Leaving office as president and CEO of AACTE is truly bittersweet. First, the bitter part: After 12 years, I am acutely aware of many good reasons to retire from this office in spite of my abiding passion for the profession and causes of equity. At this moment, it is clear to me that my passion for the work is far outpaced by the energy required to get it done.
Now, for the sweet part (albeit severely summarized):
- Working with the members, leadership, and staff of AACTE has been full of accomplishment. We have worked on program innovation and accountability, professional development, accountability and advocacy, communications, and organizational development. In each of these key functions, our association is ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the profession and our larger democratic society.
- Knowledge development has intensified and is more influential than ever. The Journal of Teacher Education is the most highly regarded resource for scholarship about educator preparation and about student learning in the world. Editorial responsibilities have been very ably fulfilled by the generous work of AACTE members, with oversight from the AACTE Committee on Research and Dissemination. JTE integrity and influence is an amazing operational realization of the AACTE commitment to rigorous inquiry and to advancing practice based on evidence.
- We give more than lip service to equity. AACTE members embrace our role in achieving equality of educational services with respect to candidate diversity and quality, equitable distribution of human and financial resources, and candidates’ ability to serve all learners. This equity agenda has required some fundamental changes in educator preparation programs’ content and structure, including the capacity to evaluate programs based on how well candidates are prepared for the realities of contemporary practice.
- AACTE members are unified and engaged in the policy issues that impact student learning, professional integrity, and equity. State chapters and the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) are more active than ever – both as users of AACTE resources, and as the voice of demand about what is required from AACTE. Member voice on federal policy is impressive and influential, as evidenced by the demise of the ill-advised HEA-Title II regulations and continued funding (so far) of the Teacher Quality Partnership grants and TEACH grants.
- An amazing and talented staff continues to bring enormous assets to the work of AACTE in their orientation to members’ needs, their willingness to innovate and learn new skills, and their devotion to the mission.
- The elected leadership of AACTE provides wisdom and guidance through rigorous fiscal oversight, program development, and representation of member interests. The Executive Committee and Board of Directors have been reliable and generous with the time and effort required for this essential contribution of any effective professional association. The most recent example of their guidance and impact is the selection of my successor, Lynn M. Gangone, who will bring new knowledge, energy, and devotion to the AACTE mission.
What is left for me to say is this: Thank you sincerely for the privilege to serve the membership and staff of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.