Each year, Dr. Thurber leads a select number of professional development workshops and faculty trainings at independent and public schools throughout North America and Europe. Favorite workshop topics include: Preserving Professional Student-Teacher Boundaries; Cracking Kids’ Secret Code; Collaborative Problem Solving; The Power of Positive Psychology; Preserving Stamina in a Multitasking World; Time Management; Bullying Prevention for Educators; and Partnering with Challenging Parents.
Dr. Thurber’s workshops are shaped by research (his own and that of other psychologists and educators), his 20+ years of experience in schools and his 15+ years as a clinician. He is a strong believer in activity-based learning and appreciative inquiry. He therefore pushes groups to identify their signature strengths and create realistic action plans that magnify those strengths. To book at faculty development workshop at your school, please contact Dr. Thurber directly or call (603) 557-8100.
Testimonials from Heads of School
“Dr. Chris Thurber’s presentation was far and away our most well-received professional development program. He interspersed research with personal stories, making each moment of the program relevant to all in the audience. Participants walked away with clear guidelines to consider in their daily interactions with students. Both faculty and staff members remarked how Chris was one of the best presenters we have had in a long time.”
– Scott Smith, Assistant Head, Fessenden School
“Dear Chris, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about your time with us. Anne and Kathy chose well in inviting you to present; they planned well in including faculty and staff; and you exceeded all expectations. Colleagues have specifically mentioned your blending your obvious knowledge and expertise with useful props and your wonderfully engaging style to make for a thoroughly effective presentation. Many thanks for coming to Millbrook. I wish you all the best for a successful and satisfying year.”
– Drew Casertano, Headmaster, Millbrook School
“Chris, we greatly appreciated your work with our faculty. Even the most veteran of teachers/coaches/mentors benefits from an airing of the professional closet, so to speak, and I appreciated that your presentation was smart, engaging, respectful and direct. The workshop was funny—caused some squirming at times—and overall really quite masterful.
You met our faculty with their good energy and intentions and helped them think about the responsibilities that we have to our students as fiduciaries. That’s a big word and an important concept, not one that often finds its way into our daily school vernacular; using the concept and phrase adds to our consideration of ourselves as responsible experts and professionals. Your presentation and the related materials offered us the opportunity to listen to each other on point and develop, in the room, a renewed sense of our faculty ethos that we can agree and build upon as a professional standard in which to take pride.”
– Kathleen C. Giles, Head of School, Middlesex School
“What a dynamic, engaging presentation that you provided the JBSA! I love how you tune in to who your audience is and make every effort to customize your message to their needs and experience. The new teachers / dorm parents / coaches left yesterday with great insight and some newfound confidence. You have a great presentation style and you always make sure that every question gets answered. Chris, I can’t thank you enough for making the time to be with us yesterday.”
-Kenneth Howe, Director of Residential Life, The Fessenden School
“With true professionalism, expertise, profound wisdom, and good humor, Chris has an uncanny ability to lead a group of educators who are in various stages of their careers through complex dialog. The fact that he is “one of us” helps build his credibility and enables him to connect with all kinds of teachers. We succeeding in booking him last January, and my colleagues raved about his presentation on “Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries.” Many wished that he could come every year. Through his use of video clips, case studies, and open and relaxed discourse, Chris’s session inspired us all to grow professionally, and left us with so much more to consider. The final stamp of approval came from our Head of School at the end of the day when he said about Chris, “He’s good. Really good. He just gets it.” I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for coming to Chatham Hall, Chris!”
-Emily Johns, Dean of Students, Chatham Hall
“Dr. Chris Thurber made his presentation relevant to all members of our community and participants complimented him both for both content and style. The way in which Chris used a variety of approaches including case studies, video, and humor created engagement and encouraged participation in the discussions.
Said one faculty member, ‘I was impressed by his broad approach to a layered subject and the space to ask our own questions and formulate answers. I left actually feeling empowered and comfortable.’ Another said ‘I feel that I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and insight that will contribute to my immediate growth as a coach, residential faculty member, and teacher. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and making it fun and exciting but also real and relevant.’”
– Thomas Mueller, Dean of Academics and Faculty, Saint Mary’s School
“Without a doubt, Chris’s workshop was well-received by all faculty, ranging from lower school core teachers to 9th grade dorm heads. Frankly, it was the most positive feedback we received about an in-service day in many years. Drawing on his personal and professional experiences, Chris’s easy going style encouraged our faculty to open up and reveal their worries and challenges in a way that benefitted our entire group. His stimulating sessions helped to energize and empower faculty as the headed back into the trenches. I highly recommend Chris Thurber!
– Mark A. Devey, Head of School, Indian Mountain School
“Chris, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from faculty members following your workshop on Monday. Thank you so much for taking the time to come all this way. Your presentation was perfect (and that’s saying something–as you know, boarding school teachers, especially teachers who’ve been in the profession for many years, can be a skeptical audience!).
A couple of things stand out to me as making the workshop particularly successful. One is the fact that you are a boarding school teacher yourself, and able to “speak the language.” Another is the fact that while you included examples of times when teachers violated sexual boundaries with students, you didn’t focus on those. Instead you provided a number of examples of more nuanced boundary violations, then invited the audience to discern those violations for themselves. You also have a wonderful and very engaging way of connecting with your audience. The workshop was informative, authentic, and thought-provoking. I know our faculty will continue to discuss the cases you presented and the ones you left with us.”
– Nancy Starmer, Head of School, George School
Dear Chris: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your work with our faculty yesterday! We loved your workshops on multicultural intelligence, collaborative problem solving, and positive psychology. It was a great day and I think many enjoyed it. I got a text from a faculty member before you even left thanking me for helping bring you to the school!”
– James J. Greenwood, Associate Dean of Multicultural Education, Northfield Mount Hermon
“Given the wide range of developmental challenges inherent in working with children between 4 and 14, The Pike School’s leadership was concerned that it would be difficult for one presenter to provide meaningful professional development on the topic of teacher-student boundaries. I’m happy to report that Chris provided an engaging and interactive presentation that was universally well received. The conversations that have taken place since his workshop have helped us to better serve our students.”
– John “Muddy” Waters, Head, The Pike School
“Chris Thurber is energetic, upbeat, honest, humorous, and relates well to the teacher experience. As a educator currently working in schools, Chris quickly gained credibility from our faculty. Their response to his presentation on maintaining professional boundaries was overwhelmingly positive; it was immediately evident that he truly understands the psychology of parents and students in today’s society. Chris’s presentation was particularly successful since he took the time to learn about our school and our teachers and tailored the presentation accordingly.”
– Jennifer Gargano, Assistant Head, The Harker School
Dear Chris: Thank you!!! Reports from the Groton faculty are that you hit a single or a double during your first visit, as you were adjusting to us, and this time around, your workshop was a homerun. Thanks so much for helping us on the thorny and often uncomfortable topic of Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries. With gratitude,
Temba Maqubela, Headmaster, Groton School
“Chris, thank you for a fabulous keynote at ASSCSI. What a treat for everyone involved! There was quite a wonderful buzz after the workshop. You gave us such good information and you were entertaining as well. Your shared wisdom will make a difference in the lives of the students counseled by our participants. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
– Debra Shaver, Director of Admissions, Smith College
“I gave this session more fives than all prior sessions combined. Dynamic presentation, variety of methods (case studies, speaker, video), highly interactive. I honestly just wish the session had been longer.”
– Conference Participant, The Association of Boarding Schools, TABS
“Exemplary articulation of thoughts; wonderful use of examples; great interaction with audience!”
– Conference Participant, The Association of Boarding Schools, TABS
“Typically wary of an in-servce at the opening of the school year, the faculty at St. George’s were quickly won over by Dr. Thurber’s high energy, apt examples, and creative use of video clips. Thank you so much!”
– Dr. Cheryl Jenkins, Director of Counseling & Health Education, St. George’s School
“Dr. Thurber presented at our third Advanced Topics Seminar and received rave reviews for the information and strategies he shared with the group. He worked with the participants to identify how their programs differed from each other and drew out essential common issues. The participants left the two-day workshop with tools and strategies they can use right now. One participant commented on the post-seminar survey, “I can’t think of any way to improve it. Dr. Thurber) was excellent and should be a regular guest.”
– Elizabeth D. Johnson, Senior Consultant, Dare Mighty Things
“Christopher, it was a real pleasure to meet you and to experience your presentation on Appreciative Inquiry at the Boarding Schools’ Association conference for school heads in Bristol. Thank you so much. I think the London BSA event for housemasters also went well. I do hope we meet again.”
– Richard Harman, Headmaster, Uppingham School
“Best course I have ever been on, and I’m old!”
“This was utterly fantastic! I feel very grateful for the experience.”
“Truly engaging! An excellent seminar. You must book Chris again x4.”
“Bring him back! Chris was engaging and innovative; the workshops were thought-provoking and insightful.”
– BSA Housemasters’ Conference, London, 2012
“Thank you so much for your thought provoking Boarding Schools’ Association seminars. They helped consolidate prior knowledge and boost my understanding of positive psychology. Mindsets *do* matter. Your positive futures slide has helped me to feel confident to walk forward and disseminate this information to my colleagues. As professionals in the boarding schools, we are all involved in enabling our pupils to gain a real sense of value and values; of belonging and self-worth. Your seminars have helped me better provide the kinds of supports that meet my students’ needs.”
– Jacqui Irven, Matron, Collinson House, Mill Hill School–London, Mill Hill School