The stars of the show at Thursday evening’s AASA graduation ceremony were a diverse group of superintendents and aspiring superintendents who had completed coursework and projects in cohort programs that sprang to life at AASA over the last five years.
Roughly 50 people trooped on stage at the conclusion of Day 1 of the 2019 AASA national conference, largely wreathed in smiles while a recording of “Chariots of Fire” played in the background. As expected, audience members marked the moment by snapping photos of the moment for their friends, family members and professional colleagues. The West Coast cohort of the superintendent certification program drew a chuckle when its members bowed as a group before exiting the stage. It was a visible sign of the camaraderie that cohort members had built during the 18 months of the program.
Bill Daggett, founder and chair of the International Center for Leadership in Education in Rexford, N.Y., provided a preview of his Friday morning General Session remarks. He encouraged graduates to continue growing their professional networks.
“We’re passing the torch to you,” said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech at the first-time graduation event.
Although the responsibilities facing graduates are enormous in the world of K-12 school system leadership and will require the transformation from an 18th-century model of education, Domenech expressed optimism. He called on graduates to pursue the work of addressing equity within their district and told them, “You are our dreams.”
(Liz Griffin is senior editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)