Speaker Bios

 Melanie E. Bennett, JD, ARM-E
 Melanie Bennett serves as risk management counsel in the Risk Management Department at United Educators (UE). She serves as a subject matter expert for UE’s Foundations of Risk Management, Protecting Children, and Title IX learning programs. In her role, Melanie has conducted studies on UE’s educator sexual misconduct and Greek organization claims. She also wrote publications for UE’s Title IX and Beyond series including Investigations; Interim, Measures, Remedies, and Sanctions; and The Adjudicatory Process. Prior to joining UE, Melanie coordinated the Excellence in State Public Health Law program at the Aspen Institute. She also served as a law clerk for a special education law office. During law school, Melanie interned multiple times with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Before attending law school she worked on Title IX issues in the Advocacy Department of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Melanie received her law degree from American University Washington College of Law and is a member of the Maryland Bar. She earned an Associate in Risk Management – Enterprise Risk Management designation from The Institutes.

Heather Hoerle – Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Enrollment Management Association
Heather Hoerle is the executive director and chief executive officer of The Enrollment Management Association, a non-profit membership association serving independent school enrollment and admission leaders through the best science, research, and training. A thought leader in enrollment management, Heather personally led the charge for the professionalization of the admission and enrollment professional, demanding that industry colleagues mobilize to reposition the work of enrollment management as both strategic and foundational to institutional success. 

Heather’s career began in independent schools as an administrator, student advisor, and teacher then embarked on a successful 23-year tenure in leadership roles with The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and eventually serving as a vice president at The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Chris Joffe, Joffe Emergency Services
Chris got his professional start saving lives in EMS (Emergency Medical Services), but if you know Chris, you know that it wasn’t on a large enough scale to satisfy him. Chris has helped protect millions of lives since 2007 based on the simple belief that people have the power to save lives through education and training. Through a firm commitment to that mission and his leadership, Joffe Emergency Services has become the leader in school safety programs, crisis management, and disaster preparedness. Chris speaks all over the country, including at the 2019 NAIS Annual Conference, the 2018 Georgia Independent School Association's Annual Conference, and the 2019 NCAIS Security Summit, just to name a few. Chris has flown commercial so much that he's becoming a pilot now. Seriously. Ask him for a ride somewhere.



 Jeffrey Shields-FASAE, CAE, President and CEO, NBOA
Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as President and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) since March 2010.  NBOA is the premier national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools.  The association has grown from 23 founding member schools in 1998 to over 1,400 US member schools, plus member schools in Mexico, Canada and 23 other countries around the globe during its over 20-year history.  Jeff, an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is a member of the 2008 Class of ASAE Fellows (FASAE) and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2002.  He currently serves as a director for the American Society of Association Executives, as well as, a trustee for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, and he formerly served as a trustee for Georgetown Day School.  He is a proud independent school parent of a 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, who is in 8th grade at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, DC.  He holds a BA from Shippensburg University and an MA from The Ohio State University.

Caryn Pass-Attorney, Venable LLC

Caryn Pass has represented independent schools for more than 25 years. As a partner in Venable's Independent School Law and Labor and Employment practices and chair of Venable’s Education Practice, she advises schools nationwide on a wide range of legal issues. She tracks trends specific to independent schools and develops industry best practices. Ms. Pass works with schools on legal issues – raised by students, parents, employees, trustees, donors, alumni, neighbors, and vendors – by establishing policies, procedures, and strategies that promote positive working and learning environments while limiting potential liability exposure. A problem solver and strategic thinker, Ms. Pass helps avoid liability while meeting the needs of the school.

Ms. Pass works on documents utilized by independent schools, including employment, enrollment, and vendor agreements. She advises on the proper use of technology and social media, wage and hour compliance, employee and student discipline, admissions, investment and financial issues, performance evaluation, and employee termination. She reviews employee and student handbooks, develops emergency preparedness plans, and works with experts in the assessment of campus security. Ms. Pass designs and reviews by-laws and governance policies and works with boards to establish good governance.
Ms. Pass is well-known for her commitment to mentoring, supporting, and developing the next generation of independent school leadership and assists in developing transition plans and strategies for ensuring the new head’s success. Ms. Pass regularly speaks at regional and national independent school association meetings and conducts trainings at schools. Ms. Pass is the 2016 recipient of the Sarah Daignault Award, which is given by the National Business Officers Association to those who have consistently contributed generous support to independent schools and their business officers.


David Wright, University School

David Wright has been the Finance Director for University School in Cleveland, Ohio for 21 years. Prior to University School, David was the CFO of the Ohio Turnpike and VP of Finance of a small liberal arts college in Northeast Ohio. He began his career in corporate accounting for major retailers.University School is a Junior Kindergarten through 12th grade all-boys private day school with an enrollment of 850 students. David oversees all the financial operations, food service, maintenance, housekeeping and transportation. The School’s operating budget is $28 million, and its Endowment is $85 million.A graduate of Muskingum University, David received his CPA certification early in his career and has worked in the financial and accounting world for over 30 years.David current is serving as Treasurer on the board of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) a 6th through 12th grade school with enrollment of 850 students. He served 6 years on the National Association of Business Officers (NBOA) board.He lives with his wife Beth in Silver Lake near Akron, Ohio. David and Beth have been blessed with three daughters and three grandchildren. They both are enjoying “empty nesting”.