Nashville’s Answer Guy
The man with many answers at this year’s conference in Nashville is Shawn Joseph, director (aka superintendent) of the Metro Nashville Public Schools.
As he walked the exhibit hall on Thursday, chatting with colleagues, he could be overheard making recommendations to those attending the AASA conference from out of town on all matters relating to the Music City.
“Having all the superintendents from around the country here in Nashville is exciting,” said Joseph, who joined AASA as a member well before becoming a superintendent. “They are not only getting to learn about the city’s culture and the music, they know we’re about education.’’
Walking past some colorful exhibits, Joseph can’t resist putting in a pitch for the locals. “You can’t have a great city without great schools,’’ he said.
Spreading His Good Fortune
As the National Superintendent of the Year®, the honoree gets to award a $10,000 scholarship to a senior student in the high school from which the superintendent graduated or to a high school senior in his or her current school district.
Matthew Utterback, of North Clackamas, Ore., who was the 2017 award winner, opted to extend the reach of his stipend. He awarded five Matthew Utterback National Superintendent of the Year Scholarships of $2,000 each — one to a graduating senior from Newport High School on the central Oregon coast, the school he attended, and four other scholarships to a student attending each of the four high schools in North Clackamas.
When Utterback graduated from high school in 1985, he said he was grateful to receive stipends from several local scholarships, including the Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship. So he wanted to spread his recent bounty as widely as he could.
A Quip to Start
“Welcome to this session on blood-borne pathogens.”
That was how Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent in Fall Creek, Wis., opened his Thursday morning conference session on how to create future-ready schools.
It probably left some attendees wondering if they have dropped into the wrong national conference.
Keeping Up a Record Pace
It will surprise no one affiliated with AASA that Peter Corona is in the hall.
Corona, a long-retired school leader who lives in Walnut Creek, Calif., has been coming to the AASA national conference since 1958, when the event was hosted in San Francisco. He was a doctoral student at the time. That means this year’s conference in Nashville marks his 61st consecutive year.
Corona, still affable as ever as he edges closer to 90 years of age this fall, is counting on being part of the AASA conferences in 2019 and 2020 when they’ll be staged not far from home in Los Angeles and San Diego, respectively.
(Jay P. Goldman is editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)