The NAESP Board of Directors unanimously authorized Association Executive Director Gail Connelly to collaborate with American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Executive Director Dan Domenech for the two organizations to share space at NAESP’s headquarters and to consolidate appropriate operational staff and other resources.

The Board action, which was announced by NAESP President Barbara Chester at the Board’s winter meeting, acknowledges the highly positive, ongoing collaboration between the two organizations whose missions are aligned in service to our nation’s educational leaders.   Our commitment is to effectively and efficiently serve separate but similarly focused members while maintaining our distinct independence, missions, and governance structures.

“I’m delighted that the NAESP Board took this highly innovative and visionary action,” Connelly said. “It helps strengthen NAESP’s financial future because it enables staff to achieve economies in operations. More important, we hope it can serve to leverage the powerful partnerships between elementary and middle-level principals and their superintendents in their mutual service to children and the education profession,” she said.

Chester noted that the emerging arrangement also can strengthen both organizations’ influence and advocacy on behalf of principals and superintendents on select issues. “In taking this deliberate action, the Board believes that the common advocacy goals of our two associations will provide additional opportunities to continue our work with an even stronger and more focused vision,” she said in a cover letter accompanying the Board Brief distributed to NAESP state affiliate leaders following the conclusion of the Board meeting.

Connelly noted that among the first steps in the coming weeks is to negotiate a long-term lease with AASA to share space at the NAESP/Samuel G. Sava headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, a move that Connelly estimates could be completed within six months.

Connelly praised the leadership of Domenech and the AASA Board of Directors for their forward-looking leadership, strategic outreach, and collegiality in reaching the mutual decision.

“Dan Domenech and I are eager to finalize this first step so we can bring the two organizations even closer together and seek out additional opportunities to better serve our distinct memberships,” Connelly said, adding that “the working arrangement in no way signals a formal merger. Rather, it holds great promise as a way to operate more efficiently, to combine operational resources as possible, and to maintain our unique service to members and the profession as our primary goal.” Further, Connelly said, NAESP will continue to collaborate with a wide range of other education associations, nonprofit organizations, and corporate partners.

“The NAESP Board and staff are fully prepared to take on the difficult work of finalizing this collaboration, and we look forward to forging a long and mutually rewarding partnership with our AASA friends and colleagues.”

The two organizations issued similar statements about the agreement on Friday, Feb. 4. Both executive directors plan further announcements as details are finalized.