I just returned from two national meetings. The first was the national conference for the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education. AACTE is the professional organization for faculty, instructors and program administrators who are responsible for academic programs that prepare teachers. The national conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky this year which is a lovely location for a conference. I was invited to present on the topic of professional standards for educational leaders with my colleague Dr. Michelle Young, Executive Director of the University Council for School Administrators, and Dr. Daniel Reyes-Guerra, Program Director for Florida Atlantic University’s Principal Preparation Program. Michelle Young presented information about the National Standards for Leadership Preparation (NELP) and I shared information about the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership (PSEL). Daniel Reyes-Guerra provided examples of how Florida Atlantic University is redesigning their principal preparation program in collaboration with three local school districts and aligning the curriculum and clinical activities to the national standards. Participants were excited to learn more about the standards and to see how one university is redesigning course content and the internship experience to the new standards.
Now just a word about Louisville, Kentucky–home of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. I have visited Louisville for several work-related occasions and I love it more each time I visit. The southern hospitality is wonderful, the barbecue and cornbread is delicious, and if you like to drink bourbon–this is your city. My rule is that work should be fun so I try to explore and discover as much as I can. Eating dinner with colleagues who are passionate about school improvement and leadership makes a long day of travel memorable.
My second national meeting was attending the national combined convening of the Wallace Foundation’s Educational Leadership Learning Community and the University Principal Preparation Initiative in New York City. Educational leaders from 18 states and 10 universities worked collaboratively to share ideas, challenges and success stories. The USDOE Deputy Secretary of Education, Frank Brogan provided remarks regarding the importance of educational leadership. One of my favorites sessions was when participants registered in advance to attend a session on a particular topic of interest. I facilitated a session on the topic of trauma informed leadership. This was such an informative session and I learned so much about what university faculty are doing in prepare principals for leadership in schools where trauma may include of such things as weather related tragedy, gun violence, and social and emotional trauma. It is important for school district leaders and university faculty to collaborate as we find solutions to the problems that interfere with student learning. My attendance at this meeting provided me with lots to think and dream about as I rode the train home to Delaware. I have been sharing the ideas I learned with the DASL team and Delaware school leaders. It is so important to step outside your district and state and explore, dream and discover new ideas and possible solutions to school improvement.
I love attending meetings in NYC. The meetings are held at Baruch College which is a great location with space for large and small group meetings. On the night before our meeting I have the privilege of taking the NCState University team out for dinner. This time we went to dinner at the Wilson—and no I did not pick the restaurant. I must say the food was delicious. They actually had a Jackie Wilson sandwich and a Mr. Wilson dessert. What a nice surprise!