K-12 Advisory Board Members: Session Recommendations

We asked members of Blackbaud’s K-12 Executive Advisory Board—experts with boots-on-the-ground experience—which sessions they would recommend most. With tracks for admissions and enrollment, the business office, student and learning management, and technology and innovation, there will be learning opportunities for everyone. 

Session Recommendations by a School Registrar

Tracy Dodge is the Director of Student Information and Registrar at Washington International School. She oversees the student information and learning management systems and the school’s student data analysis and privacy efforts. She also serves on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board. 

About Me
I love improving process and clarity by creating thoughtful policies and training and by leveraging technology. Before joining the K-12 field, I worked in higher education, advising student leaders and running co-curricular programs at American University, Harvard Law School, and Pine Manor College. I earned my master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania and my bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College. I chose a career in education so that I could positively shape students’ journeys by improving institutions of learning.


My Role on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board
Blackbaud K-12 solutions have been at the center of my work for ten years. I often speak with other schools about my experience and even hosted a mini-conference at Washington International School for DC-area Blackbaud users. I was honored to be invited to join Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board and have had the opportunity to connect with and learn from school leaders who are as excited about and invested in technology solutions as I am. Additionally, I was thrilled about the chance to give feedback directly to Blackbaud leadership. I love being able to represent schools’ needs and contribute to Blackbaud’s continual improvements and innovations.


Top #BBK12 Conference Sessions I Recommend
My session is July 19, 1:30-2:00 pm EST: Use the Tools. Improve the Process. I strive to be clear, consistent, and efficient in all my work. The power of organized, protected, and easily accessible student data is immense! Blackbaud’s Student Information System helps me reach my goals. In this session, I’ll tell you how Washington International School uses Official Notes, Conduct, Forms, and Learning Profiles to save time, manage information, advance data privacy, and better support students.

If you love student data as I do, you won't want to miss these other sessions:

  • The Power of Advanced Lists – There are so many possibilities with advanced lists! This deep dive will include real-life examples from my fellow K-12 Advisory Board member, Carolyn Stevens of Cranbrook Schools.
  • Custom Dashboards and Insights Drive School Decisions by Traci Holinger - I’m always looking for ways to do more with our data.
  • Shop Talk: Student Information System - Jacqueline Koca, Product Manager at Blackbaud, is so knowledgeable! This session is sure to provide a lot of great insight into this critical tool.

There will be many more breakout sessions and opportunities for virtual networking. I expect the conference to be packed with valuable insights and takeaways.

I look forward to seeing you at the #BBK12 Virtual Conference!

Session Recommendations by a Finance Professional

Susan Wayland holds an MBA in Corporate Finance from Golden Gate University, where I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate-level business finance courses. In addition to serving on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board, I’ve also served on the Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX) Board and am currently the Board Chair for a nonprofit, Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center. 

About Me

I hold an MBA in Corporate Finance from Golden Gate University, where I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate-level business finance courses. In addition to serving on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board, I’ve also served on the Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX) Board and am currently the Board Chair for a nonprofit, Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center. I’m an avid equestrian, riding my horse, Wish Granted, whenever I can. I live on the Central Coast of California with my partner, Mark, and our rescue dog, Lucy.


My Role on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board

I joined the Board back in 2018 when I was at San Francisco Day School. The school was having serious issues with our tuition management system, and I rallied many schools in the same situation to elevate this complicated matter to Blackbaud’s CEO, Mike Gianoni. During that process, John Linton (a Vice President at Blackbaud) and I became very well acquainted, and he asked that I join the board to help them fix the issue. After much great work by the Blackbaud Tuition Management team, we have a new product that is very good - a huge improvement over Smart Tuition. I was honored to be asked to join the Board, and really enjoy the work we do and the opportunities it has provided me. Top #BBK12 Conference

Sessions I Recommend

These are the top three sessions anyone from the Business Office should not miss:

  • Non-tuition Expenses and the Impact on Financial Aid – This session is led by Hiram Cuevas, Executive Director of our K-12 Advisory Board. He has firsthand experience in his role at St. Christopher’s School and will demonstrate actionable strategies to address non-tuition expenses in a financial aid program.
  • Shop Talk: Tuition Management – Participants will see the newest features of Blackbaud Tuition Management and learn more about upcoming releases. It’s also another example of the expertise within Blackbaud, as one of the presenters is a former K-12 school Controller.
  • Excelling with Expense Management – Expense management is critical to any business office, and this session will show participants how to use the software to alleviate the basic tasks and free up more time for more complicated strategic planning.

Blackbaud’s K-12 Conference is an excellent opportunity for anyone who works in a school’s business office. The tools are innovative and solve a number of pain points financially-focused staff experience. I look forward to seeing you at the #BBK12 Virtual Conference!

Session Recommendations by an IT Professional

Hiram Cuevas is Director of Information Systems and Academic Technology at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, VA, and the Executive Director of Blackbaud's K-12 Advisory Board. In 2021, he was recognized by the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS) as a Pillar Award recipient. He currently holds the Charles S. Luck II ‘51 Chair of Academic Technology.

About Me

I joined St. Christopher’s in 1991 as a middle school science teacher, advisor, and coach. I’ve also served as the Middle School Technology Coordinator and as the Director of Summer Programs during my tenure. In 2006, I started the journey of integrating technology into the curriculum and led the deployment of the school's student information system and website. I was also instrumental in earning recognition for St. Christopher's School as the Spotlight School at the Lausanne Learning Conference in 2015. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of William and Mary and am a member of the college’s Athletics Hall of Fame in track and field. My wife Grace is a teacher at Saint Gertrude High School. We have three children: Gracie, Joey, and Aubrey.


My Role on Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board

Being part of the advisory board is the best professional development out there. I have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest people in independent schools, and the level of sharing and learning is outstanding. The board’s main objective is to provide constructive feedback on enhancing the BB experience; this is where being seated at the table with the Product Managers is key. I don't know many companies that provide the level of interaction Blackbaud does with its advisors/customers, but this sets it apart from other vendors.


Top #BBK12 Conference Sessions I Recommend

If someone from IT or another data-driven professional were to attend, these are the sessions I think they should prioritize:

  • The Power of Advanced Lists – Dive deep into the building of advanced lists with my fellow Blackbaud K-12 Advisory Board member, Carolyn Stevens of Cranbrook Schools
  • Harnessing the Powers of Insights, SKY API & Power BI – This will be a great demo of how you can start gaining business intelligence right away and how to take reporting to another level.
  • Using the API with Third-Party Apps – Looking for applications that integrate with Blackbaud? Please join Linda Lawrence from Ransom Everglades School and me as we discuss using the API to connect 3rd party apps

This K-12 conference is not just for current Blackbaud users. It’s an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn from thought leaders across the K-12 space.