NASSP Director of Leading & Learning Robyn Hamasaki.

On behalf of NASSP, I am honored to announce our upcoming premier conference for secondary school leaders in Denver, CO, (my home state!) July 12–15. As the new director of leading & learning at NASSP, I invite you to join our fellow principals and assistant principals across the nation as we learn together, grow together, and as my friend Jimmy Casas says, “Recalibrate!” together. (Jimmy’s insightful article can be accessed here, and I encourage you to read it.)

This year’s National Principals Conference (otherwise known as Ignite), will focus on four leadership strands that we feel our school leaders are grappling with every day. Here are the session strands:

  • Building Leadership Capacity. Learn about ways to empower our teachers and student leaders through intentional practices of distributive leadership and the building of strong relationships so that we can work together to empower the adults and the students in our buildings to maximize learning.
  • School Climate and Culture. Building relationships with staff, faculty, the family community, and students is the bedrock of a safe, strong, and empathetic learning environment for all adults and students in a school. The vision for this strand involves learning more about systems to create inclusive learning environments where everyone feels a sense of belonging.
  • Student Engagement and Motivation. Our goal is to share strategies and ideas to differentiate learning, to leverage student voice, and to increase student agency in the classroom so students feel motivated to do their best in school and empowered to take ownership for their learning.
  • Whole School Wellness. In today’s world, educators’ and students’ mental health and well-being are quite fragile. Part of the school’s responsibility is to support our stakeholders to be resilient, to effectively navigate crisis management, and to teach our community of learners how to embrace a healthy way of life by integrating social-emotional learning. Through these sessions, we’ll explore what happens when intentional systems of support are in place.

As a former pre-K–8 principal in Boulder, CO, I was always looking for ways to collaborate with my peers and our teachers and staff—and encourage students to share their voices in school. When it comes to leading and learning, school leaders matter. YOU matter. What better way to come together as a cohesive leadership group than to share experiences, learn about structures and systems from our colleagues, and reflect on best practices before we hit the ground running for the 2023–24 school year?

The role of a school leader is daunting. These days, the job requires us to be courageous, kind, fearless, and unwavering in our core beliefs all at the same time. Some might wonder how we do our jobs. But we know that the secret to our success is to learn from each other. So, let’s walk our talk, link arms together in solidarity, and celebrate how we make a difference in the lives of our students.

I look forward to getting to know you in our Mile High City. See you in July!

Robyn Hamasaki is the director of leading & learning at NASSP and a former pre-K–8 principal.