Longtime Latin American educator and Senior Associate Dr. Bob Imholt attended the recent AASSA Governance Conference at the Marriott Dadeland Hotel this September 13–15th. The theme of that gathering of regional school heads and board members was Transformational Governance –From Principles to Practice. While Dr. Imholt saw many old friends and colleagues with whom he worked over his decade plus in Latin America, he was struck by the degree of transformation occurring in the region. There were certainly many familiar faces in the same schools, or in new postings, but there were also many new faces just starting in the region. And a number of new schools were in attendance—either in their infancy, looking for guidance on next steps, or established schools, yet new to AASSA.
That trend of new faces was also reflected among those in regional leadership positions. AASSA has a new Executive Director in Dr. Dereck Rhoads, who presided over the conference for the first time. Dr. Rhoads has the support of former Executive Director, Paul Poore, who is staying on for a year’s worth of transition as Deputy Director. There is also a change at the State Department: The Office of Overseas Schools has appointed a new Regional Education Officer, Dr. Robin Heslip, who was introduced to the region’s leaders. Dr. Imholt had the opportunity to discuss with all three the exciting transformation the region’s schools are undergoing to improve the quality of learning for their students.
The conference was organized around three “Deep Diving” sessions. Kevin Bartlett’s presentation, “Transforming Our Impact: Tackling the Energy Vampires!” discussed how to clear the way for high impact goal achievement by identifying and killing off “Energy Vampires” that drain our resources with little or no positive impact on learning or life at our school. Kevin worked with participants making To-Do and To-Don't lists in order to achieve high impact school transformations.
Kevin’s list of qualifications is long and impressive. Having held leadership positions in the UK, Tanzania, Namibia, Austria and Belgium, he has been deeply involved in transforming international education on a number of fronts: designing accreditation systems for the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), the Council of International Schools (CIS), and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) as well as working with a small team developing ACE, an innovative new accreditation protocol for NEASC. A member of the Founding Board of CIS, Kevin also served four years as Chairman. Currently a board member of the Academy for International School Heads (AISH), Kevin has served on numerous other boards and has been featured as a keynoter/workshop leader at multiple international and national conferences. He consults on a wide range of topics, including Leadership for Learning and Governance, frequently facilitating at schools in the process of creating or refreshing their vision and plans. Author of many articles, and trainer in the field of curriculum design and leadership for learning for the Principals' Training Center, he served as the lead trainer for the series of Experienced Principals’ Summits. Kevin has also been the recipient of numerous awards, from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) as well as The European Council of International Schools (ECIS).
Teresa Arpin, President of Transformation Systems LTD, led another Deep Diving session, Transforming Governance, focused on ensuring the longevity of a school through strong governance. Teresa contends that understanding future forecasts—advances in digital technologies, the rise of smart machines, and the decline of full-time employment—is critical to a board ensuring the future success of its school. These shifts impact the skills and dispositions students need to be successful and are redefining how educators should think about student “readiness.” Teresa explored some of these forecasts and their implications for schools today. She led her participants to practice the kind of long-term thinking in which boards must be engaged.
Dr. Teresa Arpin has worked extensively with boards of trustees, in the area of governance, leadership development programs, and strategic planning processes, as well as helping schools measure the impact of their strategic plans. Dr. Arpin works with schools and school districts large and small across the United States, and has assisted in schools in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her work has included facilitating strategic planning processes for the five international regional education associations NESA, AISA, AASSA, CEESA, and EARCOS. She has collaborated with the NESA Board for many years in the evolution of a strategic planning protocol now being modeled in several international schools and other regional associations.
The third Deep Diving session, Transforming the Student Experience, led by Myron Dueck, explored non-traditional grading, assessment, and reporting methods that truly engage students in every facet of the process. Myron shared what is being done in the most cutting-edge schools. He emphasized a goal to “assess with the student in order to nurture competent, critical thinkers who can communicate and explore.”
Myron Dueck’s best-selling book, Grading Smarter, Not Harder –Assessment Strategies that Motivate Kids and Help Them Learnled to a video project based in his own school district, entitled “Smarter Assessment in the Secondary Classroom. For the past 22 years, Myron has taught in Grades 4 to 12 in both Canada and New Zealand. Beginning in 2006, he developed a number of grading, assessment, and reporting systems with his classes in which students have greater opportunity to show what they understand, adapt to the feedback they receive, and play a significant role in the reporting of that learning. Since then, Myron has been a part of district groups, school committees, and governmental bodies that have further broadened his access to innovative ideas. He has shared his stories, tools, and first-hand experiences with public, charter and international school educators around the world, and recently expanded his presentations to include global education trends and broader socio-economic realities that impact learning.
To better serve and enrich learning worldwide, Search Associates has made it a priority to attend as many regional education conferences as possible. We want to be on hand to support schools, their leaders, and their educators. We want to stay current with what is new in the field. Always at the forefront is what is best for children around the globe.