School of Thought Blog

With content from practicing school leaders and education experts, our School of Thought Blog offers a wealth of information and research on emergent education issues.

UNITED: Where School Leadership Comes Together

If leadership is an art, then Nashville just hosted the ultimate master class. From July 15–17, more than 4,000 school leaders gathered there to attend UNITED: The National Conference on School Leadership. Inside the Music City Center, Nashville’s convention center, principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders engaged deeply with peers, gained insights from distinguished leaders across the educational spectrum, and shared actionable strategies to empower their school communities.

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A Career Highlight for a Student Council Adviser 

When I moved from being a high school English teacher to becoming the librarian at a middle school—and serving as a student council adviser at both levels—it was a big adjustment for me. Middle school kids are so different. They don’t always follow through on the things you would like them to, for instance. And they are far less independent than high schoolers. 

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Aaron Huff Looks Back on His Time as NASSP President

This summer, Aaron Huff completes his term as NASSP president. In the fall, he’ll return to his position as principal of Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, IN. In this post, we asked Huff to look back at the highlights of his tenure as president, reflect on returning to his school, and discuss the role of NASSP in elevating the voices of school leaders at all levels.

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After Shootings in Their Schools, Principals Meet With Federal Leaders for Reforms

NASSP’s Principal Recovery Network (PRN), a national network of school leaders who have experienced gun violence in their schools and led in the aftermath, met with members of Congress and the Biden Administration earlier this week to ask for policies to prevent and heal from shootings. Attendees included the current and former principals of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the former principal of Columbine High School.

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Mary Bigenho

This Pride Month Holding Space for Us All

Walking the dirt street to reach my house, I hear a homophobic slur emanate from the car driving past me. A meek 12-year-old, I rush on in fear—fear of what they would do if they knew how right they were. “How do they know?” I ask myself. “Am I too masculine? Too feminine?” My identity was long apparent to those around me despite my best efforts to conceal it.

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Elevating Student Voice in Our School Community and Beyond

One of my mantras as a principal in the community where I grew up and have served at each level of K–12 education originates from the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Today, we need an entire community of people to provide a safe, accepting, and supportive environment with all the resources to help our students develop and flourish and lead the next generation of adults who will shape society.

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Tiffany L. Rehbein, EdD

Celebrating Leadership and an Authentic Life This Pride Month

I have fallen in love with comic books. With the ability of creators to tell complete stories using text and art, color and space. And, of course, with the superhero. The character that is always brave or strong, selfless and courageous, adaptable, driven, inquisitive. The appeal of the superhero is understandable. The motivations, the skill sets, the weaknesses. All on display. All for consumption, judgment, enjoyment. 

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Students Gain National Voice Through Newly Elected Council

As the nation wrestles with critical issues from the future of education to democracy itself, student voices have been left out of the conversation—until now. NASSP recently held its first election for the newly created National Student Council. The ten students elected to the Council will advocate on behalf of millions of their peers on federal policies that directly shape their educational experiences. NASSP’s National Association of Student Councils (NASC) will administer the Council. “I am ecstatic to have the privilege to represent the hearts of student leaders nationwide; it’s an honor that I will not take lightly,” said Anjali Verma, president of the National Student Council and a high school junior in West Chester, PA.

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Jaidin Upadhyaya

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month and Happy Endings

The month of May kicks off Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and I am overjoyed to be writing about what this special month means to me. I think it is amazing that we have a month that celebrates the incredible achievements of leaders who come from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds, as it shows the younger generations that someone Asian American achieved a goal that they thought was never possible. For me, inspiration is at the heart of many AAPI individuals’ stories and is what continues to drive me every day.

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Passing the Torch: Outgoing Student Council Executive Directors Share Their Wisdom

In education, May is a time of profound transition. As students eagerly anticipate the start of summer break or the culmination of their academic journeys, educators and those who support them often find themselves at a crossroads. They may teach a new subject next school year or change schools. A few may retire after a lifetime of service. Among those retiring this year are two state council executive directors: Colby Cochran from the North Carolina Association of Student Councils (NCASC), and Terri Johnson from the Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC). We contacted them to discuss what they’ve learned and their profound impact on the lives of countless student council leaders.

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Maurits Acosta

It’s Our Turn to Lead

Maurits Acosta at the LEAD Conference in November. Photo by Allyssa Hynes/NASSP.
Maurits Acosta at the LEAD Conference in November. Photo by Allyssa Hynes/NASSP.

It was close to midnight on March 7th. I stood in the East Room of the White House as a delegate representing Florida to the 62nd annual U.S. Senate Youth Program. Just a few months earlier, I walked through the very same room on a public tour of the White House as a member of the NASSP LEAD Student Advisory Committee, helping to organize the premier national student leadership conference. This time, though, it was different. We had just finished watching the 2024 State of the Union and were eagerly awaiting a “surprise” they had for us.

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Join Us at UNITED

This summer, elementary and secondary school leaders will come together in Nashville for an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate toward a common goal. UNITED: The National Conference on School Leadership, marks a joint effort NASSP and NAESP. Taking place July 15–17, in the heart of Music City, this year’s conference offers a stage for innovation and leadership in education. UNITED attendees are invited to dive into topics related to our conference strands:

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Mark Skowron

A School Full of Distinguished Student Leaders

Here at Lancaster Central High School in Lancaster, NY, more than 300 of our students have been recognized through the National Association of Student Councils’ Distinguished Student Leader Program over the years. As the school’s Student Union (what we call our student council) adviser and co-director of our Leadership Academy, I’m proud that we’re a leader in using this national program to help our students become young leaders.

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