Ready for the next 150 Years

t’s been a little over a week since the conclusion of our National Conference on Education in San Diego. Based on positive news clips that keep coming in plus conversations about the conference through social media among our members, I’m pleased to see there is no sign of a let up in the positive momentum generated by AASA’s 150th anniversary celebration.

My time spent with superintendents during our meeting gave me perspective which supports our work as the premier organization for public school system leaders—enough to make our founding fathers proud.

For generations, AASA has been bringing together some of the sharpest minds in education at our conferences. And today, we’re working harder than ever on behalf of our superintendents in an effort to help them thrive on the job—and create enriching and robust programs that will lead to cutting-edge learning opportunities for the students they serve.

During our opening general session, it was an honor to congratulate Philip Lanoue, superintendent of Georgia’s Clarke County Schools, who was named AASA’s 2015 National Superintendent of the Year. It was equally gratifying to congratulate all of our State Superintendents of the Year. I look forward to our Superintendent of the Year Forum. This fall, these stellar educators will join us in Washington, D.C., to discuss the most critical issues in public education.

We were proud to present my friend, former U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley, with our Champion for Children and Public Education Award. Throughout his illustrious career, Secretary Riley has demonstrated distinguished leadership, a passion for excellence in education and a commitment to our young people. I consider him to be one of public education’s best friends.

During our conference, we announced the launch of our Urban Superintendents Academy, a cross-institutional partnership with Howard University that will offer a dynamic new approach to urban superintendent preparation and certification. The uniqueness of this new program is that it will offer opportunities for educational leaders to become involved in a network of support, mentoring, and professional development related to the challenges and opportunities facing the 21st century urban leader. We thank Leslie Fenwick, Dean of Howard University’s School of Education, for her vision and support of this partnership.

We also recognized the first cohort of superintendents who graduated from our National Superintendent Certification program. Throughout our conference, we heard firsthand the tremendous enthusiasm that these individuals shared about taking this big step forward in their careers.

As I was sitting at the San Diego airport waiting for my flight home, two thoughts came to mind. First, San Diego was a beautiful place to celebrate such a significant organization milestone. Second, when we convene America’s superintendents and school leaders to address common challenges to strengthen public education, we help empower children across the country—and uphold our promise of a brighter future through a world-class education for all. Through a variety of programs administered by AASA and our partners, we are doing just that.

I commend the superintendents, other administrators and exhibitors who joined us in San Diego for the 2015 National Conference on Education and the celebration of our 150th anniversary. I can’t wait for our 2016 national conference. See you in Phoenix!

For more information about the AASA’s 2015 National Conference on Education, visit Conference Daily Online.