Sunday, February 28, 2016

The #NASSP16 Experience. 5 Essentials for Leaders

The NASSP Ignite 16' Conference has come to an end. With that, there are takeaways that will go with each of us as we resume our roles over the next day. For me, conferences such as these are an opportunity to grow in my teaching and learning. In fact, I am better because I was there.

As I prepared to head home I decided to take a moment and jot down a few of my takeaways, my essentials, for leaders from Ignite 16'. Feel free to share your takeaways in the comment section below.

Be Connected. Having the platforms that we do through social media the conversations in education began long before I arrived and will continue well after I leave. Using Twitter to learn and grow from my fellow global educators has made me better. Having the opportunity to learn side-by-side has been invaluable and reinforces my desire to be connected.

Keep the Conversations Going. I have worked hand-in-hand with Jennifer Hogan on countless projects for over two years. We started The Compelled Tribe which is a group of bloggers who write and share their reflections each month. The work has been awesome. Well, we finally exchanged our first handshake and a hug Thursday morning. From there we went on to present for two days to our colleagues. Our encounter was priceless and had a feel as if we had met in person hundreds of times before. We were inseparable for the entire conference. For her and I to sit together and share what is typically in a tweet, through Voxer or through Google, only reinforced our passion for teaching and learning and how we support each other.

Share Your Voice. Whether a formal presenter or simply someone who has paid their registration, everyone attending Ignite 16' has had an opportunity to share their knowledge and their leadership. Ask questions, engage with others, stay after a presentation and dig deeper with a topic/presenter with whom you listened. This allows us to process what we've heard and share our voice with passion.

Push Yourself. Whether you have traveled 50 miles or 500 miles to get to Ignite 16', hopefully you found a session that challenged you in your thinking and in your leading. The amount of educational talent (you included) at this conference is what will drive us to do what is best for kids and for our teachers and our communities as we head back. Learn from all of it. Meet new people, connect with more and grind through the long days of learning.

Apply it. (But don't overwhelm your staff.) If you have invested the time to listen, learn and absorb the content, then make it applicable where you work. Make sure to think through what you have heard and see what works in your current role. At the same time, don't just implement to implement. Remember your schools vision, your direction and your goals. Be creative in how you can apply what you learned.

I appreciated my time at NASSP's Ignite 16'. I am a better leader tomorrow for what I have learned today. Thank you fellow educators from near and far for embracing my perspectives in education. I look forward to Philly in 2017!


  1. Craig,
    It sounds like it was a fantastic conference and it's awesome that you and Jennifer got to meet in person. It's amazing to me how "connected" I feel to educators like you and Jennifer when we have not met "yet" in person. Keep up the great work and I'm looking forward to learning from you and with you as we continue with the Compelled Tribe!

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