Heads’ Retreat
January 20-22, 2020
Laguna Beach, CA


An annual highlight of the CESA calendar, Member of Council and Provisional School Heads of School and their spouses are invited to gather in Laguna Beach this January to refresh their minds, bodies, and souls at this annual Retreat.  Registration for Member of Council heads opens September 1st, 2019; Candidate Schools may begin registration on October 1st, 2019.  Spaces available at this event are limited to maintain the conversational nature of this Retreat.  The Heads’ Retreat is different than other conferences.  Our time together is designed to promote informal dialogue, build relationships, and join like-minded Christian school leaders and their spouses together to support and encourage one another.  

This year, we are honored to have Dr. Sydney Finklestein, author of Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, with us to help CESA Heads of School consider how their own leadership styles and strengths can be leveraged to catalyze the growth of a new generation of quality Christian school leaders.  Your registration includes a copy of Superbosses.

Sydney Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where he teaches courses on Leadership and Strategy.  He also has experience working with executives at Dartmouth and other prestigious universities around the world. He holds degrees from Concordia University and the London School of Economics, as well as a Ph.D. from Columbia University in strategic management.  Click here to read more about Dr. Finklestein.

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Barry Giller

Barry Giller serves as the vice chair of the Board of Directors for CESA. Barry joined the faculty of Charlotte Christian as Head of School in June 2010 and ushered the school into its 60th anniversary. As head of school Mr. Giller oversees the college preparatory school’s 180 employees and 1055 students grades JK to 12. A 1994 graduate of Wheaton College, he received his Bachelor of Arts in history/social science and a certification for secondary education. He also holds a master’s degree in educational leadership in Nova Southeastern University. Mr. Giller currently resides on the board of directors for North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association and Teaching Fellows Institute. Mr. Giller served six years as headmaster at Christian Heritage School, a private K-12 interdenominational Christian college preparatory school, in Trumbull, Conn. He joined Christian Heritage in 2001 as the upper school principal and was promoted to the headmaster position in 2004. Barry and his wife, Lisa, have seven children and are active members of Church at Charlotte.

Mission Clarity

CESA member schools are accredited, mission-driven, Christian institutions aspiring to be academically, programmatically, and institutionally excellent. 

Effective Goverance

CESA member schools commit to a model of leadership that includes a governing board, which formally (policy statement) and informally (daily practice) delegates the daily operation of the institution to the head of school who supervises the administrative team, faculty, and staff.  

Institutional Viability

CESA member schools follow best practices that demonstrate astute financial management, appropriate budget forecasting, and thoughtful short and long-term financial planning processes.  

Academic & Programmatic Distinction

CESA member schools shall provide high quality academic, artistic, and athletic programs designed to meet the mission of the school and to distinguish the institution as one of high quality.  

Sense of Coherent Christian Community

CESA member schools shall develop a Christian ethos rooted in a commitment to the Nicene Creed and/or Apostles Creed, the foundational tenets of Christian orthodoxy, that distinguishes them from other local public and independent schools and we should have a nice sense of community.

Schedule of Events

Monday, Jan 20th

Tuesday, Jan 21

Wednesday, Jan 22