Year in Review
December is often a time of reflection for many of us as we evaluate our accomplishments during the prior twelve months in order to look forward and establish goals for the New Year. I began this December by focusing on the NJASA Mission Statement: “The mission of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, the unifying professional association of school leaders, is to ensure a superior statewide system of education by influencing and effecting educational policy, regulations and legislation; and by maximizing the capacity and effectiveness of school leaders through professional development programs and support services.” and how our efforts contributed to its fulfillment. The mission and the NJASA Vision 2020 for New Jersey Education guide the efforts of the Executive Committee in defining our goals and directing the work of the NJASA staff.
The mission component of “…maximizing the capacity and effectiveness of school leaders through professional development programs and services” is at the heart of the primary work of the organization. Under the auspices of the NJASA Education and Research Foundation traditional offerings such as the One Day Seminar program, TECHSPO, Fall Workshop, and Spring Leadership Conference were complemented by the NJASA Legal Series, the Superintendent Institute, and a growing Women’s Leadership initiative culminating in the 4th Annual NJASA/AASA/NJPSA Women’s Leadership Conference.
We successfully implemented the second year of programming for the New Jersey Consortia for Excellence through Equity, offering professional development in each of the state’s three regions. Collaboration with the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association saw enhancements, program schedule reorganization, location expansion, and increased participation in the New Jersey Leadership Academy and use of the PSEL Reflection and Growth tool. Representatives of our two organizations produced “white paper” reports addressing educator evaluation and high school graduation which were provided to Governor Phil Murphy and his Education, Access, and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee.
The effective work of our members was exemplified through the selection of Charles Sampson as the Regional Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Kathleen Taylor as New Jersey Superintendent of the Year, and Patrick Fletcher as an NJASA Distinguished Educator. NJASA members worked cooperatively with NJSBA representatives to develop and provide a revised evaluation protocol which was rolled out in time for use for the 2018 final evaluation. The NJASA School Administrator Residency Program continued to evolve and expand for the 2018-2019 school year based upon the prior year’s programming and feedback. At the time of this writing, more than 110 participants are experiencing this enhanced training leading to the award of the School Administrator endorsement.
NJASA participated with several groups advocating for public education. These included Leadership for Educational Excellence and the Garden State Alliance for Strengthening Education. The NJASA legal staff represented member interests throughout the year and provided an Amicus Curiae brief cited in the Superior Court Appellate Panel decision reversing the initial decision in the Kean Federation of Teachers v. Kean University lawsuit about issuance of "Rice" notices that affected all New Jersey school districts. Recently, the NJASA Legal Department organized more than 2,500 pages of studies, reports and position papers about school consolidation and regionalization, making them available to members through the password protected NJASA website.
The work of the NJASA committees this past year has been impressive, both in the commitment of members and the positive work that they have contributed. These committees not only focus on the enhancement of member competencies but also meet the mission goal of "effecting educational policy, regulations and legislation" by meeting with state officials and legislators and providing input to policy and legislative proposals.”
Thanks to the leaders and members of the committees for all the work they do on behalf of the membership:
Curriculum & Instruction
Small Schools/Shared Services
Spring Leadership Conference
Presently, the Association also has more than a dozen representatives serving on numerous NJDOE advisory groups, committees and taskforces. If you would like to serve in the future, please email me your contact information and your topics of interest and expertise.
What is ahead for the New Year? We look forward to:
- working with our NJPSA colleagues to revise and upgrade the NJASA Vision 2020 for Public Education to create a joint vision document;
- expanding the work of the Association and districts in enhancing equity for communities, students, members and leaders through the NJASA 4 Equity initiative;
- offering additional professional development offerings and conferences through the NJASA Foundation;
- advocating on behalf of NJASA members and their constituents; and
- expanding outreach to post-secondary organizations; and
- supporting minority and women leaders.
I encourage all school leaders to make a 2019 resolution to include being an active member of NJASA and county affiliates; expanding professional knowledge and skills by attending NJASA programs and conferences; and volunteering as a committee member on the county affiliate and state levels. I know that you appreciate the value of communication with colleagues, developing camaraderie and sharing experiences and information. Make it a priority for your work throughout the year. You will be rejuvenated by your association with colleagues and gain perspectives different than your own which can impact your success.
When we work together, we gain recognition for being a member of a high-quality organization serving leaders who impact the lives of New Jersey children. All the best for the holidays and the New Year!