When the MASA staff reached out to me and asked that I share my goals for MASA during my tenure as president, I was a bit taken back. Honestly, I have always felt that I am the one that gets so much from our professional organization. It seems so incredible that I have been given this opportunity and honor to serve in this very special capacity.
When it comes to my professional life, I am a student first and an educator second. Years ago, when I took my first college course or attended my first DECA meeting (yes, I was a marketing instructor) or was first given the opportunity to sit in the MASA council meetings, I knew I had found the right spot. I love being in a smart room (check your egos). Tons of conversation, based on opinion and fact, motivated by supporting others that do not have that same opportunity. Learning from all of my classmates, or fellow teachers, and now superintendent colleagues is truly inspiring and a blessing. I try my best to never lose focus on the collective effort we are trying to make in support of our love and dedication to public education. So as I took some time to reflect on what I would like to accomplish as an association, while I have the honor of serving as president, the following items presented themselves very quickly.
Support of our MASA leadership team
During any transformational time, there will be moments of great success and others of concern while we acclimate to a new regime. Couple that with the state of our world and you have a very dangerous combination of pitfalls, obstacles, and barriers. As president of MASA, it is my intent to lead in a manner that supports our MASA leaders and employees in a format that supports, guides, and offers constructive feedback, while being careful not to overstep into the realm of management or daily operations. I am so proud of this organization and our amazing strides over the past five years. While Dr. Kerr may feel as though she has very big shoes to fill, I am steadfast in my beliefs that MASA and all of our members are the fortunate ones to have such an amazing resource heading up our premier organization. Supporting our Executive Director as she navigates the educational landscape from her new position will be one of my top priorities moving forward during this school year.
Supporting the robust professional development opportunities
It goes without saying that if there is an issue in the educational world, MASA more than likely has a program, drive-in, conference, or webinar that is ready and able to support our members. What we didn’t have was the perspective of Dr. Shivers. I am so excited about where Dr. Shivers will focus our collective attention next. We all need to be better learners when it comes to equity, empathy, and understanding of the world we are engaging in daily. I feel it is not only my responsibility to support Dr. Shivers as she takes risks on behalf of the association and our members, but it is also my duty to be a better leader by learning and taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented by Dr. Shivers and her support team. We have so far to go, so much to do and an incredible amount to learn. I want to be a better educator and the opportunities that MASA will offer over the next few years will support that desire.
Lobbying in Education
If I have learned one thing by working with Peter Spadafore it’s this, he will not give up on working toward a better public education system. A system that supports all facets of the educational spectrum. Students, support staff, teacher, management, etc… Mr. Spadafore lives in a world that I have no desire to be a part of, however, he does it with grace, kindness, and transparency for all of us. There are not a lot of wins in educational lobbying. I am proud to support Peter’s efforts and I am always excited to celebrate our public school wins. I know that it’s Peter and people like him working diligently to find a way to support our students in public education on that legislative front. I will continue to support this work on behalf of the MASA because it is needed, it is important, and it makes a difference.
For all of You
Finally, I have had the best mentors, my dad, Russ, Matt, Mary Ann, Chris, I could go on and on (I try to steal a little bit of awesome from everyone I meet). As I mentioned at the beginning of this, I love a smart room. I am also keenly aware that I am not the smartest person in that room, but I am a very good listener. When I was a young teacher I also worked for an educational company called Charthouse Learning. You might know them better as “The Fish Philosophy”. One of the four pillars of the philosophy (yes there are only four… that’s why it appealed to me) is “BE THERE”. “Be there” behaviors in its simplest terms means when you are engaged in a conversation with someone, you are “all in”, completely and totally in the moment with that interaction. I only mention this because we all need thought partners, it can be a lonely job. As president of MASA and long after that tenure has expired, I am just a phone call away happy to support, engage, converse and listen.
I hope you all have a wonderful school year, embrace the positives that will happen, and find motivation and success in your work.