Intern View: Making Virtual Connections

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Intern View: Making Virtual Connections

By: Kennedy Miller, student at the University of Maryland, print and digital publications intern at AASA

During my second week as an intern at AASA, I had the opportunity to meet multiple staff members over Zoom. In a virtual working environment, it’s nice to be able to put a face to a name and understand each department’s role.   

I started my week by attending a meeting with AASA’s marketing and communications team. Jimmy Minichello, director of communications and public relations described the “Marcomm” team, comprised of marketing and communication staff members, as the “Grand Central Station” of AASA.   

The staff acts as the core, central team to provide support to all departments at AASA. The team comes together every few weeks to discuss how to communicate AASA’s resources and messages to the public. Although each team member has a different role and background, they each seem to wear many hats and collaborate on many different functions. 

I also met with Minichello one-on-one. In our meeting, we discussed his responsibilities, which range from writing press releases and producing videos to managing social media and taking photographs. He offered amazing insight into the company and his career. He showed me interview videos he conducted with superintendents at AASA's IDEAL Cohort's in-person meeting in Glendale, AZ. I hope to be able to produce similar videos when I attend the Learning 2025 National Summit in late June. 

 

  Learning 2025 summit

 

I also met with Kayla Jackson, AASA project director. Jackson leads many important projects and programs that impact students. One of the programs, the Alternative School Breakfast Initiative, has made a monumental impact on students’ health, happiness and success at school. We all have heard about the importance of eating a good breakfast (growing up, my mom always said I needed “brain food”). Yet, many students skip the most important meal of the day. This program ensures that students have access to a good meal before school.   

Later in the week, I had a meeting with Valerie Truesdale, assistant executive director. Truesdale leads and manages Leadership Network programs and other services of the association. Last week, I sat in on a webinar she moderated, called Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters. As a former superintendent herself, Truesdale offered interesting insight and a different perspective into the public education system and how AASA’s work impacts superintendents.  

It was evident that Truesdale, like all AASA staff members, is immensely passionate and proud of the work she does. In all my meetings this week, this was a common theme. AASA staff members believe in the organization’s cause and will work tirelessly to support superintendents and students in public education. As the daughter of a kindergarten teacher, I know school leaders play a large role in the development of our society and I believe they deserve more credit than what is often received. I’m pleased to be a part of AASA and support its mission.  

First Impressions: An Intern's First Week at AASA

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First Impressions: An Intern's First Week at AASA

By: Kennedy Miller, student at the University of Maryland, print and digital publications intern at AASA

Kennedy Miller Profile I began at AASA as the print and digital publications summer intern this past week. As a journalism and marketing double major, this position aligned perfectly with my goals and interests. In my first few days on the job, I put my skills to work creating graphics for social media platforms and updating webpages using a content management system. The latter was a process I was unfamiliar with, yet quickly learned with the help and mentoring of Gayane Minasyan, AASA online technologies director. However, the scope of what I learned during my first week surpassed my expectations.

Like most incoming interns, I did my research on the organization prior to my first day. I familiarized myself with the website, read the mission statement, and skimmed over recent headlines and news. I understood that AASA supports superintendents and school leaders across the nation and dedicates itself to providing the highest quality public education for all students. Yet I’ll admit, I didn’t grasp the significance of AASA until I immersed myself in webinars, toolkits and recent reports. 

Developing Effective Principals webinar (blog-with text)2  

superintendent salary report screenshot 2  

 

vaccine toolkit graphic (blog-with caption)2  

I often thought of superintendents as the highest position in education. Growing up in the K-12 public education system, superintendents had all the answers. I recognize now that education spans far beyond the classrooms and hallways of schools. Learning is a lifelong process, not only for superintendents, but for working professionals as well. We all have room to grow, areas to develop, opportunities to change and chances to become leaders. As a young professional entering the working world, I know I have areas to improve and room to develop, and I value being a part of an organization that fosters the concept of lifelong learning. 

While I appreciate learning design principles and new technological systems during my first week, I’m most grateful for the passionate professionals at AASA who proudly taught me the importance of their organization. For every social media post I make or website I edit, I’ll understand the magnitude of the messages, the impact of the work and the overall goals of AASA.