During the month of July, 2012 I began my journey as Superintendent of the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (JWP) Public School District. There was an awareness that the role of the Superintendent would present unique challenges and that time to develop a new skill set would be necessary.
In my role as Chatfield Elementary Principal in Belle Plaine, MN there were other principals in the district to collaborate with when a 'listening ear' and advice were saught. I was also an active member of the Minnesota Elementary School Principal's Association (MESPA) which afforded me the opportunity to network with other principals in Minnesota and to develop professionally.
My first few days in the office of Superintendent at JWP left me wondering who I could collaborate with to assist me in my professional development. After careful research and reflection, I stumbled upon the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). At the time, I did not realize the impact both organizations would have on my growth as a professional.
Involvement in these organizations has allowed me to connect at a deeper level with colleagues engaged in similar work. I have met a diverse group of individuals with various levels of experience. Some folks have 30 years of experience while others are in their first year as a superintendent. Regardless of their background, members of MASA and AASA are ready and willing to connect, collaborate, communicate and develop lasting relationships. These relationships have positively influenced my work and strengthen my skills as a public servant for the JWP School District.
This week AASA celebrated their 150th anniversary. I was fortunate enough to attend their National Conference on Education which commemorated this milestone. The conference did not disappoint! From Cal Ripken talking about professional sustainability to Dallas Dance sharing innovative practices utilized in the Baltimore County Public School District, the conference was a success!
I strongly encourage any member of their state organization and AASA to attend their conferences, submit proposals for presentations, and become actively involved. You will find that in all these actions professional growth will be realized. In the end, the students in your districts will benefit from your involvement. Today, I am a better administrator due to the work of MASA and AASA. Thank you to all!