Professional Learning

Professional learning is a main pillar of the services provided by the Vermont Superintendents Association. We aim to offer programs and events that meet the needs of superintendents and their leadership teams. If you ever have any questions or feedback about professional learning offerings, please contact Chelsea Myers at cmyers@vtvsa.org.

Academies


Early-Career Superintendent and Mentor Support Program

The Early-Career Superintendent and Mentor Support Program is designed to provide comprehensive assistance and guidance to individuals in the early stages of their tenure as school superintendents. In addition, the program provides networking and learning opportunities for mentors supporting early-career superintendents. Tailored to meet the unique challenges faced by those new to the role, this program offers a structured framework for professional development and an opportunity to foster lasting relationships with colleagues. Participants benefit from access to experienced mentors who share insights, offer practical advice, and serve as a source of support. The program consists of: 1) An intake call with the Vermont Superintendents Association to help connect the early-career superintendent with potential mentor matches. 2) An Orientation Meeting in August that covers essential information to the superintendency, such as education finance in Vermont, basic training in legal topics, and an introduction to the policy landscape. 3) A Welcome Meeting with early-career superintendents, their mentors, and the VSA Trustees to learn and network with colleagues. 4) Six virtual training sessions for early-career superintendents and their mentors to discuss important topics to the superintendency and to collectively problem solve around active challenges. Mentors are also introduced to best practices in coaching and mentoring at the sessions. 4) An invitation to an end-of-year celebration for the early-career superintendents with the VSA Board of Trustees. 5) A spring session for aspiring superintendents to introduce them to best practices in mentoring early-career superintendents.

Tracy Wrend

Aspiring Superintendents Academy (Formerly the VSA Leadership Academy)

Registration for the 2024/2025 Aspiring Superintendents Academy is now open!

Fostering a robust pipeline of school superintendents is vital for ensuring continuity in educational leadership and sustained progress within school districts. The Aspiring Superintendents Academy is a year-long professional development program for education leaders to explore the major responsibilities of the job of the superintendent and supports skill development in those areas.

Instructor: Tracy Wrend is now retired from public service; she was a career Vermont educator for 31 years, including 14 years as a superintendent. In addition to working with the Academy, she provides consulting, mentoring, and executive coaching services for education leaders in Vermont and sometimes beyond.

Find out more!
Questions? Contact Kristi Tate at ktate@vtvsa.org

Testimonials

If you are interested in exploring the superintendency, the Academy will give you an overview of the major components of the job and a firm foundation in the basic competencies required to be successful in Vermont. But more importantly, it will introduce you to a broad base of colleagues whose support and advice you will rely on for many years to come. 

~ Emilie B. Knisley, Superintendent, Blue Mountain Union School District

The Superintendent Leadership Academy was invaluable to my growth as a leader in Vermont. The classes were very informative, but I was also able to take away a network of people who have given me support during my first superintendency. My job would be much more difficult without that support.  

~ William Bazyk, Superintendent, Battenkill Valley SU 

The Superintendent’s Leadership Academy was useful to me in so many ways! My participation in the Academy gave me an overview of topics that are pertinent, provided opportunities to network with people who could provide support, and connected me with resources that I continue to use today.

~ Bev Davis, Superintendent, Orleans Central Supervisory Union

The Leadership Academy provided me with essential insight into how superintendents can and do make an impact on student learning.

~ Amy Minor, Superintendent, Colchester School District

Katie Novak

Inclusive Education Project with Katie Novak

The Inclusive Education Project is in its third year. This initiative focuses on successful Act 173 implementation. Using evidence-based concepts from Implementation Science, education leadership teams develop plans for systemic implementation of inclusive practices using Multi-Tiered System of Supports and Universal Design for Learning as evidence-based frameworks for this work.

Center for Education Leadership, University of Washington

Principal Support Academy with the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership

Registration for 2023/2024 Principal Support Academy is closed. Stay tuned for more opportunities with the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership in the future.

The Vermont Superintendents Association has cultivated a five-year relationship with the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) to provide high-quality professional learning opportunities for education leaders around the state. With a focus on best practices in instructional leadership, the work with CEL has reached nearly every district in the state.

The 2023/2024 Principal Support Academy will build the skills of 50 school leaders from across the state in their capacity to support principals as instructional leaders.

Academy participants work from problems of practice, use cycles of inquiry, learn from case studies, and utilize virtual and in-person professional learning communities and individual virtual coaching to develop their skills.

The content for this academy is based on the National Principal Supervisor Standards, the latest research on adult learning and leadership development from Wallace Foundation and promising practices from districts across the country.

Conferences and Training


Author Pooja Lakashmin holding her book: Real Self-Care

Women in Leadership Conference

The next VSA/VPA Women in Leadership Conference is set to take place on Friday, September 13, 2024 at the Killington Grand! Registration is now live!

three women meeting at a table

Collaborative Training with the Vermont Association of School Business Officials

VSA and the Vermont Association of School Business Officials trialed a new collaborative event on October 2 & 3 at Lake Morey Resort. The conference — Effective Practices in School District Fiscal Planning and Management — brought together over 35 business official and superintendent teams. The 2-day training focused on key strategies to improve fiscal management to align with district goals during a period of ongoing fiscal pressures.

Thank you to our conference partners: VSBIT and Hillyard.

Stay tuned for more joint learning opportunities with school business officials in the coming months!


VSA members at a meeting

Annual VSBA/VSA Fall Conference

This year’s annual VSBA/VSA fall conference theme was “Supporting Student Success through School District Governance” and featured two powerful keynote presentations on the “why” and “how” of good governance in terms of successful student outcomes. Workshops honed in on the Essential Work of School Boards. Check back here in late spring for details of the 2024 VSBA/VSA Annual Conference that will be held on October 24 & 25.

Annual VSA/VCSEA/VTCLA Spring Conference

Each year, VSA holds a joint conference in collaboration with the Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association and the Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators.

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 2024 Annual VSA/VCSEA/VTCLA Spring Conference is open!

Cultivating Innovation: An Education Leadership Conference for Inclusive and Future-Focused Schools
May 16 & 17, 2024
DoubleTree by Hilton

Networks and Drop-Ins


VSA members at a recent conference

Superintendent Virtual Drop-In

We will be continuing with our Superintendent Drop-Ins this year. This is a monthly virtual networking and collaborative space for superintendents and are held at 12 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. Sessions will consist of a topical presentation/discussion followed by open networking time. These sessions are available to Superintendent Members Only unless otherwise specified.

Weiwei Wang speaking at a recent VSA event

Women in the Superintendency Network

Nationally, women are underrepresented in the superintendency and face unique challenges, including both explicit and implicit biases on the job. The Network includes a Women in the Superintendency dinner on September 14, 2023, ahead of the Women in Leadership Conference and meetings on January 31, 2024, and April 3, 2024 (the afternoon/evening before the All-Members’ Meetings). The central leadership book of FY24 is The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez.

Vermont School Communications Network

VSA is entering its fifth year of supporting personnel who either work on district communications or aspire to become more involved in district communications. We assess a small fee of $195 for the year to cover costs associated with the network. Participants in this network are supported by four meetings, an information request service, a repository of resources, and support planning for additional professional learning opportunities. The quarterly (half-day, morning) meetings for FY24 will be held on October 4, 2023, December 6, 2023, March 6, 2024, and May 22, 2024, at 2 Prospect St. Montpelier, VT (or virtually). Please contact Chelsea Myers at cmyers@vtvsa.org for more information or to register.

red artwork against a blue sky

Facilities Managers Network

VSA has partnered with the Vermont School Custodians and Maintenance Association (VSCMA) to provide support for school facilities managers. We support quarterly online meetings that provide updates from partner organizations and allow facilities managers to discuss topics that are relevant to their districts. To learn more, contact Kristi Tate at ktate@vtvsa.org

Educational Equity and Inclusion


Teacher reading to her class

The Vermont Superintendents Association works to ensure that Vermont public education supports each and every student in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for success in a rapidly changing world.

VSA works to support school districts in fostering more equitable and inclusive educational environments and advocating for policies that advance educational equity. The work of educational equity, inclusion, and belonging is ongoing — as such VSA recognizes that the work requires continual growth, learning, and collaboration in this area.