Stacey Leftwich says Washington Week ‘Prepares You to be a Change Agent’ Advocates
For the first time in three years, AACTE will be hosting its 2022 Washington Week in-person in Washington DC, June 6 – 8. This annual educational policy and advocacy event draws together AACTE’s State Chapter Leadership, Holmes’ Scholars, deans, and faculty for an opportunity to learn and advocate for education and for high quality educational preparation programs throughout the country.
This year, AACTE is combining the best programming from three separate events — State Leaders Institute, Holmes Policy Institute, and Day on the Hill — into one reimagined mini-conference for enhanced collaboration and networking. The 2022 Washington Week program includes shared keynotes and strand-based sessions on today’s most critical issues in education and teacher preparation: censorship, educator shortage, and educator diversity. Attendees can choose to align with a particular strand throughout the event or select sessions from among the three strands.
Executive Director of the Office of Educator Support and Partnerships at Rowan University, Stacey Leftwich, has only attended Washington Week once, and it was virtually. But, as the new president to her AACTE state affiliate, she found Washington Week’s State Leadership Institute (SLI) invaluable in preparing her for her state advocacy activities, stating “(SLI) was particularly helpful as we prepared for the Day on the Hill activities and for our meeting with our state senators and representatives.” Leftwich shares more during her chat with AACTE about her Washington Week experience.
What types of information have you shared with your peers, team, or students when you returned to your home institution?
The week really helps you to network and hear what others in different regions of the state are doing. We would not have considered a consultant, but from our networking with others and listening to the activities that others are doing, we were able to hire a consultant to help us get a seat at the table and provide comments on bills that legislators need to hear before final decisions are made. It was imperative for our voice to be heard and Washington Week helped us prepare for this.
How have you been able to apply what you have learned in Washington Week?
We are now being more strategic about our involvement. We have begun to be more vocal, commenting more during open periods. We have begun to consider drafting op-eds so we can be recognized for our advocacy efforts.
How has the Day on the Hill event shaped your views about education policy?
What we learned from the Day on the Hill last year was how important it is to come [prepared] with data to support your cause. When we met last year with our state representative, he wanted numbers and research, so we used this as an opportunity to work with other educational organizations to collect information for when we present next year.
Why should someone make the investment and attend the 2023 Washington Week?
Washington Week prepares you and your affiliate to be a change agent. The week provides professional development on being a leader and advocate on educational and state policies. The week provides opportunities to network and learn from others. Most importantly, the week allows for your voice to matter, to be seated at the table and provide input to help make a difference.
Registration is open now for AACTE’s Washington Week. More information about accommodations can be found at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View in Arlington, VA. For a discount on your hotel rate, book by May 13.