On behalf of the AASA, let me congratulate Deb
Kerr, who was sworn in earlier this month in Washington, D.C. as the 2019-20
president of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. A bona fide champion
for children, the superintendent of The School District of Brown Deer in Brown
Deer, Wis., brings a special dedication and commitment to her new role.
The first female superintendent to serve in
that role at Brown Deer Schools, her district lies in the suburbs of Milwaukee
with more than 1,600 students. Three out of every four are students of color and
nearly half are living in poverty.
By Daniel A. Domenech/School Administrator, June 2019
I RECENTLY HAD the opportunity to travel to Warsaw, Poland, where I gave a presentation titled “It’s Just Not About a College Degree” at the Council of Eastern European Schools Association. This is hardly a revolutionary idea to our colleagues abroad where apprenticeship programs have flourished for hundreds of years and where typically, from the 6th grade on, students either enter the “gymnasium,” or academic program, or follow a vocational track.
Those students on the academic track are the ones who in all probability will attend and graduate from a university while the students on the vocational track will learn a skill in an apprenticeship program coupled with schoolwork that will lead to certification and employment in a trade.
By Daniel A. Domenech/School Administrator, April 2019
CUMBERLAND COUNTY IN North Carolina is a suburban school district with high poverty near Fort Bragg, a military installation with more than 50,000 active duty personnel.
Last year, the area was devastated by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The destructive storms left many students homeless with thousands of houses damaged or destroyed. In the aftermath, Superintendent Marvin Connelly wrote me to thank AASA for its financial support that helped students and their families. He described a family that had been homeless for several years due to Hurricane Matthew. Then Hurricane Florence flooded the temporary facility they were occupying, forcing the mother and two daughters to live out of a van. The mother used funds from AASA to repair her car, buy food and purchase clothing for her daughters.
Off in the distance from our
hotel, one could spot the infamous Hollywood sign perched on the Santa Monica
Mountains. They say Hollywood is where the stars are. As far as I was concerned,
the only stars that mattered were the 2,000 superintendents and other
administrators who joined us in the City of Angels to celebrate excellence in
school system leadership.
By Daniel A. Domenech/School Administrator, February 2019
THOUSANDS OF SCHOOL superintendents will convene this month in Los Angeles to attend AASA’s National Conference on Education. The attendees will be exposed to more than 100 sessions focusing on topics relevant to their work as the educational leaders of their communities.
The General Sessions will include a discussion I will have with former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. Always a popular presenter at our national conference, Bill Daggett will share his latest research on innovative practices, while former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott will deliver an excellent talk on how he overcame having one hand yet still pitched a no-hitter with the New York Yankees. It’s a gripping story relevant to the bullying and adversity that students with disabilities face.
By Daniel A. Domenech/School Administrator, January 2019
FOR MANY YEARS, AASA has conducted its international seminar to provide our members with the opportunity to see education up close and personal in countries across the world. I first participated in the seminar in 1998, the year that I was president of AASA, when we went to Cuba. Traveling to Cuba then was quite different than traveling there now, but our group still had an amazing experience.
Since becoming AASA executive director 10 years ago, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively with our members. This past October, the international seminar took the group to Ecuador, with a side visit to the Galapagos Islands. Compulsory education there begins at age 6, although pre-school and infant care programs are available in select private and public schools. The secondary program goes from ages 12 to 18 and encompasses the equivalent of our middle school and high school.
By Daniel A. Domenech/School Administrator, December 2018
MY PARENTS WERE proud of me when I became a teacher and then moved into administration. They were aware I was in a Ph.D. program that would lead to further advancement.
When I called my mother to proudly inform her that I had been appointed superintendent of the Deer Park School District in New York, I heard a deafening silence at the other end. I asked her if she had heard me, and she finally replied, with an edge to her voice, “Son, after all of these years of study, you have accepted a job as a superintendent?”
As families coast to coast are celebrating this blessed Thanksgiving holiday, I am so proud of the more than 13,000 school district leaders who are working diligently to enhance the lives of our young learners.
Thank you for the powerful contributions you are creating and providing on behalf of the future leaders of society.
Thank you for serving as a voice for our public schools, the real lifeblood of our democracy.
This year’s AASA International Seminar took our group of superintendents to Ecuador. This was not our first journey to South America and we found education in Ecuador to be very similar to what we have seen in Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Chile.
AASA President Chris Gaines and Executive Director Dan Domenech with children from the Milenio School in Guano, Ecuador.
Like their neighbors, Ecuador’s public schools serve primarily the poor while the middle class and up tend to send their children to private schools. We visited two such schools, the American International School in Quito and the Vigotsky School in Riobamba.
The International school is truly a model of outstanding education. Catering to the children of American diplomats and those that can afford the $18,000 per-year tuition, the school offers programs to infants through high school. We were very impressed by the college-like campus and the quality of the teachers and administrators.
Today, we began our school visits at the Unidad Educativa del Milenio GUANO, a Pre-K to high school, housed in a four-and-a-half year-old government-built facility. The school has an enrollment of 630 students who previously attended seven different smaller schools now consolidated into one new building.
The children attend school from September 4 through July 10 and live in the area of Guano. Some children are bused to school.
As superintendents from across the U.S., we appreciate the opportunity to see the value placed on education in other countries. Clearly, other countries often aspire to provide a mandatory education for all, as we do.