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Strategic Planning Process

The Haverford School engaged in a collaborative, research-based strategic planning process to identify core strategies and objectives for the future, and the plans to fulfill them.

Following a comprehensive search, proposal, and interview process, Strategic Planning Co-chairs John Hollway P’18 and Caroline De Marco P’20’22, along with school administration, selected Ian Symmonds & Associates (ISA) to drive the strategic planning process.

ISA is an innovative research and strategy firm for independent schools, colleges, universities, and non-profits. The company has worked with more than 300 independent school and college clients in 48 states since its founding in 2004. Armed with a strong team of industry experts in research, consulting, and creative services, ISA has grown into one of North America’s foremost strategic educational consulting firms. 

Haverford Leadership Council discusses strategic plan

The spring 2019 Haverford Leadership Council meeting focused on identifying strategies to consider as part of the School's strategic planning priorities, as determined through surveys and working sessions.


Phase I: Planning to Plan
August-October 2018

ISA, Strategic Planning Co-chairs, and school administration developed a planning process that is inclusive and focused. During this phase, we selected the Steering Committee, determined meeting dates, and developed key benchmarks.

Phase II: Gathering Information
October 2018-January 2019

With the support of ISA, we examined internal and external forces shaping our school community and made projections about the future. Specific research efforts included:

  • Audit of the School’s existing research and data
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis
  • Strategic planning kick-off exercise with the Board of Trustees
  • Community-wide survey of current parents, Upper School students, recent graduates, faculty, staff, and board members
  • Campus listening sessions with various constituent groups, including members of the external community
  • In-depth phone discussions with a sampling of survey respondents
  • Future trends analysis

Phase III: Setting Strategic Goals
February-March 2019

We will leverage the data to inform our goal-setting process, staying true to the School’s mission while ensuring an education that aligns with what our community desires and values. 

Phase IV: Formulating the Future
March-June 2019

We will develop action plans for each of our goals, create timelines for implementation, and outline metrics to gauge the School’s progress toward implementation of the Strategic Plan.

July-December 2019

We will engage our faculty and staff in further focusing our action plans and develop specific strategies for implementation.

Phase V: Finalizing and Sharing the Strategic Plan
January-March 2020

We will create a document outlining our shared vision of The Haverford School and share it with our community.


research methods: SWOT analysis, web survey, phone interviews


planning committee members representing three strategic plan priorities


constituent groups


web survey responses


in-depth qualitative conversations

Community events

Haverford Leadership Council strategic planning session


Haverford Leadership Council members engage in a strategic planning discussion at the fall 2018 luncheon.

Brigadier General Jebb speaks to trustees at West Point

Brigadier General Cindy R. Jebb, West Point's 14th Dean of the Academic Board, speaks to Haverford's Board of Trustees about the changing landscape of education.

Caroline De Marco talking at moms coffee


Strategic Planning Co-chair Caroline De Marco presents during the Moms' Networking Coffee in January 2019.

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