Hello Sentinel Nation!  I hope everyone has had a great start to the school year!  I know it’s Spirit Week and Homecoming this week.  I wish you all the best during this exciting week.  I miss all of you and look forward to catching up soon!

Mrs. Dimuccio asked that I send out an update of my travels the last few months.  I thought I would share some highlights and a few pics.

I have really enjoyed my time meeting principals and visiting schools across the country.  I have been fortunate to visit Philadelphia, PA,  Phoenix, AZ, Killington, VT, and Portland, OR.  I have made many visits to the Washington, DC area.  In the next few weeks, I have trips scheduled to Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Nebraska.

A great deal of my work is representing principals at state and regional meetings, advocating on Capitol Hill, and providing professional development.  I have met so many great school leaders and some fascinating students in my travels.  

In Philadelphia, I attended the National Principals Conference.  I spoke in front of over 3,000 school leaders during the closing ceremonies.  In Vermont, I worked with 300 principals and had an opportunity to go to the top of Mount Killington!  In Portland, I met with the state leadership teams from the Northwest part of the country including Hawaii and Alaska,  I was fortunate to visit one of the top schools in Portland.  They have 1400 students in a building built for around 700.  They eat lunch on the floor in the hallways.  I witnessed classrooms with 35 students in an oversized closet. The culinary classes used the school’s kitchen because they did not have their own space.  They offered world language courses in Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Arabic!  The German teacher was teaching two different sections of German in the same room.  It was amazing to see how they made it work.  Students were highly engaged and doing some great work.  

My last trip to Washington was a memorable one.  My trip began with a visit to our national office in Reston, VA.  We held an orientation for our incoming board members.  I led portions of this training.  I recorded a video for National Principals Month–which is this month, by the way, so take a moment to thank your principals for all they do to make SHS an awesome place to work and learn! I then had the opportunity to work with the Principals of the Year from each state across the country.  I collaborated with the 2017 Principal of the Year, Tom Dodd, on an EdCamp for the group.  That evening we hosted a celebration for the winners.  Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was present to acknowledge the winners.  I was fortunate to get a 15-minute private meeting with the Secretary and our Executive Director, JoAnn Bartoletti.  You can read more about that meeting in this blog post.  The following day we went to Capitol Hill to advocate for school leaders and a number of bills important to our work in education.  I had the great pleasure of attending the Vermont meeting.  Our group spent about 15 minutes with Bernie Sanders.  We discussed a number of issues including Title II, the opioid crisis, and the expanding roles of school counselors.  After the Sanders meeting, we ran into Senator Al Franken from Minnesota.  He is a strong supporter of education and was nice enough to take a quick photo with us.  Some of you may remember Senator Franken from his days on Saturday Night Live (For the students reading this blog, Google “Stuart Smally.”).  The following day, I went back to Capitol Hill with the three finalists for Principal of the Year.  We met with a number of staffers from the House and the Senate to discuss education issues impacting our schools.

I have really enjoyed my first few months in this new role.  The travel is challenging for my family and I appreciate the sacrifices they make to keep it all together.  I have been following social media and email to keep up with all the great things happening at SHS.  I wish you all the best this fall and I do look forwarding to catching up with you soon!  Take care!

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