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Three Testify About Their Payoff From AASA Supervisor Academy

NPS Academy Fink Sherman

Laser focus. Better listening. Genuine partnerships.

These are some of the benefits of the AASA National Supervisor Academy, a program launched in 2017 created by a partnership between University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership and AASA.

The professional development program is for central-office leaders who are looking at ways to increase their principals’ instructional leadership growth.

Three school district administrators, who are part of the first cohort of 54 supervisors in the program, shared their thoughts during a Thought Leader panel in the Knowledge Exchange Theater on Thursday at the AASA national conference.

Rashard Wright, chief of schools for Virginia Beach, Va., City Public Schools, said the program helped him stay on task by having students learn and feel connected to their schools.

“Our goal is to have great instructional leadership … because kids deserve that,’’ he said. “It’s not about being the smartest (person) in the room, it’s about being the wisest. Principals are looking to us for answers. They are overwhelmed.”

Lauren Williams, executive director of East Baton Rouge Parish in Baton Rouge, La., said after participating in the program, she listened and spoke less during her meetings with principals. Before participating in the program, Williams would visit schools and would entertain thoughts on what she would do as principal.
“I used to think, ‘What can I do to fix it?’ but now it’s about what can I provide to help us fix the problem,’’ Williams said.

Tim Onsager, district administrator for Stoughton Area School District in Wisconsin, said his visits with principals became intentional, more purposed. It was one of his biggest takeaways of the program.

“It took us back to the big picture on what’s best for students,” Onsager said.

The AASA National Principal Supervisor Academy states that participants will benefit through:

  • Support and monitor principal progress;
  • Developing effective 1:1 work with principals;
  • Developing effective principal professional learning communities; and
  • Communicating, clearly and continually, the work between the principal supervisor and principals.

Learn more and apply for the next cohort by April 13 at

(Chris Echegaray is a freelance journalist in Nashville.)

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