THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTR ATORS
Return to Form FASA Brings Members Back Together for Discover ’21
Leadership Perspectives: Six Questions for Darren Burkett Legislative Success: A Recap of the 2021 Florida Legislative Session Navigating Your Team Through the Fog
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egislative Success: A Recap of the 2021 L Florida Legislative Session
10 Leadership Perspectives:
Six Questions for Darren Burkett
The 2021 Florida legislative session was a session like no other, but ultimately brought much success for public education. By Jessica Janasiewicz, M.A., M.Ed.
8 Return to Form: FASA Brings Members Back
FASA Leader spoke to Darren Burkett, Executive Director, School Leadership for Collier County, about making the jump from school to district administration.
12 5 Necessities To Navigate Your Team Through The Fog
Together for Discover ’21
The last years have been blurry with a fast-moving and often divided world. The best leaders understand the road ahead and how to lead through challenges.
After a chaotic school year with remote learning, shutdowns, social distancing, and more, FASA brought members back together for the annual Discover conference.
By Jason V. Barger
By Cody Smith
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President’s Message Leveling Up: Being a True Warrior This School Year
By Eric Basilo, Ed.D.
FASA’S MISSION: To support administrators in providing high-quality education to the
xecutive Director’s Message E Exciting Times for FASA!
students of Florida.
By Michele L. White, CAE
14 From the Superintendent’s Desk
FASA’S BELIEF STATEMENTS:
Fun insights from Dr. Diana Greene, Superintendent, Duval County Public Schools
We protect public education and its fundamental role in our society. We provide transformational opportunities to foster highly effective leaders. We prepare Florida students for global success
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FASA Staff Executive Director Michele White, CAE firstname.lastname@example.org Florida Association of School Administrators 206B S. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 224-3626 www.fasa.net
FASA Executive Officers President Eric Basilo Markham Woods Middle School Seminole County
President-Elect Kyle Dresback Associate Superintendent St. Johns County Past President Seth Daub Catalina Elementary Orange County
FASA Leader is the official publication of the Florida Association of School Administrators. All rights reserved. Contents of this publication may not be reproduced without permission from FASA.
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F A L L 2021
pr e s id e nt ’s m e s s a g e
Leveling Up: Being a True Warrior This School Year “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” – Tony Stark
ongratulations on surviving the year of the superhero. You have all chosen admirable paths, ultimately resulting in student success. Your efforts have helped students learn through a pandemic and teachers teach through some of the most unpredictable times in their careers, regardless of how many years of experience they may have. Most importantly, we have learned as a collective that it is okay to feel the way we do: anxious, confident, sad, elated, and so tired we need to lean on those around us to stay vertical. My commitment to you as your president is to help you level up. Students, parents, teachers, and colleagues need you now, more than ever, to take all of the superhero skills and talents you have acquired and become the leader they need – a “true” warrior. Dr. Bohdi Sanders, renowned martial artist with more 30 years of experience and an inductee in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, defines a true warrior as: “Someone who has the ability and will to fight to protect himself, his friends, his family, and his ideals, and at the same time, seeks the perfection of his own character through a life lived with honor, integrity, and an unflinching dedication to what is right according to his own code of ethics. What this means is, as leaders, we are leveling up to ensure we create a community of learners where ALL students can learn and all teachers feel comfortable enough to not only return each day, but also to encourage each other and themselves to reach beyond the expectations we have set. If you were fortunate to attend Discover ’21 this summer, you would have heard both local and national leaders talk about the importance of taking care of those we encounter each day in our chosen roles, as well as ourselves. We must ensure that students, parents, faculty, and staff feel they are all a part of the amazing culture you have set, regardless of race, creed, or preference. A task fit only for a true warrior. As we continue to progress through this year, we at FASA will work to support you through many avenues. In addition to the incredible professional development opportunities we offer, we will be creating “Communities of Practice,” where you will have an opportunity to become active from the comforts of your home. Thanks to a grant from the Gates Foundation, we will create leadership groups focused on key topics in education to give all members the opportunity to have their voices heard both within FASA and at the legislative level. Thank you for being a member of one of the most important and influential educational organizations in the state of Florida. It is time to build relationships in all directions, build capacity, and level up!
ERIC BASILO, Ed.D. Markham Woods Middle School Seminole County
As we continue to progress through this year, we at FASA will work to support you through many avenues. In addition to the incredible professional development opportunities we offer, we will be creating “Communities of Practice,” where you will have an opportunity to become active from the comforts of your home.
e x e c ut i v e d i r e c t or ’s m e s s a g e
Exciting Times for FASA!
t’s an exciting time to be a member of FASA! This summer, we were recognized by the Florida Society of Association Executives as the 2021 Association of the Year, and I was recognized as 2021 Executive of the Year. This is a huge honor for FASA, as we have never received such recognition. We were specifically recognized for the way we pivoted to virtual professional development, supported districts in training teachers and administrators, and shared our experience and resources with associations around the country. FASA quickly became a known leader for virtual and hybrid learning. We were able to have such success due to the vision and support from our Board and Committee members, and you: our members. This year has brought new challenges to the plate, but one thing has remained the same: focus on student success. I have reflected on the FASA Mission and Belief Statements many times over the last couple of months: FASA’s mission is to support administrators in providing high-quality education to the students of Florida. We protect public education and its fundamental role in our society. We provide transformational opportunities to foster highly effective leaders. We prepare Florida students for global success. How we prepare leaders for today’s world of education is even more critical, and this year we will provide more opportunities to support the growth of school leaders. And because of this focus, we will see student success rise.
MICHELE L. WHITE, CAE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
This summer, we were recognized by the Florida Society of Association Executives as the 2021 Association of the Year, and I was recognized as 2021 Executive of the Year. This is a huge honor for FASA, as we have never received such recognition.
FASA proudly accepted the 2021 Association of the Year and Executive of the Year awards at this year’s Florida Society of Association Executives’ Annual Conference. Pictured here, from left to right: David Higgins, Amy Coleman, Michele White, CAE, and Gail Siminovsky, CAE, FSAE Chair. Photo credit: Copeland Productions.
F A L L 2021
Legislative Success A Recap of the 2021 Florida Legislative Session BY JESSICA JANASIEWICZ M.A., M.ED., GOVERNMENTAL CONSULTANT
he 2021 session was a session like no other. Taking place in the spring of 2021, it was impacted in every way by the ongoing pandemic. Senate safety precautions mandated remote testimony via video and House requirements limited the attendance in committee meetings. Of course, development of policy and the budget were also impacted by the global pandemic. One of the first bills passed by both chambers was SB 72, which provided liability protections to businesses and other entities, including schools. Despite the challenges, FASA had a stellar year with five of our priorities realized. The first came in the form of an Executive Order from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. The order provided a number of waivers from the state’s accountability system that we had lobbied for in light of the disruption of the pandemic. We were successful in killing a bill that would have made changes to the Florida Retirement System (FRS). The bill would have closed the defined benefit program to new hires. Getting Value Added Model (VAM) scores in a timely manner has been an issue for years, and we lobbied successfully for the inclusion of language in a larger bill that requires those scores be provided prior to July 31 of each year. FASA supported the
Governor’s request for a one-time $1,000 bonus for principals. E-fairness legislation that we supported (SB 50) passed and has been signed by the Governor. Lastly, our focus on improving the state’s early learning system was achieved with the passage of HB 419, which makes changes to the Office of Early Learning and creates an accountability system for Voluntary PreK (VPK) programs. Thank you to everyone who attended legislative days and met with their legislators; you made these victories possible. This was also a very busy year for education legislation, with the Legislature passing more than 40 bills that will impact K-12 public schools. House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) had a number of education priorities that passed this session. He championed the creation of the New Worlds Reading Initiative to provide at-home literacy supports for elementary school students reading below grade level. Under the initiative, a hardcopy book is delivered monthly to eligible students at no cost. The initiative provides their parents with resources to help improve the student’s reading skills and instill a love of reading. Another priority for the Speaker was an overhaul of the state’s workforce system. The goal of the legislation was to improve the equity and access for all Floridians to have opportunities to achieve self-suffi-
ciency by enhancing the modifying workforce systems across local and state governments. For schools, the bill creates the Open-Door Workforce Grant Program to provide grants to school districts and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of short-term, highdemand programs. It also creates the Money-Back Guarantee Program, which requires each school district and FCS institution to refund the cost of tuition to students who are not able to find a job within six months of completing select programs. Lastly, it creates a new workforce performance funding model for school district and FCS institution workforce programs. The state also expanded school choice options with the passage of HB 7045 and SB 1028, which deal with charter and voucher schools. After such a busy session, it seems unbelievable that there is another just around the corner. Interim committee weeks begin in early fall with session beginning on January 11, 2022. I look forward to working with the FASA board, members, and staff as we develop priorities for the 2022 session and lobby to see them executed successfully.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jessica Janasiewicz M.A., M.Ed., of Rutledge Ecenia is a governmental consultant and a lobbyist for FASA.
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Each day, assistant principals across the state of Florida spend countless hours ensuring our schools are safe, our teachers have the resources they need to provide high quality, standards-based instruction, and students have the tools they need to ensure the best opportunity of achieving life-long success. FASA provides the support we need to provide for others. Through networking opportunities, professional development, legislative outreach and collaboration, and legal support, members of FASA can continue to have what they need to provide for all stakeholders daily. Early in my administrative career, I joined FASA at the request of my principal. I was fortunate she saw the value of active membership in such an important organization. Thanks to her efforts, I not only joined, but participated in events that have expanded my view of education. Since this early moment, I have built relationships with principals, directors, superintendents, and other key members of our schools from across the state. This has allowed me to become part of a network of success and has opened potential career-changing doors through statewide collaboration. Combine this with the benefits and direct connections to legislators, and FASA membership has paid enormous dividends both professionally and personally. I encourage you to invest in yourself and become active members of FASA. Not only would you join the approximately 6000 members already involved, but you would represent the largest subgroup of FASA—assistant principals.
Eric Basilo, EdD Assistant Principal Markham Woods Middle School
FASA puts students first. Be part of an organization that prioritizes helping you make the biggest impact.
Renew your membership or review your membership benefits at fasa.net.
F A L L 2021
Return to Form FASA Brings Members Back Together for Discover ’21
BY CODY SMITH
fter a chaotic school year with remote learning, shutdowns, social distancing, and more, this past summer gave a much-needed reprieve for all educators. And in June, FASA brought administrators across Florida together at the Discover ’21 Conference, offering a hybrid model with a return to in-person sessions and a live stream for remote attendees, six keynotes and more than 15 breakout sessions, and sorely missed networking opportunities. The Discover ’21 Conference took place at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate on June 21-23, 2021, with a packed agenda. On the Sunday before the conference, FASA’s Board, departments, and committees held meetings to connect with each other after a tumultuous year. On Monday, the conference 8
kicked off with the annual golf tournament before the opening general session and keynote: the Principal of the Year Panel. Moderated by Dr. Paul Burns, Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality at the Florida Department of Education, the panel brought four award-winning principals together to discuss leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Jen Halter, Green Cove Springs Junior High Principal and the 2021 Florida Principal of the Year; Jeff Reaves, Matanzas High School Principal; Wendell Butler, Bayshore High School Principal; and Chad Frazier, Mount Dora Middle School Principal. When Burns asked the panel about leadership during the pandemic, Jen Halter encapsulated what needed to be
done to make students feel welcome and safe. “When you’re the leader in a building, you need to reframe [students’] fear,” Halter said. “We all stared at a pandemic we never dealt with before, and you’re leading people to lead kids. You have to be able to listen to everyone—both sides—and say, ‘No matter what, when you walk through this door, you have a mask on, you’re smiling with your eyes, and you make sure [students] feel they can connect and feel safe so they can learn.’” The Keynote Session added an interactive flavor, led by speaker Andrew Marotta who wrote the book The School Leader: Surviving and Thriving. In the session, Marotta focused on storytelling and personal growth by
speaking on his personal experiences and bringing attendees on stage. “You are planters,” Marotta said. “When you’re dealing with kids, parents, teachers: you are planting seeds for relationships. You don’t know where they’re going to go…your job is to water them, follow up with them, check on them, and develop them.” For the Closing Conference Keynote, Donyall D. Dickey, Founder and Chief Academic Officer of Educational Epiphany, LLC, discussed his experiences in the education industry and how administrators can enact and influence positive change. “You cannot innovate on top of quicksand,” Dickey said. “Innovate on top of a solid foundation. What’s a solid foundation according to the state of Florida? Conceptual understanding of academic language.”
Dickey also urged the need for equitable access for all students, including those coming from marginalized communities and low-income backgrounds. “The objective is the first place where equitable access can fall apart,” he said. “And where is that? That’s at the planning table, and if folks don’t put an objective together in a way that’s consistent with how kids will be assessed later, we’re blaming the zip code, but we didn’t give kids access.” Discover ’21 saw 500 attendees in person and 200 attendees virtually, a strong showing for a return to a more “normal” event. FASA also oversaw extensive conference coverage on its YouTube channel, including livestreamed sessions with YouTube chat integration for Q&As and quick interviews with attendees and members. In one video,
attendees were asked, “Why should you become a member of FASA?” “If you’re not a member, you’re missing out on everything being done to make sure administrators are well prepared for the challenges of today’s education,” one respondent said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cody Smith is a Managing Editor for The Wyman Company, an outsource sales company with a primary goal of delivering sustainable non-dues revenue, resources, and information that associations need to build and accelerate their mission. He works with FASA to coordinate the FASA Leader magazine and other associations for their member communications. F A L L 2021
Six Questions for
A career jump is never easy, but it can be very rewarding. Darren Burkett worked at a variety of schools as an assistant principal and then a principal. After a four-year run as principal of Naples High School, Burkett made a big jump: he became Executive Director, School Leadership for Collier County, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. FASA Leader interviewed Burkett to learn about his new role and how he successfully navigated the jump from principal to district-level leadership.
mission of each institution while supporting principals as they balance the myriad responsibilities that come with educational leadership. In addition, I have the opportunity to help develop our leadership pipeline. This is an incredible experience so far, and I am excited to see how great of an impact we can have on the future of our district.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT DAY-TODAY LIKE IN YOUR NEW ROLE? My new role allows me to work with principals on a daily basis in a supporting capacity. As one of four team members with similar roles, I work with our assigned school leadership teams to help advance the 10
HOW HAVE YOU TRANSLATED YOUR SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE COMING FROM SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION TO DISTRICTLEVEL LEADERSHIP? As a former middle and high school principal, I rely on many of the same skills developed as a building leader. It is important to listen first in order to recognize what the issue is before being able to offer guidance and assistance. Clarity is also
critical in my current role as others are counting on me to provide insights and, in some cases direction, on issues that directly impact their school. It is imperative that I communicate what they need in order to formulate the best decision for their given situation. In regard to being responsible for helping develop our leadership pipeline, my school experience allows me to provide practical examples to help make principal standards more approachable to others.
HOW HAS COLLIER COUNTY ADAPTED SINCE RETURNING TO SCHOOL AMID THE CONTINUED COVID-19 PANDEMIC? Collier County Public Schools, like so many other districts across our nation, has maintained a mindset of being fluid and agile in order to respond in the
My top priority is to help principals improve student achievement while maintaining a safe learning environment and instilling a sense of belonging for every student. quickest and most effective way to maintain a safe learning environment for all of our stakeholders. Our district is in constant communication with our local Department of Health, which helps us provide important guidance to our learning community.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN YOUR NEW ROLE, AND HOW HAVE YOU FACED THEM? Working at the district level has provided me an entirely different perspective of education. Each day is a new learning experience. It is a challenge, but one I am enjoying because of the incredible individuals I am fortunate to work with every day.
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WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR AND BEYOND? My top priority is to help principals improve student achievement while maintaining a safe learning environment and instilling a sense of belonging for every student. I also love being able to help our district refine our leadership pathway in order to grow future leaders.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO ADMINISTRATORS FOR SUCCESS? When I made the transition to administration 15 years ago, my mentor advised me to look at every situation through the lens of a teacher. I have never forgotten that advice, and while I have had to make difficult decisions over the years, I try to always think of how a teacher sees it. It is also important to always have an ear for the thoughts of students. They are the primary focus of our efforts, so therefore we need to actively seek out their ideas and opinions. Finally, I would also remind administrators to continually seek learning and growth opportunities. We must seek the best in ourselves in order to fully serve others.
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5 Necessities To Navigate Your Team Through The Fog
BY JASON V. BARGER
t’s been quite foggy out the windshield for many teams and organizations lately. The last years have been blurry with a fast-moving and often divided world. We’ve experienced differing modes of communication, the expansion of remote workers, a global pandemic, issues of racism, social injustice and equity, political and economic uncertainty, all while continuing the pursuit to maximize the experience, product or service that you are delivering. The view of the road ahead has been quite foggy for many teams. The best leaders and organizations understand that cleaning off the windshield and the view of the road ahead is a necessity for those who are traveling with them. It’s not reactionary, it’s proactive. The best team cultures are committed day in and day out, month in and month out, year in and year out to removing obstacles from the view and aligning their people on the next actions needed for the road ahead.
Leaders often beckon their people to “trust the process” but then are surprised or frustrated when people don’t just magically fall in line. The idea of “trusting the process” is good in theory, but all too often the “process” is blurry due to a lack of clarity on the game plan or the inability of the messenger to communicate the road ahead. Therefore, the “process” is unclear and “trust” is nowhere to be found. The best leaders and teams understand their role is to help navigate their people through the fog and to continue to advance the mission. Here are five necessities to help your team navigate through the fog: 1. Identify Obstacles. Don’t assume everyone sees or has been willing to be honest about the obstacles, challenges and threats you are facing as a team. Take time to step back as a team and identify the obstacles that lie ahead and assure the team that you will face them together with a solutions-focused mindset.
2. Re-Clarify Mission, Vision & Values. Take a step back and make sure people understand the mission, vision and values of your team. The mission is why you are going on the journey. It is the heartbeat and soul to all your efforts. The vision is where you are heading as a team. It’s the dream of what is possible and what can be created together. Paint the picture of what you hope to create that doesn’t exist and what that future vision looks like. Your values are how you are committed to traveling along the journey. They are the compass that helps you know that you are on track with how you’re committed to traveling. Values aren’t dictated to us, but are discovered, discerned and identified by participatory discussion. 3. Articulate the Game Plan. It’s hard to “trust the process” if we aren’t fully sure what the actual game plan is or the process for moving forward. Take time to articulate the strategy moving forward and why you’ll approach it the way you are as a
team. The strategy is what you are going to do proactively to bring the mission, vision and values to life. It’s the game plan that clarifies the priorities, people, and next actions to bring the dream into reality. 4. Deposit Trust as the Messenger. Trust does not magically exist between people or leaders and a team. It is bartered every single day by the deposits we make in the relationship over time. Do we do what we say we are going to do? Do we hold ourselves and others accountable for holding up our end of the commitment? Leaders deposit trust by being transparent about the obstacles and what hasn’t been successful and by honoring their commitments. As the messenger, they deposit trust by owning the next stretch of road ahead and jumping in with the team to seek solutions. 5. Cascade Consistent Messages. As the strategy and game plan becomes clearer, rinse and repeat the message throughout the team and organization. Marketers remind
us that it takes seven times for a consumer to hear a message before they take action, and the same thing is true for cascading messages throughout your organization. Communicate the game plan over and over and over again and then continue to update the progress being made along the way. Every time you return to these discussions and seek clarity as a team, the fog doesn’t quite seem so thick. The path forward becomes clearer. Your team may not have all the answers, but they’ll have a compass with clear direction on where to head. The best cultures proactively help their people navigate their way through the fog, together. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality. The process for developing high-performing and engaged teams never stops, and the best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to setting the temperature in how they hire, onboard, do performance
evaluations, develop emerging leaders, and recognize excellence. The best leaders invest in their teams and how they travel, together. If you’re experiencing fog, division, negativity, blame, blurry vision, disconnection or uncertainty, it may be time to clean off the windshield.
About the Author Jason V. Barger is the globally-celebrated author of Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim as well as the host of The Thermostat podcast. As founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, he is a coveted keynote speaker, leadership coach and organizational consultant who is committed to engaging the minds and hearts of people and growing compelling cultures. Learn more at JasonVBarger.com. F A L L 2021
From the Superintendent’s Desk DR. DIANA GREENE Superintendent Duval County Public Schools
In each issue of FASA Leader, we feature a superintendent answering questions about his or her career and life. In this issue, we feature Dr. Diana Greene, Superintendent, Duval County Public Schools. Dr. Greene received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida, her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University, and her doctorate in education from Capella University. She and her husband have two sons.
GOALS FOR THE 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR
The biggest challenge we face is getting students back on track academically, socially, and emotionally. We will have to meet students where they are and build in the supports to bring structure, strong instruction, and critical compassion.
YOUR FAVORITE DESK ITEM
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT WORK
I have a porcelain angel on my desk that is engraved with this statement: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
I love spending time with my husband, family, and friends. I am back to playing tennis after having knee replacement surgery last year, and now I have started to make time for an exercise regimen.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T A SUPERINTENDENT? My career would have followed my father’s footsteps into the armed services. Although he held non-officer ranks, I would have been an officer in the Air Force.
THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING EDUCATION TODAY IS…?
As we continue to navigate educating students in the midst of a pandemic, my goals for the upcoming school year are to engage our students in this new normal through intentional social and emotional supports and to accelerate learning to close the gap for students who struggled academically last year.
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