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Seen & Heard: A Takeaway, the Official Voice and a Valid Excuse

One Memorable Takeaway

It’s been 10 years since Sarah Jerome served as AASA president, but her name was invoked proudly at the AASA Governing Board meeting Wednesday morning.

When Eric Eshbach described what motivated him to run this year for the presidency of the association, he recalled Jerome’s memorable gesture while presiding over the national conference in Tampa, Fla., in 2008. She distributed starfish lapel pins to those who attended the presidential reception that she hosted as a reminder of how educators help one child at a time, just as the beachcomber who tosses a live starfish back into the sea plays a meaningful role in that creature’s life.

Jerome, unable to be at this year’s conference in Nashville, was nonetheless touched by the recall of her decade-old act. “I gave away a lot of those pins,” she noted.


The Voice of AASA

Gabriela Iturri has been a staff member at AASA for only about a year, but already she has become “The Voice” of the association.

That means it’s her recorded messages that will resonate during the three general sessions at this year’s AASA national conference, reminding attendees to take their seats and introducing each new guest to step out to the front of the stage.

Iturri, who works in the association’s conferences and meetings department, was selected by colleagues for this role because of her clear speaking voice, which has a trace of her Spanish language fluency as a native of Peru.

She’s following distinguished company in her role as “The Voice.” For 20 years, Gary Marx, during his tenure as director of communications, served in that role by delivering the public address messages with his booming baritone at conference gatherings. He was brought back fittingly to lend his unmistakable sound to celebrate AASA’s 150th anniversary at the national conference three years ago.


A Worthy Excuse

James Largent had been looking forward to participating in this year’s AASA conference and Governing Board meeting in Nashville. But the superintendent of the Granbury, Texas, Independent School District was a late scratch with a noble excuse.

Largent has become a candidate for the Texas State House of Representatives and the AASA conference comes just one week prior to early voting. “So I have been advised to stay in town rather than go to Nashville,” he told AASA staff.

(Jay P. Goldman is editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)

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