Put On Your Networking Shoes

If I had to pick one thing conferences provide me with each year, it’s this: networking!

We principals are here in Nashville, attending this conference together at this precise moment in time. Yet, we all arrived here differently. Reflect on your own professional networking footprints as I share my journey to the NAESP 2014 Annual Conference.

Back in 2009, I presented with a colleague at the Indiana Coalition of Quality Schools conference. During my presentation, I shared the story of the organizational transformation of our school. In the audience was an educator who knew me: Dr. Nancy Phenis-Bourke (@MentorPrincipal). Nancy organizes professional development opportunities for a network of administrators in central Indiana. She had asked me to speak at that event.

While I was there, Nancy encouraged me to explore professional opportunities through NAESP, specifically the National Mentor Training and Certification program. During the mentor training and certification process, I worked closely with NAESP Zone 2 Director Missie Patschke (@MelissaPatschke) and consultant Kathleen Sciarappa, as well as a cohort of administrators from around the country. The experience provided me with fantastic knowledge and resources to support other principals.

It also built my connections with NAESP and informed me about how to maximize my state association membership. I connected with Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) executive director Dr. Todd Bess (@INPrincipals), and became involved on the IASP board of directors through my region. Through involvement in IASP, I have found other educators who are passionate about helping children succeed, building teacher knowledge, supporting one another, and advocating for education in our state. Opportunities to network have grown since I began serving as the NAESP State Representative for Indiana and as a trainer for the NAESP mentor program.

My networking footprints aren’t about the names or the titles or the roles in which I or others serve. My networking footprints show how these experiences helped me craft my own leadership skills as a principal. I would tell you—and the teachers at my school would agree—I don’t have all the answers. But now, when I have a question, I have a wealth of people and resources with whom I can connect.

Who is part of your professional networking footprint? Want to take that next step? Make it happen at #NAESP14!

Adam Drummond

Drummond is blogging from the 2014 Annual Conference in Nashville. Read his other posts, and see updates from Nashville, on 2014 Conference News.

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