President's Corner                                       Page 41


Keep Up Our Good Work




 Amy Sichel

This has been an outstanding and productive year for AASA and me. It has been a year when AASA’s messages about the successes of public education have been heard and understood. It has been a year of renewed and new friendships with colleagues. Being president has provided me with opportunities to meet with many of you at conferences, events and planning sessions.

We have discussed and shared challenges, the many rewards of leading schools and helping children succeed, and the future of public education. I am in awe of the commitment you demonstrate in your journeys as superintendents. I have learned a great deal from you and cherish the time we have been able to spend together.

One of the joys of being a superintendent is seeing young people grow and succeed. During our years as superintendents, we see children begin their educational careers in kindergarten or prekindergarten, flourish in elementary schools, become young adults in middle, junior and senior high schools, triumphantly achieve postsecondary education and become productive citizens and leaders. Although it is often fraught with challenges, it is a joyful journey we lead that is unmatched by any other profession or endeavor. We form, mold and influence future generations of teachers, scientists, legislators, attorneys, healthcare professionals and more — and for that we should be exceedingly proud.

During the 2014 National Conference on Education, I spoke about STEAM — where we add an “A” for the arts to STEM. No longer are we content with the old-fashioned three R’s — reading, writing and arithmetic — of bygone eras. We need to teach and employ the latest technologies in our students’ education. We need to educate children so our young people and future leaders are adept and expert in literacy, science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics for our country to continue to be a competitive, global leader.

These technologies and teaching tools are not inexpensive. We need to ensure all schools and all children have the resources and tools needed to retain our global leadership position. We need to continue to fight for the support of public education and effective instructional materials and technologies with our federal, state and local legislators. The challenges will not go away, and neither can we in campaigning for the support necessary to educate our children successfully.

I have been fortunate to work side by side with the AASA staff, the governing board and the executive committee, first as a member, then as president-elect and president. As committed as we are to public education, the staff at AASA is committed to helping us succeed. AASA is a terrific resource and a high-class organization, one of the most professional I have had contact with during my career. I encourage you to stay involved with and support AASA. It is an investment that pays huge dividends to our careers, to the goals of public education and to our young people. Encourage other superintendents to become members and to get involved.

If I had to choose parting thoughts as president, they would follow several themes. We need to continue to be pro-active: Pro-active in promoting the successes of public education and our districts; pro-active in promoting student achievement in ways that are successful; pro-active and outspoken in what often seems like a battle regarding regulations and legislation nationally and locally; and pro-active in continuing to enhance our knowledge, share our successes and support each other in our quest.

This is my last column as your president. I appreciate the feedback many have provided and the conversations and discussions the columns have generated. It has been a true honor and pleasure to serve you who do yeomans’ work leading our country’s schools and promoting the successes of public education. Please keep in touch and know that I will be available to help, confide in and confer.

Amy Sichel is AASA president in 2013-14. E-mail: AmySichel@Abington.k12.pa.us. Twitter: @AASAPrez13A


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