Network News: Vol 2 | AASA Central
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Network News: Vol 2

Network-News-Sept2019 (copy)

Dear Gayane,


A Great Superintendent Is a Great Teacher!


Welcome to the second edition of Network News, a newsletter produced by the AASA Leadership Network. We are deeply grateful for the wonderful reactions we have had from our members in response to our first newsletter. Our goal is to ensure that superintendents and their leadership staff are kept up to date about our collaborative work in promoting effective leadership to reinforce education that addresses the Whole Child, including every student’s academic, social-emotional, and physical development, overall achievement, and well-being.


This issue focuses on the theme of great educational leaders being first and foremost great teachers. As you will see in our updates about many of our leadership programs and in the reflections of participants involved with those cohorts, our faculty comprises outstanding superintendents from throughout the United States. We firmly believe that a great superintendent is always a great teacher, sharing insights, experiences, and wisdom accumulated from leading a school system during the exciting, challenging, and constantly changing world of 21st century education.


As many of my friends and colleagues will attest, I have a deep love of philosophy and a desire to consume the wisdom shared by leaders throughout the centuries. In that spirit, I’d like to share two quotes from widely divergent sources, each of which reinforces the central theme of this issue:

  • If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. (President John Quincy Adams)
  • Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. (President John Quincy Adams)

The faculty members featured in this addition powerfully live up to Adams’ and Welch’s assertions about great leaders. Without question, their actions inspire other just as their success lies in their deep commitment to growing others. Each of them is also deeply dedicated to ensuring that the wisdom they have acquired helps other educators and students to “dream more, learn more, do more, and come more.” Thanks to each of these contributors—and to each of you for the outstanding work you are doing with students and staff throughout our country.




Mort Sherman, Ed.D. 

Associate Executive Director, Leadership Network 

AASA, The School Superintendents Association 

Office: 703-875-0726 

Cell: 571-429-1204

Premier Professional Learning for Educational Leaders

Volume 1, Edition 2


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 “Our goal is to bottle the spirit of collegiality, professionalism, support, caring, friendship, growth, and reflection that are pervasive in every cohort, academy, and thought leader group in the AASA Leadership Network…”
Mort Sherman, Associate Executive Director, Leadership Network

In this Issue


Superintendents Teaching and Mentoring in a
Program for Superintendents and Led by Superintendents:
An Update on the AASA National Superintendent
Certification Program®

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The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® is a dynamic, interactive professional development program held over a 20-month time-period and geared toward preparing new and emerging superintendents for this challenging and rewarding leadership role. The program is currently in its fifth year as a premier professional learning experience for superintendents. It was designed by superintendents and is led by superintendents with all participants assigned a seasoned superintendent as a mentor. With experienced Lead Teachers including Susan Enfield, Steve Murley, and Aaron Spence with Amy Sichel as the Lead Superintendent, the team of leaders for the program is very strong. The mentors are all superintendents who are or were extremely successful in their role as school superintendent.



Reflections from AASA Faculty Members

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Follow along as we hear reflactions from Amy Sichel, AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®, Steve Murley, Superintendent, Iowa City Community School District,
AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®, and Aaron Spence, Superintendent of Schools, Virginia Beach, Virginia
AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®



Beginning the Journey

New Developments in the AASA
Aspiring Superintendents Academy


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AASA has had a very successful Aspiring Superintendents Academy for many years. With Dr. Dave Schuler as lead Superintendent, this academy helps to prepare leaders for their future career pathways by teaching content based on national standards as well as exploring problems of practice that they may encounter in their leadership journeys. A few years ago, the AASA Leadership Network added an Aspiring Superintendent Academy using a blended model, providing some sessions face-to-face and some in a virtual format.

Personalized Learning as an Emerging National Priority

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Fernando Benavides is currently the director of secondary human resources, the Mansfield Independent School District, in Texas, serving a student population of 32,500. Fernando tells us: “I have been a public-school educator for over 24 years and a principal at the secondary level for 11 years in my previous district. I was looking for an opportunity to learn and grow as a leader and wasn’t sure about my next career decision or direction. I was encouraged to join AASA and the Aspiring Superintendents Academy by a colleague who had previously attended the program.”

The Digital Consortium:
Reinforcing the Power of Blended Learning

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Now in its 5th year, the Digital Consortium visited this summer the Wilson County Schools (led by Superintendent Donna Wright) near Nashville, Tennessee. Wilson County is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, and we were able to learn about the new schools they are building, and the high-level technology involved with teaching and learning as well as student safety. We also visited the world famous Wild Horse Saloon.

Debbie Magee, Program Manager (AASA) and
Active Member of the Digital Consortium

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My journey with the Digital Consortium began the summer of 2017, although the group launched in 2014. As I reflect on my journey from the perspective as an AASA staff member and as a parent to four students traveling on their educational journey, I am excited and impressed with the vision, the dedication, and collaboration involved to accomplish the work in which members of the cohort are engaged. I am continually impressed and inspired by the passion shared by our host district superintendents as they tell their story and share the work that their staff, students, board and community members have completed or are currently working on.

AASA Leadership Network Partnerships:
Unpacking the Power of Cross-Institutional Collaboration

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We thought this newsletter offered a powerful opportunity to update our readers on the amazing range of cross-institutional partnerships currently underway. As you will see, this rich set of collaborations reinforces AASA and the Leadership Network as a catalyst for ensuring that our members access the very latest in educational trends and the leaders in our field responsible for transforming education as we know it.

Getting Involved: 
An Invitation from Mort Sherman

Our purpose is to serve as a personalized professional learning continuum to meet superintendents and other educational leaders’ needs at their point of need via job-embedded programs throughout their careers as well as opportunities to connect with peers and mentors as they progress in their field. We provide real-world certification, in-depth professional learning, critical friendships and mentors, research, resources, and models for leading-edge methodologies and technologies.
There are six pathways you might consider as part of your development journey with AASA:

  1. Join

    If you are not already a member of AASA, you can join directly at

  2. Prepare

    If you are an aspiring administrator actively pursuing your first—or next—post as a superintendent or other district leader, consider joining our Aspiring Superintendents Academy, our Collaborative Regional Aspiring Superintendents Academies, or our National Aspiring Principal Academy.

  3. Certify

    AASA’s Leadership Network “CERTIFY” program represents the nation’s only on-the-job preparation for early-career chief executives backed by the nation’s largest, most diverse network of superintendents. Programs include our National Superintendent Certification Program® and our Urban Superintendents Academy.

  4. Learn

    The Leadership Network represents a large array of targeted collaborative and professional learning opportunities to deepen your understanding of key topics, issues, and processes required of superintendents today. Consider joining one or more of the following: Women’s Leadership Collaborative, National Women’s Leadership Collaborative, Women in School Leadership, National Principal Supervisory Academy, Leadership Academy, or our Social and Emotional Learning Cohort.

  5. Innovate

    Our network facilitates programs that actively innovate in public school classrooms, making a direct impact on districts. They combine promising practices with gatherings of like-minded educational leaders. You may wish to become a part of one or more of the following: Redefining Ready!, Early Learning Cohort, STEM Leadership Consortia, Digital Learning Consortium, Personalized Learning Cohort, and our Collaborative Innovative Networks.

  6. Collaborate

    We encourage our members to share their knowledge, expertise, and professional experiences with other members of our profession. Our “COLLABORATE” programs and services help to meet your critical needs, drive change and innovation, produced published research, and better meet student needs. Please consider sharing your expertise via one or more of the following avenues: Become a mentor, develop a custom initiative, form partnerships, and/or mentorships.

If you’d need more information about how to engage with AASA’s Leadership Network, please click here.



Networking takes a variety of forms. These days, electronic networks offer an amazing range of resources and connections for AASA members. For example, many of our members blog regularly as a way of staying connected with their district, school, and professional communities. If you go online to our AASA website, you will find a detailed directory to the blogs currently being kept by superintendents and other school leaders. If you’d like to add an AASA member’s blog to this list, please email us at .

In addition to these members’ blogs, we also invite you to visit our blog, The AASA Leadership Network Blog: Highlighting the work being done in AASA’s Leadership Network department.

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