What happens when 100 K-12 facilities leaders gather with the industry's most innovative suppliers for a retreat in the Palm Springs desert? Meaningful connections are made, like-minded partnerships form, and a cross-pollination of ideas sparks fresh solutions to shared challenges.

The relaxed vibe of the Miramonte Resort aligned perfectly with the interactive format and spirit of the retreat. Jeremy Trimble, Chief Operations Officer at Eanes ISD, said the destination was “perfect for unscripted, unplanned conversations, whether it be at the fire pit, or dinner. These spontaneous occurrences helped shape the success of the forum.”

Organic connections were also able to unfold through memorable social activities, including a jeep tour of the San Andreas Fault and a golf outing.


“Phenomenal event–it makes me happy to network with people that share the same problems, and have more creative solutions than we do sometimes," said John Shea, CEO, Division of Facilities for the NYC Department of Education. "Even though we’re the biggest school system in the country we don’t always have all the answers."

TED-inspired talks and peer-led discussions left attendees with no shortage of ideas to bring back to their own districts. Sessions explored a range of topics, from building high-performance teams to creative financing solutions and designing for 21st-century learning.

“I love the relational aspect and enjoyed numerous conversations with like-minded people,” said Chris Reiersgaard, Executive Director of Springfield Public Schools.


Sponsors valued quality time with district leaders free of interruptions, which isn’t possible at standard conferences and trade shows.

“The connections we made were excellent, all attendees were key influencers.” said Ron Fenhaus, Vice President of Sales at Action Floor Systems.

District adminstrators echoed the praise for the opportunity to schedule face-time with the suppliers and service providers that interested them the most.

Carlos Gallinar, Executive Director, Planning & Innovative Schools Construction, El Paso ISD, said, "“It’s very difficult for us to meet with this many vendors throughout our busy schedule. It’s great that for the duration of the conference that we’re able to sit one-on-one with each other.” 


By escaping the daily grind to recharge, participants left the retreat with a renewed vision for the future--and a support system of friends and partners all across the nation.  

Check out our collection of over 300 photos from the retreat. You can also watch recordings of several of the talks and discussion on our YouTube channel

Hannah Chenoweth

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Hannah Chenoweth is a writer for influence group. Passionate about collaborating with thought leaders in real estate, design, construction & facilities management.

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