Before I embark on my first trip to the ASCD Annual Conference, I want to put some information out there about what this organization is and what it does. As a new teacher, I’ve come to value the many resources I’ve gotten both online from colleagues and in my mailbox in ASCD publications. They are far-reaching, though-provoking, and indispensable to my growth in this profession.
ASCD: The largest group of American educators of any organization, and globally containing teachers, principals, developers, superintendents, businesses of education, private schools, parents who teach, and many more individual stakeholders.
As a new member seeking more and more learning opportunities, I wanted to know more about the organization before the conference. Little did I know, there was a former leader of the organization just a few miles away. Dr. Sandra Wegner, Professor Emeritus at Missouri State University, is a former Executive Council member who helped to shape the previous decade’s strategic plan for ASCD and is also an experienced conference goer.
What she told me about her journey with ASCD was fascinating. Wegner had been a leader in Missouri, serving twice as the president of the state affiliate. Her involvement in the authorship of science standards and eventually an ASCD publication was her first international involvement with ASCD. She served on several national committees and later she would be elected to the International Executive Council position—a position she held for two terms.
Wegner, now a retired professor of Educational Leadership and Administration, teaches online classes with her husband Scott. Both have been teachers of mine through the Master’s program at MSU, and ones I have always suggested to other students.
When asked about the conference, Sandra took a deep breath: it’s “mind-boggling.” She’s seen Thomas Sergiovanni, Steve Jobs and Maya Angelou speak. She’s even shared the podium with Bill Gates.
As a new teacher listening to her story, I felt in awe and spent a good amount of time afterword steeped in an admirable jealousy–the motivating kind. Sandra had so much wisdom to offer so candidly. If it is possible, I feel more excited now for the conference than I did before speaking with her.
Next up in Part II: Sandra’s Advice for Conference Goers…