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Bright Picture Sketched of AASA’s Presence During State-of-the-Association Presentation to Governing Board

David Schuler, the incoming AASA executive director
David Schuler, incoming AASA executive director, at the Feb. 15 Governing Board meeting.

AASA stands as a fiscally healthy and substantively robust organization, ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for public education and its leadership.

That was the picture painted at Wednesday’s state-of-the-association presentation delivered to AASA’s Governing Board before the start of the 2023 National Conference on Education in San Antonio, Texas. David Schuler, who is assuming the executive director post at the end of this month, stood in for the person he is succeeding, Daniel Domenech, in delivering the upbeat portrayal.

Schuler, who recently departed the superintendency in Arlington Heights, Ill., for the AASA helm, offered a succinct overview of AASA’s operational areas — public advocacy, professional learning, membership and finance — with supportive visuals on the large projection screens flanking him on both sides. He extended his encouraging status check to this conference in San Antonio, pointing to the 4,500 attendees and the sold-out exhibit hall. Both measures, he admitted, exceeded his expectations coming out of last year’s sterling conference showing in Nashville, Tenn.

He recounted several legislative accomplishments, including the push for greater funding of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, for streamlining the Medicaid claiming process and for successfully opposing the military student voucher program.

Schuler pointed to the recent launch of AASA’s refashioned website and the marked growth of the organization’s professional learning programs and cohorts.

The slide showing the association’s ending financial balance over the past two decades was particularly telling. It showed AASA ended FY ’22 more than $3 million in the black, by far its strongest fiscal position over that time. Schuler said sponsorship income from corporate partners was expected to clear $2.5 million during the current fiscal year.

Several times during his remarks at the Marriott Rivercenter, Schuler used the moment to point to the association’s strong position today compared to 2008 when Domenech took over as executive director. “It’s exciting to follow a legend,” he said early on.

AASA’s incoming executive said he would be fleshing out his visions for the association’s future when he holds a retreat with the Executive Committee in the spring.

(Jay Goldman is editor-in-chief of Conference Daily Online and editor of AASA’s School Administrator magazine.)

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