The Creation of this Plan

Branson launched a comprehensive strategic planning process in the summer prior to the 2017-18 school year. As an integrated part of the process, the Board of Trustees charged the Head of School with leading the faculty and other constituents to revise Branson’s mission statement and to author statements of core community values, philosophy and a diversity mission statement.

The school engaged Carla Silver of Leadership & Design to guide the development of the plan and to help us adopt the proper frame of reference to achieve the creation of a bold, brave vision for Branson’s future. For any strategic plan ultimately to be successful, it must reflect the values and expectations of all community stakeholders, and in creating this roadmap for Branson, the school endeavored to be inclusive of all members of Branson’s different constituencies. A small subset of the Board of Trustees worked with the Head of School and her team to create a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) composed of parents, faculty, staff, alumni, former parents, and current and past board members. Led by current board member and parent Harrison Miller, the SPC directed the initial inquiry into the state of affairs at Branson and identified key strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to guide our work. The SPC had at their disposal a great deal of recently conducted research regarding Branson today, most notably:

• A Student Satisfaction Survey conducted in the fall of 2016
(100% participation)

• A Parent Satisfaction Survey conducted in the winter of 2017
(86% participation)

• A Diversity Audit, conducted in the spring of 2017 by Gene Batiste of Gene Batiste Consulting

• A Self-Study of all aspects of the school, led and drafted by
administration and faculty/staff during the 2015-16 school year
in preparation for the 10-year accreditation process.

• The recommendations of the Western Association of Schools
and Colleges accreditation committee, whose visit and analysis of Branson was conducted in the winter of 2017

• Several faculty surveys regarding compensation and quality of life

• Data from California Association of Independent Schools and
National Association of Independent Schools regarding key trends in independent day schools

• A consumer research study conducted in the spring of 2018
to understand perceptions of Branson in the larger Bay Area

• Exit interviews conducted with seniors and their parents in the
spring of 2018

The SPC began by examining the research and identifying key priorities for further examination with the larger Branson community, which in turn led to the creation of six initial subcommittees, each tasked with studying further topics essential to the future of the school. Each subcommittee invited additional stakeholders to join in the investigation of its priorities. To further their knowledge, the subcommittees conducted in-depth personal interviews with over 65 members of the Branson community. In addition, the faculty and staff at Branson participated in two full-day strategic planning workshops, as well as two other shorter workshops during the course of the 2017-18 school year. The Head of School conducted several roundtables with current students in order to test and gain further insights into the emerging themes. In January of 2018, the SPC conducted a day-long work session for 120 parents, alumni, friends, former parents, students, and faculty and staff. A final workshop for parents in March of 2018 concluded the research portion of the development of the new plan.

The main pillars of the plan were shared with students, parents, board trustees, and faculty and staff in May of 2018 to ensure that the SPSC had identified and focused on the appropriate anchors for Branson’s new strategic plan. A group of four members of the SPC (Head of School, Board Chair, SPC Chair, faculty member) drafted the plan during the summer of 2018 and the final version was presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees in September of 2018.

Strategic Planning Committee


Savi Baveja
Nghiem Bui ’07
Stephanie DiMarco
Alane Freund
Nathalio Gray
Nancy Kami
Matt Lane
Claudia Lewis
Johnathan Logan ’98
Christina K.  Mazzola
Harrison Miller
Sergio Ovalles
Rich Parsons
Jason Risch ’12
Hilary Schmitt
Ally Sievers
Jeff Symonds
Alicia Taylor
Oanh Tran ’04
Ellyn Weisel


Ben Bodipo-Memba ’87
Henri DeMarcellus
Meredith Herrera
Carl Ma
Peter Zdrowjewski

SPC Steering

Claudia Lewis
Board Chair
Christina K.  Mazzola

Head of School
Harrison Miller

SPC Chair