Residential & Student life institute


Today, Residential and Student Life professionals must have ready knowledge of communication strategies, management techniques, and a variety of legal, sociological, medical, and psychological issues. This interactive institute will offer learning and discussion across a wide variety of topics that are vital to running a top-notch residential program.


Wednesday–Friday, July 24-26


Boston University


Residential and student life leaders, aspiring leaders, and staff


Connect with experts to examine the latest research and best practices on critical topics facing residential and student life leaders, including cultivating communities of belonging, promoting healthy technology consumption habits, and developing post-Covid residential policies.

Develop strategies for supporting the health and safety of students in crucial areas, including mental health and wellbeing, current legal issues, substance use and prevention, and misconduct and abuse prevention.

Discuss and share best practices for developing rich and robust student programming, including advisory programs, student leadership development, auxiliary programs and student social and emotional development.

Connect with residential and student life thought leaders to explore topics to enhance the quality of your program and team, including program audits, innovative staffing structures, professional growth, and more.

Brainstorm, strategize and problem-solve with a personal network of new colleagues and mentors from across the boarding school industry.



Dean of Students; History, Philosophy & Religious Studies Faculty, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, The Loomis Chaffee School, CT

Elliott Dial is in his 15th year of teaching. He began at The St. Mark’s School for Boys in Dallas, TX where he completed a fellowship teaching 2nd grade and 7th grade math, along with 11th grade history. For the past 13 years, Elliott has served at Loomis Chaffee, where he has taught history ranging from World History to College Level courses including American History in Race. In addition to teaching, he has lived in the dorms for 11 years (8 of them as dorm head) and oversaw the introduction of an All-Gender Housing space on campus. For the past 4 years, Elliott has served in the Student Life Office as a class dean and in the DEI center at Loomis Chaffee, and has coached varsity football and basketball.


Dean of Class of 2023, Associate for Alumni Engagement, Choate Rosemary Hall, CT

Will Gilyard is in his 19th year of working in independent schools. In 2020, he returned to his alma mater Choate Rosemary Hall to take on the roles of Form Dean, and Alumni Engagement Associate. Will joined Choate after nine years at the Kingswood Oxford School (KO), a 6-12 independent day school located in West Hartford, CT, where he served as Dean of Students, an upper school math teacher, assistant football coach, and faculty advisor for the United Students club and Boys of Color group. At Choate, Will is the faculty adviser to Choate Afro Latino Men (CALM), and Girls Who Code (GWC).

Will also serves as a core faculty member and helped create the curriculum for the Institute for New Teachers of Color in Independent Schools, created in 2020, the Interschool Leadership Institute, created in 2013. Will also served as a core faculty member of the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (KOLIEC) from 2011-2018 and helped create the curriculum for the mentoring/advising circles for institute participants.

Before joining KO, Will was the Head of the Upper School at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City. He serves on the board of advisors for the IDEAL School, also located in New York City. He is passionate about the role of educators in independent schools, specifically in the lives of students of color. Will has attended numerous workshops, conferences, and institutes related to leadership in independent schools and anti-racist education. Will had the honor of being a member of a think tank for the CARLE institute.

Will has his B.A. in Psychology from Williams College and his M.A. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Joseph. Will is thrilled to be a part of the TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) team and looks forward to working with energized and focused individuals who are interested in being change agents in the residential life sphere.

Will and his wife, Afton, ALP/Enrichment Teacher in Stratford Public Schools reside in Wallingford, CT with their two sons, William (10) and Maxwell (8).


Assistant Head of School, History Teacher, Skiing and Crew Coach, Taft School CT

Jeremy has an extensive background in the boarding school environment, having been a student, teacher, and administrator. After graduating from Berkshire School, Jeremy went to Bowdoin College to receive a Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in economics. He received his master’s degree in educational administration from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Jeremy is also the executive director at the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute at Fountain Valley School. Prior to Taft, Jeremy was acting assistant head of school for strategic initiatives at Cheshire Academy, the head of school at Kents Hill School, and the head of senior school at Shady Side Academy. He was also the dean of students at Fountain Valley School.

Throughout his time as an administrator, Jeremy also taught various classes in history, including World Cultures, Social Theory and Global Impact, European, U.S., and Ancient and Medieval History. He has been an advisor, dormitory head, alpine skiing coach, crew coach, and outdoor instructor. Jeremy has been a speaker at numerous conferences of the National Association of Independent Schools and the Association of Boarding Schools. At Taft, Jeremy now serves as the assistant head of school, teaches history, coaches skiing, and lives on Academy Hill with his wife, Diana, and their three children.


Dean of Student Life and Wellness, Loomis Chaffee School CT

Over the span of her 25-year career, Jessica has worked  as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator. After graduating from Colby College, Jessica spent time teaching overseas before returning to the states to get her Masters in American Cultural Studies at the University of Wyoming. She then worked as a public school Spanish teacher, focusing on student support as she discovered her passion for helping students navigate the complexity of adolescence. 


Jessica eventually pursued her Masters in Social Work from Boston College and then returned to the boarding school world, having attended the Taft School during high school. First at Miss Porter’s School and then at Blair Academy, she helped center the community on health and wellness.


At Blair, she created a counseling department from scratch, and after a few years as Director Counseling, she shifted to administration and spent four more years as a Dean of Students. After moving back to New England and working as Director of Counseling at Thayer Academy, her family then moved to Loomis Chaffee in 2019 where she is currently Dean of Student Life and Wellness. Her dean role expanded to include wellness, which she believes is intimately linked to the quality of student life.


When not working she is usually somewhere outside, playing sports, watching her beloved Red Sox, or spending time with her family. She currently lives in Windsor, CT with her husband, Brian Shactman, three teenage children, and an amazing yellow lab.


Learning Courage

Jamie is the founder and CEO of Learning Courage. His experience includes nearly two decades in the private sector in both finance and marketing roles, where he honed his business acumen, strategic thinking and creative approach. Jamie has also consulted with, helped start, and been involved in board leadership of a variety of nonprofit organizations.

His work with schools began when, in 2016, he shared the story of being sexually abused in 9th grade at Milton Academy. During the school’s 9-month investigation, he observed first-hand how important and yet challenging it can be for both survivors and school leaders to rebuild trust and support healing.

Learning Courage came out of his observation that schools needed guidance keeping survivors at the center of incidents of sexual abuse and misconduct. Central to his findings in this work is that being survivor-centered is in the best interests of not just survivors but also the institutions where the abuse occurred. The best way to improve the sector’s response to sexual abuse, he reasoned, was to create an organization that collected and shared what they learned.

Jamie graduated from Connecticut College and lives in Portsmouth, NH with his wife, two daughters and a dog that thinks he’s actually human.


Learning Courage

Amy joined Learning Courage in the fall of 2019. A survivor herself, Amy has been an independent school educator and administrator for over 30 years. She began her career as an English teacher, dorm parent and coach at Lawrence Academy and understands the full life boarding school faculty and staff lead. Since then, she has worked as an administrator in K-8 day schools, 6-12 day schools, and a 6-12 all girls boarding school and knows well the impact of sexual misconduct on students, faculty, staff and institutions and the importance of training and prevention. Her experience on a number of independent school boards also gives her insight into the larger institutional issues that arise from both historic and current sexual misconduct on independent school campuses. 

What do our PAST attendees say?

An extremely valuable, comprehensive experience. Peer relationships are valued and promoted, and the added ongoing support from TABS and my cohort will be worth the price of admission alone.
Eric Bolton
Idyllwild arts academy
I felt like I was in a safe place the whole time. I have built so many relationships in the past week — not only working relationships but relationships that will continue moving forward. Some of us have already agreed to create a zoom group to "just chat".
Mark Cheong
cheshire academy
TABS ResLife Institute should be incorporated within the new hire onboarding process!
Kevin Wong
Kamehameha Schools
I love how the conference attendees embraced one another and had such rich and dynamic conversations. I now have this amazing network.
Jazmin A. Clark
North carolina school of the arts
Everything about this conference made it a worthwhile investment for the school and for my personal time over the summer. I left feeling energized and full of new ideas, some to implement with my team and students immediately, and others in the long term. I now have a fabulous network of professionals to lean on throughout the year.
Mike Mottola
St. stephen's school

Institute Schedule Overview






Morning Sessions




Afternoon Sessions


Welcome Reception




Morning Sessions




Afternoon Sessions


Wrap Up




Morning Sessions


Program Concludes

Schedule Subject to Change