In the fifteen years since Senior Associate Ralph Jahr shifted careers from international head of school to consultant and recruiter, he has made a point to attend the annual Fall AdvancEd Conference. This year Senior Associate Bridget McNamer joined Ralph at the conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in the beginning of December.
AdvancEd's roots reach to 1895, when it was named the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Over the years, one division of the original organization branched off then expanded, changing names several times in the process. In 2006, the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) merged. By 2011, the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) to the organization resulted in the organization's current and final name, AdvancEd. Now, this non-profit, non-partisan organization is the largest community of education professionals in the world. The AdvancEd website (www.advanc-ed.org) describes its mission:
"While our expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Combining the knowledge and expertise of a research institute, the skills of a management consulting firm and the passion of a grassroots movement for educational change, we serve as a trusted partner to 32,000 schools and school systems… across the United States and 70 other nations."
As part of the accreditation process, members of AdvancEd teams conduct rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems. The goal is for all members of that particular educational institution to reach their full potential. AdvancEd offers many opportunities for the professional growth of educators, beyond the rich information regarding the accreditation process and standards. Their conferences allow educators to collaborate and share ideas on what works, what doesn't, and what is next in education. The organization also offers trainings, workshops, online courses, and webinars that provide educators with networking opportunities and valuable insights. Senior Associate and Consultant Ralph Jahr says,
"With two-hundred and thirty administrators from Central and South America attending the conference this year, I was able to connect with loads of clients at the Search Associates table in the exhibitor area."
The annual AdvancEd Conference is held in conjunction with the annual Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) recruiting fair. For this reason, it has gained popularity with Latin American heads in search of new faculty for the upcoming academic year. Senior Associate Bridget McNamer, organizer of the Inaugural Search Bogota Fair in Colombia this February, was pleased to make the acquaintance of many attendees at the conference.
**Adapted in part from http://www.advanc-ed.org/