Intern View: First Impressions at AASA

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Intern View: First Impressions at AASA

Intern View: First Impressions at AASA

I chose to intern with AASA, The School Superintendents Association because I wanted an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a possible career path. I was hoping for a chance to develop real skills this summer instead of sleeping the days away. My parents have both been in education for more than 25 years. The weight of administration and even classroom teaching is clearly a heavy load, but a load very much worth carrying. My life has been filled with people whose professional lives revolved around public school on many levels of the education spectrum. While I have heard much about their challenges, the roles of the superintendency have always been blurred to me.

I definitely underestimated the position prior to this internship. Superintendents work with everything from assessment to building management with little acknowledgement or respect. They walk a fine line of responding to the needs of their student bodies without ruffling political feathers. From reading the 2020 Decennial Study, I was surprised to see that approximately 33% of superintendents identified as Republican, 32% as independent and 31% as Democrat. This is a much more varied response than I expected. The 2020 Decennial Study showed me that as the diversity of school districts themselves increases, so does the diversity of those who hold the position of superintendency. Since 2010, there has been an increase in female superintendents, people of color and even a change in the age of superintendents as more individuals are becoming superintendents at a younger age. Respondents who were superintendents by the time they were 45 made up a new majority of 59% in 2020,compared to the 49.5% of participants in the 2010 survey who were superintendent by that age.

Something that strikes me about AASA is its sober awareness of the diversity that lies within the superintendency. An effort is always wholeheartedly made to avoid endorsing any theory or making any choices that would alienate their dedicated members. There is a goal of being helpful to all who hold the role. AASA is constantly pulling from a history of findings and data to make informed choices that offer actionable solutions to modern problems. AASA values every voice and attacks every issue from multiple points of view. 

This is something I've enjoyed about the publication, School Administrator, and participating in interactive resources like webinars. AASA truly creates a community for superintendents to bring their diverse array of experiences from their unique districts together, where they can work to encourage one another toward better school practices that serve their constituents' needs. The superintendency is a lonely job, but AASA provides a necessary community of support and resources.

Apart from an abundance of information and a newfound sympathy for superintendents, I have grown in respect for the amount of detail that goes into the social media aspect of AASA. It’s been fascinating to see how content is altered to cater to the audience of each social media platform and even email so every member can stay up to date with the organization that serves them.

I have also already learned a tremendous amount of transferable skills. I'm learning how to work with content management systems, send out vital information to members and I’m starting to become familiar with what my future career may look like. So far I’ve gotten to contribute in so many ways, each way requiring me to practice a new skill. I’m already becoming much more comfortable doing work in the digital world. 

AASA has been a warm and welcoming community, and I can't wait to keep learning from everyone. 

Thank you for having me.

 bp0615

2021 summer intern with AASA and a sophomore at Flagler College in St, Augustine, Fla.