Small Boarding Schools Association

Our Mission

The Small Boarding Schools Association establishes a forum for personal and professional dialogue, which promotes and supports small boarding schools.

Our Purpose

While the membership in the organization has grown since its founding, its central purpose remains essentially unchanged. SBSA continues to exist today to provide those who work in and with small boarding schools of various types an opportunity to share and to learn from one another. As such, the annual conference is the centerpiece of the organization and is the primary reason most schools and consultants join SBSA. Held each spring on the campus of a member school, the SBSA conference has developed a reputation as many people’s favorite among all the conferences they attend each year. What makes this conference so attractive is its informality and its opportunities for sharing and collaborating. Attendees come prepared not to listen passively to a host of experts speak, but to actively participate in discussions whose topics are generated by the attendees themselves. They don’t have to find time between sessions to have meaningful conversations with their friends and colleagues; those conversations are the conference.

Our History

The Small Boarding School Association was founded in 1987 by a group of people who felt that small boarding schools needed their own gathering to address those issues unique to their type of school. The first conference was held at Hoosac School in Hoosick, NY. Attendees participated openly in several sessions, which focused on the benefits of small boarding schools, and ways in which their nurturing environment could effectively be marketed. Participants felt they could be candid about problems they faced in competing with schools, which offered a plethora of academic and athletic options. The feeling of camaraderie and friendships, which evolved from this conference, has sustained itself and has become a tradition. See list of locations of past conferences here.

2018 Members

Conference Registration/Join

Board Members


SBSA is led by an elected Board made up of representatives from member schools and educational consultants. Members serve a two-year term and may be re-elected to an unlimited number of terms.

David Tuttle, President

Director of Enrollment Management
Westover School
Middlebury, CT

Nancy Nolan, Vice President
Director of Institutional Advancement
West Nottingham Academy
Colora, MD

Carolyn Orsini Nelson, Secretary
Educational Consultant
McMillan Education
Boston, MA

David Hodgson, Treasurer
Senior Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid
Vermont Academy
Saxtons River, VT

Margo Cardner
Senior Recruitment Officer
Buxton School
Williamstown, MA

Barbara Cunningham
Professional Relations
Summit Preparatory School
Kallspell, MT

David Damico
Director of Admissions
North Country School
Lake Placid, NY

Maisie Deely
Chief Communications Officer
Chatham Hall
Chatham, Virginia

Bernd Foecking
Headmaster
Hampshire Country School
Rindge, NH

Michele Gorman
Educational Consultant
West Hartford, CT

Graydon Mitchell
Director of Enrollment Management
Leelanau School
Glen Arbor, MI

Lisa Pelrine
Director of Admissions
Chapel-Hill Chauncey Hill School
Waltham, MA

Jeanette Spires
Educational Consultant
Lake Forest, IL

C.J. Spirito
Head of School
Rock Point School
Burlington, VT

Emeritus:

Joanne Carruthers
Director of Admission
Standstead College
Stanstead, QC Canada