I'm honored to serve as the President of AASA for the 2018-2019 school year. As such I plan to post things here from throughout the year.
Below is the summary text of the speech I gave at the installation. I've also included a few photos from the evening. A video of the full speech can be found here.
As I prepared for this week I reflected on how I got to be standing here tonight.
It all started with a colleague nominating me to stand for election as one of Missouri’s Governing Board members. Serving really wasn’t on my radar. But Sally encouraged me to do it.
What an opportunity and experience it was. Region 4 has an outstanding group of leaders and we learned a lot from one another. Our many social gatherings really brought the group together.
Later on Bob Mills and David Schuler encouraged me to run for the Executive Committee. The two of them were an unbelievable team to lead Region 4.
I am fortunate and honored to have served with such student-centered leaders.
Really, I wouldn’t be here today if not for the encouragement and mentorship of others. From family, to friends, to colleagues - they all contributed to me being here today.
Their leadership mattered and influenced me.
I bet your story is similar.
This room has the past, present, and future of AASA in it. We learn from those who went before us and we pass that knowledge and history on to those who come after us.
Over your career your role changes from being mentored to being the mentor. We help new superintendents because it’s our duty.
AASA recognizes that as part of our mission -- one of advocacy, equity, and leader development.
I would posit that we, as an industry, are in the people development business. Our work involves developing young children into educated, self-reliant, and productive young adults. To do so we need the best people we can find to facilitate learning.
Leaders matter. Whether it is in a classroom, principal’s office, or the district office, we need great leaders. The teacher leaders of today will be the building and district leaders of tomorrow.
Your leadership today is making great things happen for students.
One need only look to Twitter and superintendent blogs to see the awesome things happening across the nation.
The nation’s superintendents, our members, are engaged at unprecedented levels.
Over 30 districts have been involved in AASA’s efforts to expand school breakfast participation.
More than 20 districts have worked to redesign professional development.
50+ districts have been involved in the Digital Consortium
40+ districts have been involved in the Personalized Learning Cohort
And the list goes on
As more leaders Engage, Learn, and Lead we see amazing transformations happening.
AASA’s leadership is helping transform education across America.
For too many years we’ve been wrapped up in test scores. I’ve seen the work you are doing. I’ve heard you talk about your districts. Test scores are rarely in the conversation.
The conversation is meeting the needs of your students. It’s funding and safety. It’s working with your community and board. It’s challenging the status quo. It’s equity.
I’ve seen how districts are investing in early education, incorporating STEAM, moving to more digital environments, personalizing learning, etc. And I know that at the heart of that work are leaders. Your leadership matters.
I hope you shared your amazing work during your Hill visits today. Policy makers want us to be better, but are they prepared for us to be different to get better?
Too many policy makers think school still looks like desks and chairs in rows because that was their experience. You probably met with a lawmaker or staffer today who thinks just that.
If so, it’s our fault. We’ve got to get them into our schools. They must understand what we do. Policy makers must understand that our children are more than test scores.
Perhaps one day policy makers will realize that the health and well being of children is more important than their GPA or ACT score. It’s up to us to make that happen.
You are transforming what teaching and learning look like. You are changing what school looks like -- and it’s for the better.
It’s up to us to celebrate that work and help policy makers understand that we are not the schools they perceive us to be.
Your leadership on this matters. It matters in your district. It matters in your state. It matters on Capitol Hill.
It’s hard work -- changing perception. But I believe we can do it.
I believe it because I hear the passion you have for the work you do.
I believe it because you are here. Advocating for policies that move us forward, not bind our hands.
I believe it because I see what superintendents post on social media.
Our members are engaged, they are learning together, and they are leading their districts and communities to a better future.
Let’s make sure we tell the world what we are doing. We have a lot to celebrate.
Gail Pletnick installs Deb Kerr as President-Elect.
I get to recognize Gail for her outstanding leadership as AASA President.
Thanks to my good friends Bob and Tony for the introduction.
Not sure what I was saying here...
But I seem to have Jim's attention.
Some of the Missouri crew who came out.