As I reflect on a week packed full of amazing AASA experiences with my team from Indian Hill EVSD, what is clear is that the work we do with each other, for the children of our public school system, is vital. We witnessed some amazing breakout sessions, and spoke to educators from around the country with focused missions. From Brigantine to Tuscaloosa, Portland to McAllen, schools are in great hands!
In healthy districts large and small it was apparent that students are at the center of decision making. On a site visit Wednesday morning to Alamo Heights, high school principal Ms. Cory Smith made this clear to me with every program she shared. Cory’s student engineers are creating the rockets that will send astronauts to Mars – literally in real time. Their expert teacher has cultivated a unique rocketeering program. The students present annually to NASA experts. Relevant learning? Cory’s pride inspired me and reinforced my beliefs about the health of our public schools.
I reflect with my team on the world class staff we are grateful to work with, as we celebrate our colleagues across the country in districts where staffing itself is a daily challenge. Learning about the big picture we all face shines a spotlight on the leadership skills so crucial to develop, and strengthen within our power back home.
For these reasons, I intentionally selected breakout sessions and activities with a lens toward leadership and talent development. There is a revolution necessary to protect public school staffing, and it will require creative, contemporary methods that rival those of Fortune 100 companies, to compete for the human resources necessary to lead schools.
The colleagues and presenters I was fortunate enough to interact with this week reaffirmed that the ongoing mission for me, and for my teammates, has to be focused on developing other leaders. Need better principals? Develop them. Need a new director, cultivate one. Need to find a new advisor or coach? Build them up. Need amazing teachers? Compete for them, and work hard to retain them. Above all, make it personal. In this way, as my BASA colleague Paul Imhoff says, “we can help others to live well and lead well into the future.”