Pre-Conference Workshops


2024 Pre-Conference Workshops

Add to your conference experience by registering for one of our three deeper dive sessions on Sunday afternoon. These 3 hour sessions will be led by SPARC Senior Advisors and provide a unique opportunity to significantly expand your learning.

These sessions are optional add-ons to the primary conference and require separate registration in advance of the conference and an additional fee.

Sessions will be happening simultaneously, so attendees must select one. Space is limited and seats are filled on a first come-first served basis. Please note that Pre-Conference Workshops are non-refundable; however, you may send someone from your same organization in your place. 

Date and Time: Sunday, October 6, 1:00-4:00pm

Fee: $150 for SPARC members; $200 for non-members

Location: All sessions will be held at the Hotel Valley Ho, the conference hotel


Earn Your SPARC MBA: Master the Business of Auxiliary

Take a deeper dive into the “Business” of Auxiliary/Summer programs.  In this 3-hour session, we will review basic financial understanding, build a budget using a SPARC financial template (that you can take home), and we will dive deeper into strategies and processes to maximize your bottom-line growth. Effective budgeting processes, lean initiatives, and strong entrepreneurial practices will support a foundation for long-term financial success. In addition, we will use a SPARC Executive Summary template (that you can take home) that will help guide us through building the summary of a business plan for a new initiative. 


  • A better understanding of auxiliary financial basics 
  • Budgeting 101: Understanding, developing, and planning for implementation
  • Best practices for auxiliary program entrepreneurship
  • A strong understanding of developing an initiative (executive) summary and presentation to your CFO/HOS or BOT

Presenter: Bob Rojee, Senior Advisor, SPARC

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Enhanced Leadership: To Auxiliary and Beyond!

Auxiliary and summer directors have a very unique and complex leadership role in schools and are gaining greater recognition as key players to help advance strategic priorities and deliver on the mission. This workshop is an opportunity to step back and reflect on who you are as a leader (or future leader).

Directors are often in charge of a large domain with a lot of responsibility, yet they are also positioned somewhere in middle management or at least report to someone else. Auxiliary and summer program directors are also often unique in the necessity for them to interact with all facets of the school (i.e. facilities, security, academic depts., athletics, etc.). Unlike other roles in a school, auxiliary and summer have to be both entrepreneurial and budget-conscious—earning the money that they spend—which creates both challenges and opportunities in leading programs.

This workshop will demonstrate the use of conceptual frameworks for thinking about leadership, understanding your style of leadership, creating functional teams, assessing performance, and planning strategically. The emphasis will be on high-level, universal, elements of leadership and less about the specifics of management. Claim your rightful place by leading in, leading up, and leading the way!


  • Understanding what leadership is (and what it isn't)
  • Connecting the role of strategic planning to your programs and to your school’s highest priorities
  • Understanding your own leadership style and how it helps (and hurts) your objectives
  • Receiving a portfolio of practical tools and frameworks to lead
  • Gaining the confidence to not only lead your programs, but impact your whole organization

Presenter: David Sullivan, Senior Advisor, SPARC

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Unlocking the Essentials: Intentional and Strategic Auxiliary Administration

With limited time—and often limited personnel and resources—maximizing efficiency and effectiveness is a challenge faced by both veterans and newcomers to the Auxiliary Programs field. Framed by the scope of a yearlong auxiliary cycle, this working session will explore the tasks and responsibilities associated with an auxiliary programs workload, including: financial management, marketing, human resources, program planning and implementation, enrollment and registration management, risk management, and how to manage the “everything else” that often comes our way.

Participants will be introduced to the concept behind the SPARC Compass and will be supported through the creation (or evolution for existing users) of a bespoke Compass for their specific role and responsibilities. Lean into the “bigger picture” of an annual Auxiliary cycle in order to identify techniques and strategies for better managing projects, workloads, and new initiatives on a day-to-day basis. Working with mentors and your auxiliary colleagues, you will build and organize your Compass, share ideas on projects, compare season cycles, identify opportunities for delegation or collaboration, and explore the potential of longitudinal work cycle data. You’ll leave with a working tool and a cohort of colleagues that will help us all find the way.

Please bring a laptop or tablet.


  • Unrivaled opportunity to enhance your knowledge base and develop strategies for effective management, a.k.a. find more time and use it wisely
  • Empowering you with critical insights and practical tools necessary for success
  • Development of your own personalized Compass, a working tool to enhance project management and delegation
  • Position yourself for future participation in SPARC’s monthly Compass roundtable discussions—an ongoing cohort of your auxiliary peers

Presenters: Kristi Jacobi, Associate Director of Auxiliary Programs, St. Mark's School
  Karen McCann McClelland, Director of Auxiliary Programs at Sidwell Friends School and SPARC Senior Advisor

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