Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Executive Director Bertrand addresses IASA in Springfield

The closing general session of the IASA Annual Conference
featured remarks by IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.
The 2018 IASA Annual Conference in Springfield brought together 500-plus leaders for education, motivation, and conversation.

After preconference events that included a Celebrating Women in Leadership event, IASA’s opening keynote speaker, Rick Rigsby, President and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications, offered insights on leadership and learning.

"The greatest lessons are never learned on the mountaintop,” Rigsby said. “They are formed and forged in the midst of pain. Great people are always learning. They don't have it figured out.”

Sheila Harrison-Williams, IASA president, lauded the women in leadership conference, and spoke about her role as president. "Together, we are advocates for all public-school children within the state of Illinois...no matter what race or what gender, what zip code or special needs," Harrison-Williams said.

Breakout sessions included a wide range of topics relating to curriculum, equity, new superintendents, ESSA and the changes it has wrought, student readiness, trauma-sensitivity, and school safety.

The event’s lively and engaging “Ignite” session covered standards-based grading, facility design, telling the district’s story, strategic planning, communications, and more. Included in the lightning-round-style session was Tad Everett, superintendent of Sterling CUSD5, who spoke on managing mistakes in the “failure framework,” saying “You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.”

IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand, the immediate past president of IASA, noted during the closing session that the energy at the conference and the tone of the conversations improves when funding issues no longer supersede all others.

Also in the finale, Tony Smith, Illinois superintendent of education, spoke on hope, noting “We know more now than we’ve ever known about what kids need. There’s a ton of research on hope. Do not stop kids from hope. Also in the final session, former UCLA softball coach, NCAA champion and motivational speaker Sue Enquist offered advice on dealing with regrets, challenging your inner voice, and accepting the obligation to think, speak, and act in a positive manner.

The IASA Annual Conference returns to Springfield in September 2019.