Many of you will spend part of the holidays reflecting on the year 2020. We can all admit that this year has brought us challenges both professionally and personally, but your commitment to California public school students and your school communities has never wavered. For that, I thank you.
I think back to March when our members began shutting down school districts to protect students, teachers and staff from COVID-19. I’ll never forget the stories I heard about community actions against these decisions, social media protests and the death threats some school leaders faced. Times were tough then, and your jobs haven’t become easier as summer moved to fall and now to the holiday break.
When districts began closing in March, I decided to close our ACSA offices. At that time, I challenged the staff to consider what our members needed most. Your priorities were changing because of the coronavirus disease, and we needed to find ways to better serve you. We needed to talk about your experiences to lawmakers inside the state Capitol, find innovative ways of delivering information and resources, as well as evolve our professional development to support your needs in a virtual world.
I’m happy to say that the ACSA staff stepped up to the challenge. However, our work isn’t done, and I pledge that we will continue to find ways to provide you with the support you need.
We will be presented with new challenges in 2021, perhaps challenges that we can’t yet begin planning for. However, I know education leaders can guide our school communities through the successes and challenges of the new year.
On behalf of the entire ACSA staff, I want to thank you for your strength, perseverance, and service to California public school students. Happy holidays to you and your families. I look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with each of you and working together to strengthen California public education.
Dr. Wesley Smith
ACSA Executive Director