I am trying to form the words but I am struggling. It may be exhaustion that prevents me from articulating the past week. Or, it could be the tears of gratitude that keep coming to my eyes when I reflect on my trip to the West Coast. I write these first few paragraphs as I sit in the airport in LA, so ready to head home to my family yet so grateful for the rejuvenation, the connections, and the learning that took place over the past week.
The two words that continue to pop into my head are thank you. Thank you to my wonderful group of Michigan educational leaders who feel like family. Thank you to principals who not only strive to provide amazing things for their students and staff and who seek to continuously improve, but who are also willing to share their heart with all of us. Whether you were a keynote presenter or someone I was able to chat with for just a minute, you make a difference and I am so grateful for you.
When I learned that I was invited to attend NAESP’s National Conference in Spokane, WA with my MEMSPA colleagues, I was elated. When I learned that I was going to present three times at the conference, I was also elated but scared to death. I never presented at a national conference before and as I prepared, I vacillated between excitement and trepidation. Who was I to stand alongside the amazing presenters at NAESP? Yet, I love sharing ideas and helping us all think in a different way.
Before I even got to my hotel in Spokane, I ran into several principals I had met once before and running into them in the airport felt like meeting up with old friends. I immediately felt comfortable and connected, and the connections only grew from there. After spending my first ten years as a principal disconnected from anyone outside my building, I feel tremendous JOY being connected to outstanding principals across my state, across the country, and across the world.
Brad Gustafson’s presentation about slaying reading logs, Kwame Alexander’s moving keynote about the power of words, and every session and keynote in between filled my notebook with ideas I am excited to share with the staff at Quincy Elementary. The connections I was able to make or strengthen with amazing leaders filled my soul. I am already pumped for next year’s conference in Louisville, Kentucky. I have visions of road-tripping it with the principals from my district because I know they will love the national conference. You will too, so please join us next year!
So, you might be wondering, how did my sessions go? I was able to push my trepidation aside and love every minute of each presentation. And, I am crossing my fingers that the amazing leaders who gave me an hour of their time felt the same way. Can’t wait to do it again!