Susan Bondurant (2016)

Susan Bondurant believes in education, believes in schools and believes in North Shore Country Day. It would be difficult to find a portion of North Shore today without Susan’s fingerprints. Susan and her husband Scott are the parents of Brooke, class of 2013, and Cara, class of 2016. As parents they always extended themselves personally to connect with fellow parents, students, teachers and staff in meaningful ways. Committed to serving the School, Susan brought her personal touch and marketing background to bear as an active leader in the Parents’ Association and Benefit Board Auctions.
Susan joined the Board of Trustees in 2005 and made significant contributions to many committees, including Finance, Communications, Committee on Trustees, Strategic Planning and, most recently, the Head of School Search Committee. She was and is a committed fundraiser—strategist, solicitor, giver and getter.

From her very first day as a trustee, Susan exhibited an unusually high level of knowledge, awareness and insight into schools—their purpose, their values, how they impact and empower young people. She was wonderfully consistent about asking “Why?” and brought true discipline to discussions. As a result, Susan was a key factor in improving North Shore’s strength and reputation, even during a time of significant leadership transition. As fellow Board Chair Tom Formolo shared, “In her years as Board Chair, Susan gracefully navigated her role as parent within the context of being Board Chair. Her passion, energy and unique ability to engage and enlist have served the School very well.”

As Board Chair, and only the second female Board Chair in our history, Susan led and deepened North Shore’s commitment to continual self-assessment through regular strategic planning. While valuing North Shore's traditional strengths and enduring values, she always pushed herself and others toward innovation and improvement. As a strong leader, she respected and engaged others, very skillfully balancing the immediate agenda with a long-term strategic vision.

All of these qualities ensured that Susan would be a remarkably effective Board Chair. She continually asked questions that helped focus and frame issues; she engaged and supported others; listened to all sides and clarified vague concepts. Susan's commitment to what was best for North Shore was understood and appreciated by all constituent groups—students, faculty and staff, parents and alumni—because she connected well with them all. People like and respect Susan because they know she cares about them, their well-being and the School.

Working with the Head of School is one of the primary roles of a Board Chair, and former Head Tom Doar sings Susan’s praises. “Susan was a wonderful partner to the Head of School. She was able to be present, to support and to challenge. Never comfortable with ‘same old, same old’ yet very respectful of North Shore's history and culture. Susan was wise and approachable, demanding yet very supportive. Unusual combinations. She steered the School through Head of School and Board leadership transitions and successions with awareness, vision, discipline and a high level of partnership, proactively reached out to become informed about leadership transition ‘best practice,’ and supported and challenged the Head and the Board. Susan kept us focused, helped make us aware and was supportive in positioning things so that North Shore was at its best working through those challenges and opportunities.”

Susan has always been a strong, compelling and visionary leader and motivator. She personally connects with and empowers others, challenging all around her to give their best. She embodies all that Foster Hannaford stood for because she gives, gives and gives—modeling "Live and Serve" for all.

Presented to Susan Bondurant by Head of School Tom Flemma
October 19, 2016
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North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.

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