The 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship weekend earlier this month in Houston, TX, was the experience of a lifetime. A weekend where educators were celebrated for their distinguished achievements. A weekend of learning, networking, and collaboration with leaders in their field. A weekend that I will never forget.
Thanks to the partnership of NASSP and the College Football Playoff Foundation, the National Principal of the Year Finalists, National Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists, and State Teachers of the Year (Council of Chief State School Officers) were celebrated and honored at the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship game. Among the goals of NASSP is to honor and distinguish exemplary school leaders for their dedicated work in education. The College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation supports preK–12 education across the country by elevating the teaching profession and empowering teachers in four core areas: resources, recognition, professional development, recruitment and retention.
Our weekend started at the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, which celebrated the accomplishments of educators from around the country and the city of Houston. We heard inspiring stories from ESPN Commentator Holly Rowe, Olympian Carl Lewis, and Author, Speaker, and former professional football player J.J. Moses. Holly Rowe specifically spoke about how educators have shaped her life and her career journey. This event really set the stage for the rest of the weekend.
On Sunday, we participated in the Trophy Trot 5K through downtown Houston. While we walked the course, it was a nice time to reflect on our school year and brainstorm solutions for challenges that we face in our buildings. At night, we attended the Taste of the Championship which was held in the atrium of Houton’s Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. This fundraising event supports the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers. We were able to experience local food and drinks prepared by chefs in Houston. It was a fun and very tasty event!
Before the football game on Monday, we attended the Playoff Pregame Party at NRG Stadium, which was the perfect precursor to the game. The areas around NRG stadium were buzzing with excitement in anticipation for the title game. As a college football fan, myself, I really enjoyed seeing the excitement of the Washington and Michigan fans as they got ready to cheer on their teams. The championship game was incredible. The energy of the stadium and fans was electric. The recognition of the State Teachers of the Year and National Principal of the Year, Andy Farley, on the field was a perfect ending to the weekend.
Besides the celebrations and enjoyable events, the weekend also provided time for networking and collaboration that would not have happened without this experience. Typically, there is limited in-person collaboration between the National Principal of the Year Finalists and the National Assistant Principal of the Year Finalists. This experience enabled me to connect with some of the most accomplished school leaders in our country. Thank you to NASSP and the College Football Playoff Foundation for making this weekend possible for educators.