Five school leaders have joined the NASSP Board of Directors.
They include Dr. Marcus Belin, the principal of Huntley High School in Huntley, IL, and the immediate past president of the Illinois Principals Association; Mary Pat Cumming, the principal of The FAIR School for Arts in Minneapolis, MN, and the president of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals; Julie Kasper, a former assistant principal at Century High School in Hillsboro, Or, who has been named the principal this coming school year; Derrick Lawson, the principal of Indio High School in Indio, CA, and the NASSP California state coordinator; and Daniel Richards, the assistant principal of Manchester Essex High School in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, and the inaugural NASSP Advocacy Champion of the Year in 2019. We asked these dynamic school leaders what they hope to accomplish during their tenure on the board. Here’s what they said:
Marcus Belin: I hope to work with this team to make meaningful change in education and just do good work. Being a new member, I do not have a vision of what that will look like because it can change on a dime. Look at the pandemic. It completely uprooted some of the traditional beliefs we had about education and the way we do things. It forced all of us to do education differently. It also forced us to advocate for what we needed to fill the gaps that existed before the pandemic.
What I hope to accomplish is the opportunity to bring more of the stories and voices of the association to the table where the decisions are made—the very decisions that impact the work in and around our schools and school communities. I do not want to let an opportunity such as being on the board be wasted on sitting and listening. I am ready to take the mission and vision of the organization and move it forward in the great direction NASSP is already headed.
Mary Pat Cumming: There are many issues facing principals in leadership today. As a member of the board, I will lead with integrity in the development of position statements and policy decisions that will foster an understanding of school leaders and the issues they encounter. As an advocate for principal voices across the nation, I will use my experience across K–12 settings and in rural, suburban, and urban school districts to lead conversations with lawmakers and influencers to promote the needs of school leaders.
Julie Kasper: I am passionate about advocacy and policy around ensuring we are creating, fostering, and protecting inclusive schools where all students can expect equitable learning opportunities. I am also interested in diverse educator recruitment and retention during a time when we need more quality candidates to enter and remain in the workforce. Lastly, as an experienced assistant principal (AP), I am interested in ways we can empower and elevate the important roles assistant principals play in our schools. APs are powerhouses and can impact positive change in our schools now and into the future.
Derrick Lawson: It is my hope that during my tenure, I will help to promote a variety of access formats and entry points for principals at different experience levels. If you recall the exercise workouts on television in the 1990’s, you will remember the middle of the screen was the primary presenter with the average workout, while on the right and left were the models for the beginning and the “super-charged” versions. I think in these same terms. We need to differentiate everything for our principals and assistant principals to their current levels of access and comfort.
I hope to continue the work I have done in other roles serving NASSP to expand site leader capabilities. And I hope to continue to amplify our collective voices in a larger context as we advocate for our members and inform policy makers who are not education practitioners regarding the impact and implementation of their decisions.
Daniel Richards: I hope to learn from my fellow board members about the challenges school leaders face from different parts of the country. I hope to take that knowledge and advocate for all leaders and influence the decision makers in Washington to make the best possible decisions to represent all our students, leaders, and communities from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Learn more about the NASSP Board of Directors at nassp.org/about-nassp/board-of-directors/.