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Nashville – A Confession

Confession: the last time the National Conference on Education was in Nashville, I had a miserable time. But it wasn’t because of the conference. I was miserable because the week before the conference a car came crashing through my office, landing in the middle of the wall where my desk was sitting. Unfortunately, I was sitting there as well.

My arm was in a sling, I was on pain meds and, all-in-all, only there because one of my pet peeves is people who register to attend meetings then don’t. So, I went but I was cranky, in a fog, and didn’t really represent my district or our state very well. I attended the general sessions and some breakouts, spent very little time in the vendor area, and left almost everything early. Other Kansas superintendents, my fellow wizards, didn’t even like being around me very much.

So, why does this matter? Because, since that time I’ve attended the NCE and participated without a sling, pain meds, or an attitude, and my experiences have been super. I’ve even jumped in and warbled a bit with the Singing Superintendents a couple of times. Let me tell you, if you take the time to really participate, this conference provides incredible new learning and networking opportunities. I’ve made friends from across the nation who are able to support, share and commiserate because we are all superintendents and can honestly say, “I understand!”

This year looks to be just as engaging. I’m looking forward to hearing an educational icon, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, whom I’ve followed for decades. The session on “Leadership Lessons from the White House” looks so intriguing, and I’m especially eager to hear about the “End of Average”. But it doesn’t go without notice that while we are in “Music City” we have the opportunity to hear from Meredith O’Connor, a rising star in the music world, whose message is about overcoming the impact of bullying – “You Are Not Alone.” Make sure you take time to hear her story and song, “The Game,” at

Finally, the last time NCE was in Nashville, the “I Love Public Education” campaign had not yet begun. A public rally complete with t-shirts for participants will be an opportunity for us to speak out about the importance of support for great public schools.

I’m coming back, Nashville. No sling, no pain meds, and a “grab it all” attitude that will might result in a karaoke performance on Honkytonk Row… or maybe just with the Singing Superintendents!

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