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.


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 served as a professor and leader at Middlebury College for over 25 years, most recently as Executive Vice President and Provost, leading Middlebury’s academic programs across multiple campuses – Middlebury, Bread Loaf, Monterey – as well as study abroad locations around the world. Prior to her Provostship, Susan served as Vice President for Strategy and Planning, Dean of Planning and Assessment, and Dean of the Faculty. She is a tenured Professor of Psychology and taught throughout her time at Middlebury.

Susan began her consulting firm in 2018, advising schools, colleges, non-profits and foundations in the areas of strategy, planning and governance; and coaching senior administrators to build leadership capacity and support change management. This led her to partner with TABS in 2019, in the development of TABS current strategic plan.

In addition to consulting, Susan co-authored the book, The College Stress Test, an analysis of educational markets and tools for helping schools to identify their place within market trends. The book was named one of the best books on higher education in 2020 by Forbes Magazine. Susan has presented extensively on topics relating to human sexuality, social psychology, and the psychology of women and gender. She received her B.S. with highest honors in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, at Denison University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology at UCLA.