Elected Board Retreats

Faculty and Staff Facilitators

School of Government faculty and professional staff are available for limited retreat facilitation, depending on the nature of the retreat and their other commitments. Since the School receives more requests than we can meet, we often refer people seeking a facilitator to individuals trained by the School as facilitators and to other professionals. If you call the School of Government to request assistance with facilitation, be prepared to respond with the information contained in the Retreat Intake Form.


 Cost of Retreat Facilitation

 The School tries to be an affordable option for local governments, using a sliding scale for daily facilitation charges that ranges from $1,000 to $1,750 (depending on a jurisdiction’s size and/or tier classification). The daily rate applies to planning and preparation time, on-site facilitation, and follow-up documentation. Reimbursement for travel and supplies is expected, too. 

 Municipalities:                             Counties:

 Population            SOG Rate         Category        


Under 2,500          $1,725              Tier 1             


2,501-10,000         $1,800              Tier 2             


10,001-25,000       $1,875              Tier 3                     


Over 25,000           $1,950                                                 

 Each retreat request is treated as unique and varies depending on what the work required (e.g., individual pre-retreat interviews or number of days on-site) so providing a standard rate for retreats is not possible. One additional day of work is commonly required for planning the agenda, then preparing the follow-up notes. A one day retreat is likely to result in charges for two days of facilitator effort.

 All of this is required to be documented in a letter of agreement, ideally in place at least three weeks in advance of the retreat.

 For more information or to request a facilitator for your retreat, please contact Lydian Altman at Lydian@sog.unc.edu or 919-962-0103.


The following School of Government faculty and staff members offer group facilitation services:


Lydian Altman

Lydian's retreat work focuses on strategic and annual work plans, managing change, positive probelm solving, and improving relationships (amongst group memerbs, between organizations, and across public and private sectors).  She has extensive facilitative experience demonstrating, applying, and teaching effective communication techniques for elected officials, professional employee groups, governing boards, and others in both short-term and longer-term conversations.  Before directing the School's Strategic Public Leadership Initiative, she held positions with the Public Intersection Project, local government, chamber of commerce, and several nonprofit agencies.  

Contact Lydian Altman at Lydian@sog.unc.edu or 919-962-0103.  


Margaret Henderson

Margaret Henderson specializes in the practical implications of managing cross-organizational collaborations, community programs, and nonprofit organizations. Her twenty years of experience in human services includes work in state and local governments as well as nonprofits. Prior to working with the Public Intersection Project, she served as executive director of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center in Chapel Hill. She also teaches in the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program.

Contact Margaret Henderson at margaret@sog.unc.edu or 919.966.3455.


John Stephens

John focuses on challenging dynamics within elected boards. He also facilitates retreats where one or two topics are difficult or contentious: within the board or among the larger community. He has designed exchanges between units of government with different and sometimes clashing responsibilities. One example is school boards’ need to site new schools, and cities and counties’ responsibilities on land use planning and zoning. John conducts two to three retreats annually.

John is coordinator of the School of Government's Public Dispute Resolution program.

Contact John Stephens at stephens@sog.unc.edu or 919.962.5190.