Thought Leaders

Thursday, February 13

9 – 10am
A Nation at Hope:  Social and Emotional Learning and Success

Sheldon Berman
Superintendent, Andover Public Schools
Andover, MA

Stephanie Jones
Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Cambridge, MA

Timothy Shriver
Chairman, Special Olympics International
Washington, DC

Gene Wilhoit
Executive Director, National Center for Innovation in Education
Lexington, KY

In this session members of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development will share insights and recommendations from the commission’s recently released report, A Nation at Hope. Join the commission’s co-chair, Timothy Shriver, and leading members of the policy, practice, and research working groups to hear about the science of social and emotional learning, its role in schools and schooling, and key recommendations for the next generation of practice, policy, and research.

9 – 10am
Principal Pipelines:  A Cost-Effective Strategy to Improve Principal Retention and Student Achievement

Moderator:  Dan Domenech
Executive Director, AASA
Alexandria, VA

Doug Anthony
Associate Superintendent, Prince George’s County School District
Upper Marlboro, MD

Jeff Eakins
Superintendent, Hillsborough County School District
Tampa, FL

Monica Goldson
Chief Executive Officer, Prince George County’s Public Schools
Upper Marlboro, MD

Nicholas Pelzer
Senior Program Officer, Wallace
New York, NY

Research indicates that, of school-related factors, quality of school leadership is second only to quality of teaching in level of impact on student learning. Learn how six districts invested in a principal pipeline initiative with support from the Wallace Foundation, resulting in improved student achievement in literacy and improved principal retention. A 2019 study by the RAND Corporation provided an in-depth analysis of Principal Pipeline effectiveness. The report presents the results of research that examined the Principal Pipeline Initiative, a six-year effort supported by The Wallace Foundation and launched in the 2011-2012 school year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC; Denver, CO; Gwinnett County, GA; Hillsborough County, FL; New York, NY; and Prince George’s County, MD. The “pipeline” refers to four, mutually reinforcing components the districts put in place to seek to boost principal effectiveness: rigorous standards that spell out what their principals are supposed to know and do; high-quality pre-service training for aspiring principals; data-informed hiring; and well-aligned support and evaluation of principals, especially newcomers to the job.

The research compared student achievement in pipeline district schools that received new principals with similar schools, elsewhere in the districts’ states, that received new principals. The findings suggest that a student scoring at the 50th percentile in reading in a comparison school would have scored in the 56th percentile in a pipeline school with a new principal. The positive results were felt district-wide across the participating districts and, to a large extent, across grade levels. Statistically significant, positive benefits in reading and math were seen in both elementary and middle school, while high school saw such benefits in math.

10:15 – 11:15am
Brain Research/Learning

Julia Skolni
Assistant Director of Professional Development, The Franklin Institute Science Museum
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. David Baugh
Centennial School District
Warminster, PA

Dr. John Sanville
Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
Kennett Square, PA

The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Centennial School District, and Unionville-Chadds Ford School District all located in the Philadelphia area will share their museum-district partnership model for advancing teachers’ and administrators’ understanding of the brain and learning to improve district-wide educational practices. Participants will experience samples of interactive professional development modules that debunk myths about the brain and learning, as well as demonstrate research-based strategies for engaging and motivating students to learn. Evaluation results about the impact of these experiences on teachers, administrators, and students will also be shared. Participants will receive evidence-based tools for improving K-12 teaching across all disciplines and learn about ways to partner with The Franklin Institute to offer these transformational experiences for teachers across the country.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Early Learning Toolkit and Head Start Collaboration

Deborah Burgeron
Director Office, Head Start
Washington, DC

Eddie Manuszak
Dundee Community School District
Dundee, MI

Strengthening Superintendent Early Childhood Leadership Skills

Join Edward Manuszak, current Superintendent and AASA Early Learning Cohort Co-Chair as he shares an in-depth look at the current leadership frameworks and research he is using within his state and around the nation to build programs and networks that support Early Childhood Education. He will be joined by Dr. Deborah Bergeron and a panel of Superintendents who are currently enrolled in the Office of Head Start and Public Schools Collaboration Demonstration Project and learn how they are impacting their local communities to strengthen Head Start program transitions and outcomes.

In addition, participants will explore, receive, and discuss the newly co-published (AASA and NAEYC) systemic Early Learning District Self-Assessment Tool (ELDSAT) which allows Superintendents and District Level Leaders an in-depth review of their own district programs which address all aspects that emulate best practice and research-based measurements. The tool is a baseline self-assessment that has allowed for Edward to cultivate within his own state and county a cohort that now is a part of the Superintendent’s Early Childhood Plan. This plan now affords he and nine other Superintendents strategies and programs to meet the needs of their earliest learners.

Participants will also learn of case studies, additional partnerships, and take away more professional resources to their districts as they begin transforming how early childhood education is perceived, implemented and delivered in their own districts.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Trauma-Sensitive Teaching:  Personalizing Culture

Moderator:  Ray McNulty
President of Successful Practices Network and the National Dropout Prevention Center
Rexford, NJ

Dr. Susan Cole
Harvard Law professor and Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Cambridge, MA

Mike Muñoz
Superintendent, Rochester Public Schools
Rochester, MN

Ryan Powers
Assistant Superintendent, Bridgewater-Raynham School District
Bridgewater, MA

For optimal learning to occur, students need to feel safe and supported. When a school’s faculty develops a deep understanding of the effects of trauma and chronic stress on learning, pathways to culture emerge. Through collaboration and fostering empowerment, educators can meet students’ needs for safety and belonging. This session focuses on the research behind trauma-sensitive teaching, learning, and leading that supports personalization of culture for students. Moderated by Ray McNulty, President of Successful Practices Network and the National Dropout Prevention Center, the panel includes Dr. Susan Cole, Director of Harvard’s Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. Thought leader practitioners from school districts will share how they use trauma-sensitive strategies in their schools.

Friday, February 14

11:15am – 12:15pm
5 Pivots for Education Leaders to Support World Class Execution

Ted Fujimoto

Entrepreneur, co-designer and co-founder of what has become the New Tech Network, shares practices of world-class innovation teams. Ted will discuss how these shared pivotal practices are important to superintendents to lead their districts through complex change and sustain these changes.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Investing in Principal Supervisors to Lead School Improvement

Moderator:  Max Silverman
Executive Director, Center for Educational Leadership, University of Washington

Gary Bloom
Former Superintendent of Santa Cruz City Schools

Sito Narcisse
Chief of Secondary Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools
Washington, DC

Matt Smith
Associate Superintendent, Des Moines Public Schools

Jackie Wilson
Director, Academy for School Leadership and the Executive Director for the National Policy Board Educational Administration

Educating all children at high levels depends largely upon having effective school building principals. Yet, skill at implementing quality systems for recruiting, developing and evaluating principals, is not universally strong. Superintendents and Principal Supervisors agree that quality principal supervision programs should be a high priority. This session highlights strategies and tools developed by school districts and researchers with support of the Wallace Foundation that assist districts to select and develop principal supervisors. Highly skilled principal supervisors provide on the job support, coaching and supervision for building leaders to lead school improvement.

12:45 – 1:45pm
Leading Personalization of Learning

Moderator:  Tom VanderArk
Chief Executive Officer, Getting Smart
Federal Way, WA

Mark Bedell
Superintendent, Kansas City Public Schools
Kansas City, MO

Mike Hinojosa
Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Dallas, TX

Katrina Stevens
Director of Learning Science, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Baltimore, MD

Personalization of learning requires intentionally developing an ecosystem that supports growth for all learners, including students and staff. Elements of re-designing teaching and learning to foster conditions in which increased personalization can thrive include providing strategies for teaching that encourage risk-taking, considering impact on assessment, re-thinking pace and space for learning, and increasing Infrastructure. Come learn from pioneers in personalization how educators can foster a growth mindset in schools and districts. Session will describe best practices in developing, deploying, and iterating approaches to personalized learning. Learn lessons from school districts, networks, and leading ed tech experts

2:30 – 3:30pm
Superintendent/School Board Relations — A Discussion Between NSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel and AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech

Dan Domenech
Executive Director, AASA
Alexandria, VA

Tom Gentzel
Executive Director, NSBA
Alexandria, VA

Come hear an informative discussion between the AASA and NSBA executive directors who agree that an effective superintendent/school board management team is essential to a school system’s success and learn how the two organizations work together to accomplish common goals.