From professional learning offered in the summer and at annual conferences and throughout the year, I was able to build my toolbox as a principal with best practice skills and strategies. The opportunity to network and call on others who served in isolation like me, to think through decisions to be made, difficult conversations to be held, and just know that they “get it” was invaluable.
As a major advocate for educators across our state, the MEMSPA organization has remained a steady voice of reason despite the cacophony of voices who believe they know what is best for kids and schools and those who lead them. Valuable information on legislative information and rule changes shared on a weekly basis, kept me informed and knowledgeable about what I needed to be doing at my school and in my district.
I owe gratitude to my own mentor Dr. Nancy Colflesh who started a learning series in 1999 at the “old” MEMSPA office on Service Rd. on best practices of exemplary leaders. I remember watching her facilitate a session and think to myself, “Hmmm. That’s what I am supposed to be doing with my adult learners!” I “harvested” every trick of the trade, every skill and strategy she taught and applied it back at my school. I learned to teach them to others to build shared leadership and now it is my turn to teach those who are practicing and aspiring principals!
How blessed I am to be co-facilitating the Leadership Matters course for principals that Nancy and my friend Dr. Debbie McFalone co-wrote. Debbie and I just graduated Cohort 8 this last month! I have had the privilege of co-facilitating three cohorts with Debbie and look forward to welcoming Cohort 9 who is so, so fine in January! Almost 200 principals in our state have participated in Leadership Matters! Will you help us make it 225? You can register here: Leadership Matters Cohort 9
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our Executive Director, Paul Liabenow. Paul is a well revered state organization director in our state and across the nation. When I work with other organizations and facilitate learning, it is with pride that I mention I represent MEMSPA! Paul always says he is “living the dream!” But, I know the amount of time and tireless hours he spends to support and be an advocate for all of us as members. His passion, dedication, and servant-hearted leadership is exemplary and is aspirational.
Finally, for every great leader, there must be those who complement and strengthen an organization through exemplary organizational and management skills. Doni St. Amour has brought an excitement and enthusiasm to the organization and has provided an opportunity to envision what we can be. Taryn Hurley ensures that all of our professional learning is scheduled, organized and of the highest quality(I am not doing justice to everything that Taryn does.) Annette Erickson who has worked at MEMSPA for over 30 years(she started when she was still in High School, I think!) provides the gift of stability, wisdom, and history that keeps an organization grounded and stable. She is the gift that keeps on giving! Thank you to this talented team!
I am no longer a practicing principal, but I get to learn with and from innovative and talented principals who serve our organization by leading sessions at our annual conference, serving as a President, committee chair, on the Board of Directors or as Region Presidents, providing professional learning by moderating #MEMSPA chats, and for the first time at our annual conference Spotlight on Innovation! I am grateful for and thank all of you who passionately lead schools across this great state. It is with pride that I know the MEMSPA organization will lead on in the future with our current membership of leading learners!
So we are an organization of about 1,100 members. How many elementary and middle school principals serve our state do you think? If we include ALL public, private and charter K-8 schools than there are about 3000 potential MEMSPA members. My relationship with this organization started with a phone call invite. Who will you invite to become a member and share in all that MEMSPA has to offer?