Private Schools



Within the context of the School’s Strategic Plan, Pappas Consulting Group was engaged to undertake an evaluation of the visual and performing arts programs of this independent day school for girls and teens. The Evaluation Team conducted an assessment of the plans, budget, structure, staffing levels, classroom/studio offerings, productions and all related academic and curricular aspects of the visual and performing arts programs. Striking the proper balance of the visual and performing arts vis a vis the athletic program was the driver for this study.


We worked with this New England preparatory school (both boarding and day) to help develop a five year strategic plan. The strategic plan includes all facets of the school and its programs, including academic direction and curriculum, the residential life program, financial equilibrium and capital needs, operational requirements, etc.

As part of our engagement, we planned and facilitated two retreats with the school’s Board of Trustees to introduce the strategic planning process and ascertain Trustee priorities for a vision for the school.


Although the National Cathedral School provides education for girls and teens, and St. Albans provides education for boys and teens and are separately incorporated, they share several coordinate programs.

Within the context of the each of the schools’ Strategic Plans, these two distinguished preparatory schools located on the grounds of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., asked the Pappas Consulting Group to assess the schools’ coordinate performing arts programs.

This comprehensive review included assessment of the plans, budgets, structure, staffing levels, classroom offerings, productions, and all related academic and curricular aspects of the programs. We staffed and managed an evaluation team consisting of heads of other preparatory schools, outside professionals, and performing arts faculty.

The results of this engagement included the identification of thirteen issues requiring action/resolution on the part of the National Cathedral and St. Albans Schools. For each of these thirteen issues, we developed both short-term solutions for immediate action and long-term solutions to ensure the viability and growth of this important program. These solutions included both strategic and detailed, program-based recommendations to ensure that a comprehensive and feasible approach would be implemented.


We provided strategic planning facilitation to this burgeoning day school. At the conclusion of our work, a new five year strategic plan was in place and the School completed its new capital expansion phase.


Ross Institute provides a good case study of our work with a relatively young organization engaged with school policy and practice. The Ross Institute is an organization intent on scaling up the educational impact of a proven global education approach first piloted at Ross School in Long Island, New York. This methodology has been successfully implemented in a school in Tensta, Sweden and is the foundation for the establishment of a recently approved Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. The Ross Institute also sponsors and facilitates focused educational research through its Consortium of university partners (New York University, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and the State University of New York). Finally, it conducts seminars, workshops, and conferences for teacher development and school leadership development. The Pappas Consulting Group has provided guidance to the Ross Institute at multiple levels over the past four years: strategic planning; curriculum and staffing review; funding models; charter school application; organizational structure; consortium agreements with university partners; and overall governance.

Ross School/Institute, located in East Hampton, New York is an innovator in learning for pre-K, elementary, middle and high school students. Its integrated curriculum addresses the complexity of today’s world and relies on the arts, technology and Eastern philosophy to inculcate a sense of shared values among its students and faculty. The Founder and Chair of the Board leads the School/Institute on a daily basis and works with its constituencies to set the mission and vision.

As the School was to embark on its eleventh year of operation, the Founder believed it an opportune time to assess every aspect of the enterprise: academic; research; pedagogical; alliances with other schools and with institutions of higher learning; wellness and food programs and every aspect of day-to-day school operations. The operations included financial management; fundraising and development; marketing communications; enrollment management; human resources; facilities management; the library; Child Study Center; and the Dean of Students.

Highlights of some of the work we have completed are listed below. Throughout this assignment, we facilitated a strategic planning process and served as mentor to the Founder and senior staff concerning strategic and management transition issues.

Financial Management

The Pappas Consulting Group:
  • Assessed the Finance Office staff and organization in order to assist Ross School/Institute leadership to understand the operation’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identified and documented financial policies and procedures to ensure appropriate and consistent participation by School and Institute personnel and to assist the Finance Office to carry out its work in a uniform manner, regardless of changes in staffing and organization.
  • Developed a historical financial baseline for both the School and Institute to support fundraising initiatives.
  • Created a budget process that enabled the Head of School, financial management and domain heads to monitor budgets on a monthly basis so that they may be held accountable for their performance.
  • Developed financial management reporting mechanisms to ensure financial reporting is timely and accurate and that the general ledger is ready for audit at fiscal year-end.
  • Worked with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to assess current operations compared to the approved budget in order to determine the financial status of Ross School/Institute compared to budget.
  • Reconciled contributions from the Founder and the Family Foundation to the general ledger in order to determine the total amount that has been contributed to the Ross School and Ross Institute.

The Pappas Consulting Group assisted the Ross School/Institute in developing policies and procedures for the emerging development function. Working with the staff on the Raiser’s Edge implementation team, we developed two manuals, one containing Development Office Policies, the second containing Development Office business procedures.

The new procedures have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the Development Office and have kept the Office’s impact on the cost side of the operating budget to a minimum. The policies and procedures submitted were based on a paperless model.

Human Resource Management

The Pappas Consulting Group provided a full-time Human Resource Management consultant for four months to develop a professional function and office that had here-to-fore not existed. During that time, a Human Resources policy and procedure manual was developed. Issues related to: contract management; compensation, classification, training and staff development; benefits and benefits administration were addressed, paving the way for the hiring of the School/Institute’s first full-time professional Human Resources Officer.


The St. Paul’s School, located in New England, is one of the nation’s foremost and co-ed boarding schools. The Board of Trustees engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to craft a five year strategic plan and review the entire administrative and organizational structure of The School (excluding teaching and curriculum) for the purposes of:
  • streamlining the organizational structure;
  • ensuring that best practices are built into the fabric of the administrative, financial, and student services structure that is created; and
  • identifying accountability measures for the executive leadership of The School and its Trustees.
The specific areas reviewed included student and enrollment services, financial accounting and reporting, advancement, human resources, procurement, physical plant and public safety, auxiliary services, and other/Rector’s Office functions.

It quickly became apparent that several functional areas were in need of immediate and intensive transformation. Our scope of work was enlarged to include daily, on-site management or oversight of public relations and marketing; technology and systems procurement, implementation, and maintenance; and student counseling services. We continued to fulfill consulting obligations with regard to the diagnosis and development of recommendations for the functional areas enumerated above.

Our consulting team worked closely with the Rector, the Vice Rector, and the Board, as well as faculty and staff. We reached out to a broad section of the community through individual interviews, focus groups, and community sessions to understand the organizational climate and culture of The School.

The results of this extensive effort included:
  • service as Interim Director of Communications at the School, including supervision of staff;
  • strategic marketing/communications recommendations;
  • negotiation of a technology contract with an outside firm; oversight of that firm’s technology consultants, as well as monitoring of systems and technology staff for The School;
  • business process redesign of the administrative structure, including human resources, business/finance, development/alumni, admissions, student services, and faculty personnel; and
  • revision of The School’s human resources manual and correction of policies to bring The School into conformance with federal and state laws and regulations.
During an ensuing cycle of work, we facilitated the updating of the strategic plan for the School and developed an information technology plan that included the fine-tuning of processes and procedures to realize the potential of software applications available for administrative/business operations.


Westminster Schools (Westminster), a Christian, co-educational, independent day school for K-12 students, is committed to offering the highest quality, college preparatory education through its faculty and curriculum and a full range of extra-curricular offerings. Westminster’s mission is centered on “cultivating within each student the knowledge and skills necessary for successful continuing education, sound personal values, and a commitment to service.”

We conducted a strategic planning process to focus the school's resources on core, mission-based goals and secure an even stronger future. The objectives of this strategic planning project were to: develop a baseline profile of Westminster Schools and assess resources, strengths, weaknesses, and culture (internal scan); review existing information and conduct selected, focused research to provide an analysis of the external environment (external scan); document strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (“SWOT”), as well as attendant recommendations; and elicit input from key stakeholders for goals and priorities to produce a final strategic plan document.

The Pappas Group validated the current mission of the Schools and developed a philosophy/vision statement relevant to the fiftieth anniversary of the Schools. Subsequently, we facilitated: the development of a list of goals to be achieved and an action plan to serve as a road map to reach those goals; the identification and quantification of the resources required and possible sources of those resources; the delineation of the milestones and timeframe(s) to implement actions and achieve goals and; the creation of measures to monitor and evaluate the progress and results of core programs. A strategic plan was subsequently crafted and produced by the client.