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State Leaders Institute: Develop your chapter, improve your skills, network with colleagues

What does it mean to be a leader? Are leaders born or are they developed?

If you Google the word “Leader,” depending on the day, you may end up with between 4 and 6 billion hits. There is certainly no shortage of opinions, courses, or books on leadership. Some individuals are leaders by virtue of their title, others are considered leaders whether or not they have a title. Whether leadership has been thrust upon you or it has slowly developed over time, you understand that leadership carries the challenge of expectations and obligations.

As a person who thinks about the concept of leadership quite a bit, it seems to me that, although some individuals may embody characteristics that lend themselves to leadership, true leaders are developed over time through a combination of professional development and lived experience. 

As a leader you have an obligation to those you lead, an obligation to the profession, and an obligation to yourself. In the field of education, and in teacher preparation in particular, there are no shortage of leaders. Those who are the most impactful, however, are the ones who continuously seek to improve their knowledge, skills, and relationships.

Leaders should constantly seek opportunities for information and growth. The State Leaders Institute (SLI) provides both. SLI is one of the three key events, along with Day on the Hill and the Holmes Summer Policy Institute, that comprises AACTE’s Washington Week. This year will mark my fifth State Leaders Institute and I return each year with the belief and expectation that I am going to engage in a meaningful and impactful professional development experience.  The Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) Executive Committee has worked collaboratively with AACTE’s Deborah Koolbeck and Ward Cummings to develop a robust agenda to not only support the improvement of your state chapter but to also help you develop as a leader. SLI, open to current AACTE and ATE state chapter leaders, is focused on developing capacity and leadership, and we have developed an agenda to do just that.

Over the course of 2 days, not only will you engage in sessions to build your knowledge and skills, but there are ample opportunities to engage with other education leaders from across the country. At SLI, you’ll learn about recent policy and legislation from throughout the country with the potential for national impact, we’ll discuss how to improve your state chapter leadership pipeline, effectively using social media, and so much more.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there! 


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Michael Maher

Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation, North Carolina State University