From the President: The Opportunity to Make a Difference

July 13, 2017

For the past seven years, I’ve had an opportunity to serve on the ACSA Board and have looked forward to this year as president with a sense of optimism and energized passion for our work in public education.

Starting this fall, we’ll embark on a Strategic Planning process, having spent the past four years implementing the one begun in 2013. We expect many avenues for our members to weigh in and serve on committees to ensure we have your voices and needs represented in our work.

For this new year, we will challenge our regions to access the technology that ACSA has available to reach more members and potential members, especially those of you who are geographically challenged based on location or traffic. Kudos to Region 11 who brought up this issue at their planning event in May enabling its leaders to see an opportunity and way to think differently about technology and communication.

One of my goals for this year is to be a champion for our mentoring pro-gram and the support we can give to new leaders in our ranks. But mentor-ing starts way before that – encouraging neighbors to become classified staff, classified staff to enter credential programs, teachers to become teacher leaders and principals, principals to become directors, and so on.

Most importantly, we need to not lose sight of the students.

I harken back to a student who I had in my eighth grade math and science block, when I started my teaching career. Kristina arrived as a newcomer from the Philippines. Back then, her heavy accent and shy personality didn’t bode well for her scheduled classes. I quickly realized she was much stronger than her initial assessments demonstrated, and I pushed her into courses that matched her skills. Her family was quietly grateful, always responding that “as the teach-er, you know what’s best.” It was the type of comment that made me want to work harder to meet the needs of the Kristina’s in our schools – because parents like hers put their trust in me as an educator.

Two years ago, Kristina tracked me down on Facebook. She graduated with straight A’s from UC Berkeley in structural engineering. She took the time to let me know of the difference I had made in her life. There are so many Kristina’s, the students who need our support, our “out of the box thinking,” our passion for doing right by kids. This continues to renew my belief that I’m here for the right reasons, that we have so many opportunities to impact the lives of the Kristina’s out there.

As I travel around the state, I always embrace the opportunity to thank local leaders for their commitment to serve ACSA and our state’s 6.2 million public school students. Each and every day we have amazing opportunities to make a difference in the lives of students and the adults who support them. Have a great July!

Lisa Gonzales, ACSA President

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