ACSA is evolving to better serve you
From the Executive Director, Edgar Zazueta
June 10, 2024
Nearly 1,000 ACSA members responded to a recent brand perception survey, allowing us to collect feedback on topics including professional development, benefits and technology. Innovation and improvement are key to successful organizations and ACSA is no different.
Much of the feedback we received aligns with the goals of the three-year strategic plan, and as we move into the second year of our current plan, we are excited about the progress we are making. As you can appreciate, strategic plans can’t be a series of to-do lists where we check boxes. We need measurable goals and meaningful deadlines that challenge us to be better.
The current strategic plan has three main areas: Member Development and Support, Advocacy and Influence and Organizational Sustainability. Within those main areas were six objectives, each of great importance as we strengthen our organization.
Our first three objectives focus on providing relevant opportunities for professional learning and leadership development, driving professional excellence and building a dynamic professional development community of educational leaders.
For us to drive success we first needed to identify who we are through demographic data, including our current membership and attendees at our conferences, workshops and virtual offerings. This year we’ve begun an overhaul of our membership and attendee databases, and by year end, we expect to have systems in place that help us be strategic about collecting information. We’ll be able to gather data that until now didn’t exist in our systems.
By having that information, we’ll be able to develop new, comprehensive tools and resources to ensure that ACSA is the first choice for accessing timely and emerging trends. By next year we hope to launch online communities to support professional development and expand your knowledge base of topics such as artificial intelligence and platforms that are now frequently being used in your classrooms.
This member survey brought legislative issues and political advocacy to the forefront, which fit within another of our main areas, Advocacy and Influence. Objective four was to “shape policy for a world-class, fully funded education system and improved outcomes for all students by aligning the collective influence of members at the local, state and federal levels” and objective five was to “be a leader, credible voice, and trusted partner in addressing the issues impacting the diverse needs of students and the administrators that support them.”
In short, members want more updates and more opportunities to speak with lawmakers on key issues impacting school communities. That was evident at our 2024 Legislative Action Days where the number of new participants outnumbered those who have been coming year after year.
We plan to begin delivering more content as we start the new fiscal year and the advocacy opportunities now appear limitless for our members. We’ve been building meaningful relationships with lawmakers over the past year, so much so that our elected leaders are now coming to ACSA members for feedback on key issues, and we will continue to build on those relationships.
This election cycle we endorsed 18 candidates in primaries. Of those, 17 endorsed candidates won and moved to the November general election.
Our sixth objective is unique, in that it calls for us to optimize the ACSA structure, human and financial resources, and impact through shared vision, leadership, stewardship and accountability at all levels of the association. Rather than look at this objective through a single lens, we chose to look broadly at our sphere of influence.
Over the past year, we have strengthening partnerships and collaboration with like-minded administrator affinity groups like the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators, the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators, and the California Association of Asian and Pasifika Leaders in Education by developing and executing specific collaborative action steps to advance our collective priorities. We’ve been holding joint advocacy meetings to coordinate our professional development offerings. These relationships will continue to evolve, and I feel good about the direction ACSA and these affinity groups are moving toward.
To hit the mark on the financial side, we moved to a new accounting system and auditor, who is already giving us a fresh and comprehensive look at our operations. We’ve also been intentional about creating opportunities for staff to gather and be recognized for their hard work.
We still have a lot of work to do. As times change in public education, we’ll continue to evolve to better support your needs. My commitment to you is that my door is open, and I’m always interested in your feedback. I want ACSA to be around long after we’ve passed the torch to the next generation of school leaders, and your voice matters in that process.