October is National Principals Month, a time when we honor the outstanding efforts of school leaders like yourself and thank you for the inspiring work you do to improve our schools and ensure the success of all our students. On behalf of NASSP, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all our members for the extraordinary job you’ve done leading our schools throughout the pandemic. I know how incredibly hard you all work, and I know we’ve faced challenges before COVID-19—and that now we must confront even bigger ones in its wake.

I want to assure you that we will face them all, together. And NASSP will advocate for you to have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions about the schools we are privileged to serve.

In the last few weeks, some NASSP members have been faced with hostile community members, threats to their own safety or safety of their school, and non-compliance with rules that are meant to keep us all safe. And they have bravely shared their stories and advocated for action. Together, we can achieve amazing things. For instance, thanks to your efforts, the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it will address violent threats against school leaders and teachers.

In March, the efforts of our members and our advocacy team to mobilize support for the American Rescue Plan contributed toward the economic relief bill being signed into law. The funding package provided $125 billion in direct K–12 funding to help schools recover from the pandemic. We secured that funding by making our voices heard—something that we will continue to do this school year.

To amplify the voices of all school leaders, we’ve spent the last few months surveying you and your peers about the concerns that keep you up at night and the challenges you face. What have you told us? That mitigating the effects of disrupted learning, ensuring student and staff safety, securing scarce resources, supporting student achievement and social-emotional learning, and strengthening and diversifying the principal pipeline are chief among them.

As school leaders, we know what our students and schools need, and we must be included when it comes to decision making—not just concerning policy but about practice. Educators know a thing or two about implementation and which ideas work well in the classroom and which ones don’t. That’s why we are calling for a seat at the table when it comes to education policy. This year, NASSP will lean on our members’ collective knowledge and deep expertise to put your voices front and center and make sure your ideas are not only heard but acted on.

To do this, as an organization we must lead forward. To lead forward, we will make sure that you—our members—are the focus of our work, and we will urge you to increase your engagement in policy and practice so we can strengthen public education for all our students. To lead forward, we must dig deep, elevate our voices, and ensure that elected officials hear from us directly.

This school year demands that we lead forward. Our students, our schools, and the communities we serve are counting on us. I’m ready to lead forward with you.

About the Author

Ronn Nozoe is the CEO of NASSP. Follow him on Twitter (@RonnNoze).

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