AFSA, Among Others Raise Awareness of the Impact of ESSA and Role of School Leaders, on Capitol Hill

cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vWzhk4As leaders from AFSA, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and other education supporters gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill their message was heard loud and clear; support for ongoing principal professional development is essential.

“Events like this remind us of the bigger conversation we need to have as a nation. Principals are the heart and soul of your school,” said Jayne Ellspermann, president of NASSP.

The special event, organized in honor of National Principals Month was live streamed online for viewers to hear a discussion on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and how school districts, principals and other school leaders can leverage the new law.

“Leadership is one of the most important factors affecting student achievement. An investment in leadership is an investment in learning,” said Ellspermann.

Following opening remarks by Ellspermann and Steven Geis, president of NAESP, Alyson Klein, a federal policy reporter at Education Week acted as moderator of the panel discussion and presented questions based on the passage of ESSA, principal professional development and the importance of the role of the principal.

The panelists included:

  • Carol Hahn, principal at Bellows Spring Elementary, Ellicott City, Md.

2015 Maryland National NAESP Distinguished Principal

  • Robert Motley, principal of Glenwood Middle School, Glenwood, Md.

2006 Maryland NASSP Principal of the Year 

  • Ernest Logan, former principal of I.S. 55, D-23, Brooklyn, N.Y.

President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, New York and Executive Vice President, AFSA

  • Lee-Ann Stephens, teacher and equity coach on special assignment with the St. Louis Park School District

2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

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“Too often someone has a new idea that they want to implement after a one day training. But, how do we evaluate the professional development? We want the principal to be everything, but deny them resources. A true sign of good leadership is that a school can run a few days without a principal, which allows time for professional development,” said Ernest Logan, featured panelist and vice president of AFSA.

Key insights touched upon how the role of the principal is rapidly evolving and the need for increased professional development, specifically for principals is of utmost importance.

“Principals have to be honest. If you can’t provide the resources your teachers need, say so, then work with them to get what they need,” said Logan.

The panelists all agreed that every school is different and what worked in one may not work in another. Before ESSA, principals spent on average less than one percent of time on professional development. Flexibility is needed in ESSA for it to be successful.

In hindsight, the panel showed great enthusiasm for ESSA and what it can do to help ensure opportunity for all students and revolutionize school leadership. Watch the live stream here.

Along with the recent Capitol Hill Event, AFSA will be hosting two upcoming webinars and various Twitter chats during the rest of October for National Principals Month. Please visit for more information.

Oct. 20: Webinar #2 – Future-Ready Schools: Leaders Preparing Students For Success

Oct. 27: Webinar #3 – State and Federal Efforts to Combat Education Equity