Over the course of the time that I have been here in Douglas as superintendent, I have attended several conferences. The majority of the ones I have attended have to do with school law, Governing Board protocols, and mandates.
My job description is all-encompassing. However, first and foremost, it is as the instructional leader of the district. A typical day in my life is very busy with many diverse issues, most of which aren't curriculum related. However, teaching and learning is what we are all about.
I had the opportunity to attend the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development international conference in Chicago last week. I am not sure how many people were in attendance, but I am thinking it was in the thousands. So many respected voices in education today were there doing workshops, keynote speeches, etc. I attended an all day session on academic coaching, which was excellent.
On Saturday my hero, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, was one of the invited speakers. We had talked earlier and I was able to get to her session a little early so we could visit. Consuelo spoke to a packed room with probably 1000 people in attendance. I have heard her speak so many times now, but I can honestly say that I could listen to her every day. Her message is so powerful!! In the middle of her talk, she asked me to come up and introduced me to the audience. She asked me to speak of what we are doing in Douglas with our Family program that is part of her company--The Family Leadership Institute. I was touched and honored to be able to do this. I truly believe that this program is powerful and I believe that it will make a long term difference in our community over the years. I feel privileged to be a part of it and to call Consuelo my friend. She is AMAZING!
The keynote speaker on Sunday was Maya Angelo. The room she presented in was HUGE and you could hardly see her. They placed television screens all around so that she could be seen. Her message was inspiring and very supportive of educators.
On Monday, another invited guest speaker was Tim Shriver. I was so excited to get to see and listen to him speak about The Special Olympics that his mother, Eunice Shriver, started. He also spoke about teaching values and compassion to our children, not just reading, writing and math. I was disappointed that not many people attended that session. Tim was great and so personable. They had a presentation from a group of high school students and Tim was up dancing with them. He is a genuine person who truly believes in what the Kennedy family has always stressed--the importance of giving back. I wish more educators could have heard his message.
It was a great conference and I am glad I went. It reinforced to me that we are doing a lot of things right and it rejuvenated me in many ways.
Chicago was cold and I am not a cold weather person. It was nice to get away for a few days, even though I was "learning" most of the time I was there!