• Cushing

Strategic Plan

July 2017
The Board of Trustees has approved Cushing Academy’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2022. The Strategic Plan is entitled “Embracing Our Legacy and Positioning For Our Future.”
 
This Strategic Plan has been nearly ten months in the making. The process began in earnest in August 2016, with a comprehensive analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing Cushing Academy. The results of that analysis showed that Cushing needed to focus on nine distinct strategic initiatives to ensure that the founding ethos of Cushing Academy, enunciated so clearly by Thomas Parkman Cushing in 1850, remained at our core, while recognizing and adapting to the profound changes in our world that have occurred since then. 
 
The strategic planning process was intentionally designed to optimize input from students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and the Board of Trustees. Thoughtful input from these Cushing stakeholders resulted in 27 iterations of this Strategic Plan. Our final Strategic Plan is ambitious, but it will help us map a sustainable future, steward our resources more effectively, and emerge a stronger institution that is best positioned to achieve its mission for our students.
 
Our Strategic Plan is posted on this page.  A more comprehensive version of the Strategic Plan, which includes historical perspectives and specific action steps required to achieve identified objectives, can be found by clicking here.
 
The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful to all who lent their insight and ideas to the Strategic Plan.  We are especially appreciative of the efforts of those who served on the NEASC Standards Committees and integrated their work on the Self-Study with the formulation and evolution of the Strategic Plan. 
Introduction
Strategic planning is essential to any School’s long-term sustainability and priority setting. It enables the Board of Trustees to measure performance of strategic initiatives and objectives and hold staff accountable for implementing action steps to achieve the objectives and initiatives. In turn, a formal strategic plan enables the Head of School to implement the tenets of the strategic plan in a transparent and sequential manner while making necessary adjustments to the operating plans that become the responsibility of the School’s leadership team.
 
Given the absence of formal planning for a number of years on campus and the upcoming NEASC Site Visit November 5–8, 2017, the Board in partnership with the Leadership Transition Team determined it expeditious to incorporate the eight Strategic Planning Work Groups into the NEASC Self-Study Process.

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Composition of the Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees
The Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees provided essential input into the development of the Cushing Strategic Plan, and enabled faculty and staff the opportunity to engage in professional development while concurrently modeling institutional collaboration.
 
Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees
Chairs and Members Listing
 
Name of Work Group:
Standard 2 Committee (Governance)
Chair:
Robert Foote, History & Social Science Department
Committee Members:
Christopher Howes, Dean of Students
Amy Logan, Special Assistant to the Board of Trustees
Michael Zahn, History & Social Science Department
Gisele Zangari, Math Department Head
Name of Work Group:
Standard 3 Committee (Enrollment)
Chair:
Jessica Devin, Director of Diversity; Academic Support Department
Committee Members:
Lottie Barton, Mathematics Department Fellow
Stirling Ince, English as a Second Language Department
Caitlin O’Brien, Senior Director, Development
Chrystel Pit, History & Social Science Department
William Troy, Director of Athletics
Name of Work Group:
Standard 4 Committee (Program)
Chair:
Julia Ohm, Performing Arts Department Head
Committee Members:
David Bennett, Science Department
David Branham, English as a Second Language Department
Craig Burt, Science Department
Brad Caswell, Academic Support Department
Carolyn Johnson, Visual Arts Department
J.R. Neiswender, Dean of College Counseling
Brandon Sousa, Mathematics Department Fellow
Name of Work Group:
Standard 5 Committee (Experience of Students)
Chair:
Shawn Gebhardt, Grade Dean for 11th grade, Academic Support Department
Committee Members:
Donald Connors, Coordinator of Student Activities
Richard Devin, Math Department
Joan Hathaway, Visual Arts Department
Desh Hindle, Director of Music
Xiaofen Qiao, Classical & Modern Languages Department
Aaron Santos '06, Academic Support Department, Admissions Department
William Wenning, Science Department
Name of Work Group:
Standard 8 Committee (Residential)
Chair:
Mary Frances Hanover, Science Department Head
Committee Members:
Ian Boldt, Assistant Director of Admissions
Deborah Harmon, Academic Support Department
Andrew Jehle, Math Department
Catalina Reinoso, Classical & Modern Languages Department
David Stone, Dean of Faculty
Brett Torrey '85, Director of Alumni Programs
April Winter, Athletic Trainer and Development Liaison
Name of Work Group:
Standard 9 Committee (Faculty)
Co-Chair:
Rebecca Pressman, English Department Head
Committee Members:
Norman Carey, English as a Second Language Department
Rebecca Cinclair, Visual Arts Department
Deborah Gardner, Visual Arts Department
Janet Gross, English as a Second Language Department
Bara Mbengue, Classical & Modern Languages Department
Chris Sheehan, Classical & Modern Languages Department
Name of Work Group:
Standard 10 Committee (Administration)
Chair:
Joanne Dinsmore, Classical & Modern Languages Department Head
Committee Members:
Dwight Curtis, Grade Dean for 10th grade, English Department
Cathleen Melanson, Controller
John Price, School Counselor
Jeffrey Quebec, Associate Director of Admissions
Philip Wexler, Creative Director
Name of Work Group:
Standard 13 Committee (Communication)
Co-Chair:
Sandra Michelman, Associate Director of College Counseling
Committee Members:
Mark Burke, Math Department
James Cormier, Assistant Director of Admissions
Heather Hill '90, Director of Marketing & Communications
Alicia Mayer, Director of Student Activities, English Department
Name of Work Group:
Standard 14 Committee (Infrastructure)
Chair:
Robert Johnson, Visual Arts Department Head
Committee Members:
Robert Gagnon, Assistant Director of Admissions
Ellen Harrington '70, Audio Visual Director
Bill Marks, Lead Computer Technician
Ryan Suchanek, Math Department
Sara Weiskittel, Classical & Modern Languages Department Fellow
 
Composition of the Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees
Each NEASC Standards Committee was assigned a Strategic Plan objective related to the particular NEASC Standard.
 
The Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees were charged to meet, deliberate, and complete the Work Group Reporting Templates.
 
The final iteration of the Reporting Templates was forwarded to the Leadership Transition Team and the Pappas Consulting Group with a copy to the Board Chair on or about April 14, 2017. This input became an integral part of the Strategic Plan. Subsequent, iterative work steps were then undertaken as outlined in the timeline that follows.

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Calendar of Events - Timeline
 
MAY 2017
Task
Start
End
NOVEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017
Initial Draft Strategic Plan developed by the Pappas Group as the result of input received from approximately 500 stakeholders, interviews, focus groups and surveys throughout the fall semester as well as existing documentation. 
11/16/16
1/11/17
Initial Draft Strategic Stakeholder Review Process created to engage the Cushing faculty and staff in crafting action steps required to complete each objective in the Initial Draft Strategic Plan.  Decision made to integrate the Strategic Planning Work Groups within the NEASC Self Study. Responsibility given to the Leadership Transition Team to implement the process timely.  Draft process design presented to the Board of Trustees for input.
12/15/16
1/13/17
Revisions to the Initial Draft Strategic Stakeholder Review Process and material completed in partnership with the Board of Trustees and Leadership Transition Team.
1/14/17
1/31/17
FEBRUARY 2017
Initial Draft Strategic Plan presented to the Board of Trustees at its February 3, 2017 meeting.
2/3/17
2/3/17
Strategic Planning Work Group Agendas and Templates prepared for Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees. Leadership Transition Team charged with distribution and timely follow up.
2/13/17
2/13/17
Strategic Planning Process presentation created by the Pappas Group and provided to the Leadership Transition Team to use as a tool to communicate to Cushing faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders.
2/21/17
2/23/17
MARCH 2017
Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees meet 2-3 times to work on their respective  Draft Strategic Plan Templates.
3/1/17
3/27/17
Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees release Draft Strategic Plan Templates to Co-Head of School Academic Affairs and Student Life and other Leadership Transition Team members for review and comments.
3/28/17
3/29/17
Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees release updated Draft Strategic Plan Templates to the Leadership Transition Team, and the  Pappas Group.
3/30/17
3/30/17
APRIL 2017
Pappas Group provides input for clarity and completeness. Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees provide Second Draft Strategic Plan Templates to Leadership Transition Team for input/amendment.
4/6/17
4/12/17
Strategic Planning Work Groups/NEASC Standards Committees forward Third Draft Strategic Plan Templates to the Leadership Transition Team, the Pappas Group and Chair of the Board.
4/14/17
4/14/17
Based on input from Cushing Academy stakeholders, Pappas Group prepares First Working Draft Strategic Plan for Board of Trustees review.
4/14/17
4/18/17
Pappas Group forwards First Working Draft Strategic Plan to the Board of Trustees and the Leadership Transition Team for amendment.
4/18/17
4/18/17
The First Working Draft Strategic Plan is reviewed by the Board of Trustees at its April 21, 2017 meeting.
4/21/17
4/21/17
Comments to the First Working Draft Strategic Plan by the Board of Trustees forwarded to the Pappas Group.
4/21/17
4/28/17
Revisions made to the initial draft by the Pappas Group. Second Working Draft Strategic Plan uploaded to webpage for community input.
5/3/17
5/3/17
Pappas Group collects community input and amends Second Working Draft Strategic Plan, as needed.
5/3/17
5/21/17
JUNE 2017
Final Draft Strategic Plan presented to the Board for further amendment/approval.
6/12/17
6/23/17
JULY 2017
Final Strategic Plan released on dedicated Cushing Academy webpage.
7/7/17
7/7/17
 
 
Relevant Planning Documents

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Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430
978-827-7000
admissions@cushing.org

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy is a coed, college preparatory day and boarding school for grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in and out of the classroom through outstanding academic, art and athletic offerings. Visit our welcoming community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.

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