3 Ways to Network at the Annual Conference

Meet your peers at the opening reception, at zone meetings, and at sessions.

After a year and a half of COVID-19, educators are eager to come together to learn and connect with peers. During our latest #NAESPchat, leaders in education discussed building a professional network in-person and virtually. It’s no surprise that attending NAESP’s conference came up as a top strategy. In the chat Illinois principal John Wawczak suggested that principals “Strike up conversations with new people. Talk to those around you in breakout sessions. Go to sessions that interest you and not ones just because colleagues are going to them.”

Tennessee principal Kevin Armstrong offered this advice for introverts: Step out of your comfort zone and be an extrovert for the days of the conference. “Network, ask questions, try new things, and attend sessions you know nothing about,” he posted to the chat.

1. Join a Regional Zone Meeting

NAESP partners with state affiliates that are divided into nine zones. Take a look at this clickable map to see which zone you belong to. Conference attendees are invited to attend zone meetings to meet members in their respective states and discuss education and leadership issues and strategies in their region. These meetings are Thursday, July 8, 4-5 p.m.

2. Attend the Welcome Reception

After the zone meetings, make your way to join other conference attendees, speakers, and exhibitors at the conference welcome reception, Thursday, July 8, 5-6:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall. Sponsored by aha! Process, this Chicago-themed reception is also an opportunity to help NAESP celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Want a way to help fund your teachers’ projects for their classrooms? DonorsChoose will be giving out more than $10,000 in DonorsChoose money (in the form of gift codes) during the reception to be used on DonorsChoose, a site that makes it easy for teachers to raise money for projects they need funding for. One winner will get the big prize—$4,000 to spend at DonorsChoose.

3. Engage with the Centers for Advancing Leadership

Join this innovative format for professional learning that will offer learning around the following topics:

  • Innovative Leadership
  • Women in Leadership
  • Middle-Level Leadership
  • Diversity Leadership

All of these sessions take place in the Exhibit Hall and feature fellows of the Centers for Advancing Leadership. Learn more about the centers and their fellows here.