About AASA Collaborative

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Working to Transform Schools
A Call for Superintendents' Action



Who We Are and How We Work Together

The AASA Collaborative for Innovation and Transformational Leadership is a small, national network of like-minded educational leaders established by AASA, the lead professional superintendents' organization in the United States. Members of the Collaborative learn together, support one another, take action in districts, document communities of practice, and advocate for legislation and policies that transform school systems. The Collaborative challenges what might be outdated traditions and practices.

Our methods are based on the concepts of "critical friends" and systems thinking, with a commitment to continuous improvement and external review. We are prepared to be constructively direct and honest with our critique because we are friends of one another's success. 

“I had found it to be an exciting opportunity to work with colleagues around critical topics and issues that we’re all faced with in our work.” - Stacy Scott, superintendent, Framingham (Mass.) Public Schools

The Collaborative really provides that professional learning network for me as a superintendent because I’m speaking (through the Collaborative) with superintendents from around the nation. I feel like I have colleagues on call.” - Jill Gildea, superintendent, Fremont (Ill.) School District.

AASA Welcomes Superintendents to Become Members of the Collaborative Who Commit To:

What It Means To Make a Commitment to the Collaborative

  • collaboration5.jpgAttend at least two face-to-face meetings
    • Conferences (we will also work on an edcamp approach)
  • Participate in either a study group or a consultation (virtual with possible face-to-face at conferences)
    • As a team member to consult
    • To offer a consultancy for school districts
    • To name a topic for study and to facilitate
    • To join a topic for study and to participate
  •  Reflect/write about actions either for the purpose of blogs, social media and/or the beginning of a case study to be published in:
    • AASA website
    •  School Administrator
    • Other publications using AASA as leverage for getting the attention of publishers and editors
    • Offering support and editorial feedback from AASA appointed members with possible sources such as:
      • LinkedIn
      • Voxer
      • Twitter chats
      • Todays meet
      • Eduplanet21 discussions


 Recognition For Participation in the Collaborative

Members of the Collaborative receive a plaque recognizing participation in the work of transforming schools. In addition, AASA publicizes the work in its national communications.

The recognition plaque will signify actions and results in transforming schools:

  • The superintendent as a thought leader.
  • The superintendent's focus and courage to be bold, effective and responsible as a district leader.

Program Plans for 2016-17

All programs are tied to the following essential questions:

  • In what ways am I interested in transforming my district, and why?
  • In what ways do these ideas or programs change, modify or enhance my efforts to transform my district?
  • In what ways will this work necessitate transforming my work as superintendent? What about the rest of my leadership team?
  • How might my desire to take action on these ideas leverage my transformative goals for my school district?
  • In what ways do these ideas or programs change, modify, or enhance my efforts to transform my school district?
  • What might my school district look like if I'm successful?

Face-to-Face Conferences

  • Collaborative conferences

    District Visits

    • Under consideration:
    • Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. (personalization)
    • South Fayette, PA (makers movement)

    Study Groups

    These groups are topic centered and still maintain a focus on our essential questions.

    • Assessment and Accountability: Challenging the System (facilitated by Jill Gildea, superintendent in Illinois with video from Chris Tienken, from Seton Hall). The focus will be on why we need alternatives to our present system and what some of our districts are doing to use performance assessments as a tool for entering the transformational change process.
    • Design Thinking and Innovation (facilitated by Jill Gildea with interviews and participation from thought leaders in the field) The focus will be on the work that is being done by some of our districts to leverage design thinking as a way to transform the use of time, space, personnel, and grouping structures.
    • External peer review as another more comprehensive lens through which to look at school district quality. In light of the White House's announcement about backing off testing a bit, districts are going to be looking at other accountability processes, and external review. This study group will be facilitated by Marty Brooks, executive director of the Tri State Consortium.
    • Policy Study in which the group will focus on how to effectively influence policy makers including interviews with legislators and other White House personnel.



    Topics to be determined by Collaborative members. We are seeking small teams of Collaborative members to work together virtually, with the possibility of some on site visits.

    We encourage you to join this small group of superintendents who, collaboratively, intend to make a dent in transforming education.