This is the Life! Exploring a Career in Boarding Schools

University Students: This inaugural event will bring together a panel of diverse people with a common thread — their love of working in boarding schools.

As you contemplate your career path, boarding school is one route you might not have considered. These school communities are composed of engaging and passionate individuals, who not only inspire the lives of young people, but are themselves inspired by the world around them. Working (and very often living) on a boarding school campus is often considered a calling. It’s a unique experience creating meaningful opportunities in myriad fields, some foreseen and some not.

Join us for a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Q&A.

Presentation Topics:
• How Working in a Boarding School Can Be A Springboard for Your Career
• What Boarding Schools Look For When Hiring



  • Edie Traina
    Edie Traina
    Dean of Faculty, The Taft School
  • Erby Mitchell
    Erby Mitchell
    Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, The Hotchkiss School, CT

    Erby earned his bachelor’s degree in human development from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and an Ed.M in higher education at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Erby serves on the board of directors of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS); The Character Collaborative; and is the President of the Gateway to Prep Schools. He has nearly 20 years of admission experience, having worked at Bowdoin College, Sidwell Friends School, and The Loomis Chaffee School. Erby lives on campus with his wife, Jennifer, who is an elementary school teacher, and their three children, Olivia, CJ, and Kennadi.

  • Innes van Nostrand
    Innes van Nostrand
    Principal, Appleby College, ON

    In 2012, Innes van Nostrand was appointed the Principal of Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario. Previously, he served for 25 years at Upper Canada College in Toronto, where he served as the Vice Principal, and Queen’s University, from which he graduated in geological engineering and later served in a senior advancement role. In addition to consulting or/or participating in review teams at a wide variety of universities and schools across Canada and internationally, Innes has been involved as a volunteer, presenter, author, and Board member with a variety of professional and community organizations, including TABS, Round Square, CASE, NAIS, G30 Schools, WLSA, CAIS, CCAE, CIS-Ontario, Scouts Canada, Christ Church Deer Park, and Queen’s University.

  • Leela Woody
    Leela Woody
    Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Mercersburg Academy, PA

    Leela Woody serves as a member of the English department and as the assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Mercersburg Academy. Beginning her teaching career in the public school domain, Leela joined the boarding school community as a teacher in 2018. Leela graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and English from Mount Holyoke College, and is pursuing a master’s degree from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English.

  • Pete Upham
    Pete Upham
    Executive Director, TABS
  • Sloane Meyer
    Sloane Meyer
    Carney, Sandoe & Associates

    A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Sloane was inspired by her own educational experience to be a mentor for her own students and pursue a career in independent schools. After graduating with her Master’s degree in History, Sloane began teaching high school history in the Bay Area and served as a teacher, advisor, and Academic Dean for five years before joining Carney Sandoe & Associates in 2015. Currently serving as the Director for New Graduate Programs and Placement Associate for History and Social Studies, Sloane works closely with new and recent graduates to help prepare them for exciting careers in independent schools and begin building the networks needed to succeed in this close-knit community. As a former boarding school student, teacher, hiring contact, and Carney Sandoe candidate, Sloane takes pride in having experienced the independent school world from all angles and loves sharing her knowledge with both schools and job-seekers to help them find their perfect match.


Nov 12 2021

Event Types



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 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.