Member Voices: Lessons From the State Leaders Institute

AACTE just hosted another great Washington Week! This was my third year attending the State Leaders Institute (SLI), and I’m always amazed at how much I learn about what is happening at the federal level and in other states, how other state associations are supporting teacher and leader preparation that will positively affect student learning, and how they are facing and addressing the challenges that are impacting our profession.

All regions of the country were represented during the June 9-10 institute, and as stories were shared, I believe we came to deeper understanding about the uniqueness of our respective states—and, perhaps more importantly, about the ways we are similar and how those similarities can help us frame a common message.

Through a combination of presentations, from an accreditation update to an analysis of state policy issues to a description of federal legislative priorities, I gained practical information to bring back to my state chapter, my institution, and my departmental colleagues. Through structured work group times as well as informal conversations during coffee breaks, I also come back with a list of ideas, resources, and creative ways of thinking about issues.

New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Past President Kate DaBoll-Lavoie (Nazareth College), President Lori Quigley (The Sage Colleges), and President-Elect Debbie Colley (Niagara University)

This year, I was fortunate to attend with other New York State colleagues. This gave us a whole other layer of opportunity: time and space to think about our goals for next year, our key shared messages, and next steps in bringing these to fruition as we return to our state.

I always leave SLI energized and, as other colleagues were noting, with a long "to-do/want to-do" list! This year is no exception.

  • We (including you!) need to tell our story of the strong work we are doing, whether it is about a deep PK-20 collaborative partnership, a recent program graduate who is making a difference in the lives of children, or how we are creating innovation.
  • We need to have ongoing and sustained conversations with our state and federal legislators about our work and profession (even if we perceive ourselves as novices in these types of conversations). They have significant impact!
  • We also need to continue to imagine the possibilities: What might teacher education look like in 2020, or in 2025? What might stand in the way of our vision? How will we overcome any obstacles and move toward the vision?

Thank you to AACTE for bringing us together for rich dialogue and learning. Now, I’m off to work on that to-do list (and to track down my lost luggage)!

Kate DaBoll-Lavoie is past president of the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

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Kate DaBoll-Lavoie

Nazareth College