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Self-Understanding Stressed at Pre-Conference Program on Advanced Leadership for Women

If you had to pick one value that you hold most dear, what would it be? Courage? Reputation? Loyalty? Love? Do your values in your professional role and your private love reflect the same choices?

Those questions were asked of attendees at an AASA pre-conference session, NESLI Women’s Advanced Leadership Program. The afternoon workshop dealt with probing questions and involved hands-on activities that put them in touch with personal beliefs, values and biases.

“Leaders must know their emotions and their values,” said workshop presenter Rachel Boechler, facilitator of National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative. “They must understand their teams. Most know they want to transform their organizations. But self-understanding and self-management are [crucial] before leaders can move on to the management of others,” Boechler added.

“Picture a T-shirt with the word ‘family’ on the front of it,” said Boechler. Sometimes what we say is important to us and what we do are different things. “For example, would your family agree with your assessment given that you work 70-hour weeks?”

Women have fewer opportunities to build networks as they remain in the minority at the superintendency level (roughly 24 percent), which was the impetus for AASA’s new partnership with NESLI. That organization, originally based in Australia, has provided support to 50,000 women worldwide.

The AASA cohort model is a six-month “journey,” Boechler said, involving light reading, short videos webinars, two to three hours of homework every other week and face-to-face meetings via Zoom twice monthly. Each member will work with another cohort member for a portion of the time. Visit for information.

(Liz Griffin is senior editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)

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