee and the National Friends Education Fund Working Group. He has also been a trustee of Newtown Friends School (Newtown, PA) and Cambridge Friends School (Cambridge, MA).

Ari is co-host of “The Impossible Questions Series,” season one of Enrollment Management Association’s “EMA Idea Factory” podcast with Hans Mundahl. He has been a facilitator on more than a dozen webinars during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a panelist for Independent Schools on the Brink, a collaborative webinar co-hosted by 33-member associations across the country for more than 1,900 trustees and senior leaders. Ari was also the author of the blog Org Sustainability — Insight and Advice for Leaders that Change the World.

His clients include independent schools, colleges, membership associations, educational nonprofits, and private sector companies. Ari has recently consulted to firms such as Noodle Partners and Educational Directions, membership organizations like the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), and more than twenty independent schools including Elisabeth-Morrow School (NJ), Austin Walldorf School (TX), Bancroft School (MA), and American-British Academy (Muscat, Oman).

Ari graduated with a B.S. in physics and mathematics from the Guilford College honors program. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on financial and organizational sustainability. His doctoral dissertation, “Leading in the Light: A Study of Financial and Organizational Sustainability of Friends Schools,” was awarded with distinction. Ari graduated with his MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management where he was an Emerging Markets Institute Fellow and recognized as a Poets & Quants 2021 Best & Brightest EMBA. Ari, his wife, and two daughters live in Bucks County, PA.

patricia sasser

Patricia previously served as the Head of the Upper School at the Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida. She also worked at the Loomis Chaffee School as a dean of students and was heavily involved in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the school. Prior to Loomis Chaffee, Patricia worked at The Madeira School in several roles, including as a major gifts officer, director of student activities, special assistant to the head of school on diversity, and the assistant dean of students for residential life.

Before transitioning into education, Ms. Sasser worked at ESPN as an associate producer, where she was a two-time Emmy® nominee and a 2006 Emmy® award winner.

Raquel majeski

Raquel Majeski began working at Lawrence Academy in 2017 and is the Assistant Head of School. She has a BA from Eckerd College in communications and human development and an MA from Nova Southeastern University in reading and special education. Raquel lives in Brazer with her two children, Lauryn and Wade. She loves spending time with the students at LA, participating in book clubs and bible study groups, and attending Dave Matthews Band concerts. Raquel is also the Chair of the diversity task force for the town of Groton.


Marquis Scott joined The Lawrenceville School in 2018 and has made significant contributions in various leadership roles. He has implemented a technology-focused strategic plan to enhance cyber security practices, improve employee portal utilization, and streamline campus-wide technology support. Marquis has also played a pivotal role in advancing the School’s initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion, implementing best practices and leading senior staff efforts in this area. Additionally, he has led strategic communication and institutional marketing committees, ensuring consistent communication, website strategy, and brand identity aligned with the School’s mission. Marquis has been instrumental in the marketing and branding of Lawrenceville’s Gruss Center for Art & Design and collaborates with the Lawrenceville community to prioritize and execute strategic projects. 

In addition to his role as the assistant head of school, Marquis has successfully undertaken various acting leadership positions, including chief technology officer, director of communications and external affairs, dean of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement, and director of human resources. Currently, he leads a student-centered Wellness Team, working collaboratively with the medical director, dean of students, and dean of campus well-being to prioritize a holistic approach to student well-being.

Scott holds a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University’s School of Business in Newark, NJ, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Computer Science from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa, with an anticipated completion date of Winter 23-24. Scott recently completed the National Association of Independent Schools’ Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads. He is an alumnus of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Hotchkiss Board of Governors.

Courtney Jackson

Courtney is an educator and DEI practitioner who currently lives in Connecticut at The Loomis Chaffee School, where she serves as the Director of Gender and Sexuality, English teacher, and dorm head. Courtney is an alumna of The Peddie School in New Jersey, earned her BA in Philosophy from Lehigh University, where she also was a member of the Women’s Soccer team. She earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College, where she studied gender and sexuality, and a Master in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studied diversity, equity, and inclusion more broadly. Courtney enjoys spending time outside with her dog, reading memoirs, running, cycling, and sipping coffee.


Will Gilyard is in his 19th year of working in independent schools. In 2020, he returned to his alma mater Choate Rosemary Hall to take on the roles of Form Dean, and Alumni Engagement Associate. Will joined Choate after nine years at the Kingswood Oxford School (KO), a 6-12 independent day school located in West Hartford, CT, where he served as Dean of Students, an upper school math teacher, assistant football coach, and faculty advisor for the United Students club and Boys of Color group. At Choate, Will is the faculty adviser to Choate Afro Latino Men (CALM), and Girls Who Code (GWC).

Will also serves as a core faculty member and helped create the curriculum for the Institute for New Teachers of Color in Independent Schools, created in 2020, the Interschool Leadership Institute, created in 2013. Will also served as a core faculty member of the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (KOLIEC) from 2011-2018 and helped create the curriculum for the mentoring/advising circles for institute participants.

Before joining KO, Will was the Head of the Upper School at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City. He serves on the board of advisors for the IDEAL School, also located in New York City. He is passionate about the role of educators in independent schools, specifically in the lives of students of color. Will has attended numerous workshops, conferences, and institutes related to leadership in independent schools and anti-racist education. Will had the honor of being a member of a think tank for the CARLE institute. 

Will has his B.A. in Psychology from Williams College and his M.A. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Joseph. Will is thrilled to be a part of the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) team and looks forward to working with energized and focused individuals who are interested in being change agents in the residential life sphere.

Will and his wife, Afton, ALP/Enrichment Teacher in Stratford Public Schools reside in Wallingford, CT with their two sons, William (10) and Maxwell (8).


Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto ’97 joined Blair’s faculty in 2002 and is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the School on matters related to student and residential life, including health and counseling services, athletics and co-curricular programs. He runs Monday School Meeting and, among other things, is known for greeting students in the morning at the Clinton Hall doorway and offering freshly picked apples from his office during the month of October. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Ryan serves as a member of the history department and teaches Global Issues. He also authors the monthly e-newsletter From Hilltop to Home, a communication designed to help new boarding-school parents navigate the ins and outs of the Blair experience.

Over the course of his time at Blair, Ryan has served as a history teacher, head tennis coach, a dorm head and Dean of Admission. He completed his undergraduate work at Dickinson College, where he captained the men’s tennis team, and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Columbia University. Before joining the faculty at Blair, Ryan taught at the Taft Summer School in Watertown, Connecticut, and Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He also spent three summers as program director of the Cambridge Prep Experience at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University.

In addition to his roles in schools, Ryan has served as a faculty member for the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) Summer Session and is a regular presenter at national boarding and independent school conferences on student and residential life.

Ryan and his wife, Jennifer, performing arts department chair and Director of Instrumental Music at Blair, live in Grullon House with their children, Jack, Will, Ella and Addison, and their dog, Teagan. The Pagottos enjoy opening their home to Blair students, faculty and staff members throughout the year.


Susan Baldridge is the Executive Director of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), a member association that counsels, connects, and champions boarding schools, delivering professional learning, data insights, and strategic guidance to boarding schools throughout North America. Prior to her work with TABS, Susan served as a strategic consultant and advisor to schools and colleges. She also co-authored the book, The College Stress Test, an analysis of educational market data; the book was named one of the best books on higher education in 2020 by Forbes Magazine. Until 2018, she served as a professor and leader at Middlebury College for over 25 years, most recently as Executive Vice President and Provost. She received her B.S. from Denison University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UCLA.