I am looking forward to my trip to NO next week for the AASA conference. I do not even know how many years I have been attending AASA, but as this is my 12th year as superintendent, I imagine it is in that ballpark. In those years, I have served on the Governing Board as a rep from VT, crashed the committee on Equity and Excellence (and was totally welcomed) as this is a passionate interest of mine, and sat on a cohort looking at school wellness along with attending the high quality sessions at the conference. In this short time, I have met superintendents from across the country, both rural and urban, and learned that many of our systems have the same challenges. I have talked policy with then- secretary of education, Arne Duncan, and heard some incredible leaders speak at General Sessions. I have learned how member focused AASA is — and THIS is why I belong and attend the NCE! Our voice counts! Through support for legislative advocacy to NCE sessions designed to ensure I have the latest information, to connecting with my colleagues nationally and participating in conversations on key policy topics, I get so much out of these few days at NCE each winter. I hope each of you explore all that AASA and NCE17 has to offer as well. And I hope you say hi as we pass each other in a session or the exhibition hall. Enjoy this- make it yours! See you soon!