Pre-Conference Workshops

All Pre-Conference Workshops will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 1 – 5pm

Three workshops will run from 1 – 5pm and cost $125. Pre-conference #4 will run from 9am – 4pm and cost $250.


Pre-Conference 1

Qualities of Effective Principals: How to Hire, Promote, and Evaluate for Effectiveness

Do principals matter to school improvement and student success? The answer is a resounding YES! In fact, among school factors, the impact of principals is considered second only to that of teachers in facilitating student learning; furthermore, highly effective principals are considered the key to school success. However, given the competing demands for precious time, it is imperative not only that principals do their work well, but also that they do the right work. This interactive workshop will build on the framework of ASCD’s Qualities of Effective Principals and Principal Evaluation (Stronge, 2008, 2013) and will feature a variety of simulations and other interactive activities. Specifically, the workshop, designed for superintendents and other administrators assigned the responsibility of hiring, developing, and evaluating principals, will address the following key questions:

  • What are the distinguishing qualities of effective principals?
  • What works and what doesn’t in principal hiring?
  • How does the principal influence student achievement?
  • How can principal effectiveness be evaluated?

The workshop will include the 2015 NPBEA’s Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, and will feature research-guided, hands-on activities designed to help guide successful implementation of the attributes discussed in the workshop. Additionally, a participant handout packet will be provided that includes practical tools addressing principal effectiveness.

James Strong, Heritage Professor in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Area, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia


Pre-Conference 2

Creating Equity of Opportunity and Access to Academic Rigor: Recruitment, Support, and Success for Underrepresented Students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs

This program will feature the partnership work of Equal Opportunity Schools, a mission-driven nonprofit organization, and school districts across the nation. Equal Opportunity Schools’ mission is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in challenging high school courses. In pursuit of our mission, we focus on the “tragedy of twenty feet” — each year two-thirds of a million students are stuck literally just across the hall from advanced high school classes they are ready to succeed in, classes which they will need in order to achieve their college completion goals. Participants will have the opportunity to receive an Advance Placement/ International Baccalaureate course enrollment analysis disaggregated by race and income provided for each high school in their district. Learn from superintendents who have been successful in developing AP/IB programs where student participation reflects the diversity of the school population and student success is stable to improving. Participants will discuss the political, financial, and ethical issues involved in supporting academic equity in American high schools. Superintendents are the leaders for academic equity. Learn from your peers about how they have used robust student/staff data to break down barriers of access to underrepresented students and advance a growth mindset among both students and faculty.

Chris Belcher, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri & Superintendent in Residence, Equal Opportunity Schools


Pre-Conference 3

Monkey Business: Lessons for Leaders at All Levels

It’s easy to lose sight of the little, yet powerful, aspects of leadership—aspects that remind us of where we came from, what we stand for, and of the things that make us who we are. Based on the insights revealed in Denny Dearden’s Monkey Business: Lessons for Leaders at All Levels, you’ll learn and laugh your way to a renewed and refined clarity about what makes you the leader you are. This personal and meaningful experience of the essential qualities of human leadership invites you to examine critical leadership elements needed to allow your organization to thrive. Because knowing why you lead and what is really important is what shapes and sustains organizational culture.

You’ll gain insights and strategies as we collaboratively explore answers to questions such as:

  • How does my life’s journey influence my impact as a leader?
  • How can thinking and reacting be detrimental to my ability to get things done?
  • How can clarity of purpose and communication and move my organization forward?
  • How can big ears and a little mouth keep me out of trouble?

Denny Dearden, President, Co-Founder, Monkey Business Associates, LLC, Oro Valley, AZ
Mark Reardon, CEO and Principal Facilitator, Centrepointe Leadership, Oceanside, CA


Pre-Conference 4

How to Supervise Principals for Improved Leadership and Learning

School districts, both small and large, are searching for new and better ways to ensure that each of their schools is led by a principal with the skills, resources, and time to be an instructional leader. In this interactive session, superintendents and school district leaders will engage with the latest research, promising practices from the field, and tools from the University Washington Center for Educational Leadership (UWCEL) to better understand what principals need to succeed as well as to how to provide it. Using the Council of Chief State School Officers principal supervisor standards as a guide, participants will have opportunities to self assess how they currently support principals as well as plan for specific next steps. This session will be differentiated to ensure that a variety of district contexts will be addressed. Participants will be expected to engage with presenters and peers so that they leave this session with a plan to take back to their districts.

Stephen Fink, Executive Director, Affiliate Professor, Center for Educational Leadership University of Washington
Max Silverman, Associate Director, Center for Educational Leadership University of Washington