In this month’s questionnaire, NASSP’s Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti answers our questions about NASSP’s priorities, trumpeting success, and her favorite sports team.
What is your top priority for NASSP?
Our 100th anniversary is giving us an occasion to consider what our organization will look like as we move ahead. So I would say my top priority is building an organization that is prepared to thrive into its next century. That means ensuring our programs are responsive. It means identifying the emerging issues and communicating them before they land on principals’ desks. And it means renewing our revenue model so we can continue to provide the support principals need for a new age of leadership.
How can principals better trumpet success stories?
We offer a lot of guidance in the Principal’s PR Portal (www.principalspr.org). There are countless media outlets that principals can use to tell their stories, but it begins with schools becoming more transparent and inclusive places where parents and the community can easily see what’s happening in them. The annual Phi Delta Kappa International poll of public attitudes regularly reminds us that people who have firsthand experience with schools tend to think of schools more favorably. We need to build a cadre of those community members, and then we must empower those folks to tell the school’s story.
What is the biggest challenge facing principals today?
The research is clear that effective school leadership is a must for schoolwide success, but that reality has yet to make it into federal, state, and district budgets. So principals don’t have the support they need to continue to improve their skills and knowledge. NASSP successfully lobbied for the new federal legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, to set aside a portion of funds specifically for principal development. So, now it falls to the states to make sure the funds are being set aside and used appropriately.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I love watching people get better at what they do. Whether it’s an NASSP staff member improving their skills or a principal learning something new, it’s always satisfying to know I had a part in moving someone closer to fulfilling their potential.
What one thing would you change about education in the United States?
It’s always frustrating to watch education policy being made without input from educators. If I could change one thing, it would be to incorporate the voice of educators in meaningful ways into policy decisions, and that has been a priority of our advocacy team for a number of years.
What is your favorite sports team?
I grew up in New Jersey, and I’m a lifelong Yankees fan. When Yogi Berra died last year, I wore black for a week.
What is your motto?
Keep calm and carry on.