Virginia Superintendent Leadership Academy (VSLA) Conferences were held on September 26 and October 17.  Superintendents were engaged in interactive sessions facilitated by some of the top thought leaders in the nation. AASA hosted the September conference that was facilitated by Amy Sichel and Stephen Murley.  Amy is the Lead Superintendent for the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® and former superintendent.  Stephen is the Lead Teacher for the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® and Superintendent of Green Bay Public Schools.  The focus for the day was on the Professional Standards for Education Leaders published by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (2015) and essential questions for Ethics, Professional Norms, and Equity of Future Ready Superintendents.

The October conference featured four national leaders who shared strategic planning and problem-solving tools, beginning with Jason Bedford, representing Education Elements, Inc. He shared tools on the alignment on the intersections of the Profile of a Virginia Leader and ways an equity lens impacts our approach as instructional leaders, and the development of new ideas to assess and invest in a culture of innovation.  

Communities of Practice

na image 1According to Wenger (1998), Communities of Practice (CoP) provide five critical functions. They: educate, support, cultivate, encourage and integrate. Pam Moran, Executive Director for the Virginia School Consortium for Learning and former superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools led a discussion on the initiative. VSLA cohort members were so excited about CoP they are considering using it for a capstone project.

A strategic planning and problem-solving model called Four Frames of Leadership developed by Bolman & Deal—Reframing Organizations, was presented by Deborah Jewell Sherman, Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership at Harvard University and former superintendent of Richmond City Public Schools. The model frames leadership into four quadrants: [1] Structural (rules, roles, goals, policies, processes, technology and environment); [2] Political (power, conflict, scarce resources, and competition; [3] Human Resources (needs, skills, and relationships); and [4] Symbolic (culture, ritual, heroes-villains, myths, symbols, metaphors and ceremonies).

Wenger (1998)

Ted Dintersmith, founder of and author of What Schools Should Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America, shared his experience with cohort participants.  He was one of several motivational and inspirational VSLA presenters. All presenters have provided authentic tools that participating superintendents are implementing to improve teaching and learning in their school divisions.


For information on acceptance to the 2021-2022 Virginia Superintendents Leadership Academy, contact Marcus Newsome at Applications for the next cohort will be posted on the VASS webpage no later than December 1, 2020.

Virginia Association of School Superintendents
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