A delegation of ACSA principals went to Washington, D.C., recently to lobby on education policy. Seated from left are Mistee Guzman, Derrick Lawson and Eveline Huh, and standing from left are Scott Borba and Buck Roggeman.
CA principals advocate in D.C.
March 21, 2022
A delegation of ACSA principals were in Washington, D.C., recently for the NAESP/NASSP advocacy conference to advocate for education policy on behalf of California students, staff and schools.
The trip took place Feb. 28 through March 2 and included delegations of principals representing all 50 states. ACSA is a state affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and National Association of Secondary School Principals.
The ACSA delegation consisted of:
  • Scott Borba (Region 9), superintendent/principal of Le Grand Elementary School District in Atwater.
  • Mistee Guzman (Region 6), principal of Edendale Middle School in San Lorenzo.
  • Buck Roggeman (Region 10), principal of Forest Grove Elementary in Pacific Grove.
  • Eveline Huh (Region 14), principal of Willow Elementary School in La Habra.
  • Derrick Lawson (Region 19), NASSP’s California state coordinator and principal of Indio High School.
“It was an honor and a privilege to speak on behalf of California administrators, school staff, families and students,” said Guzman. “I was uplifted knowing that our legislators are on our side and on the same page as us regarding the mental health needs of our kiddos and staff. They know like we do that our nation’s kids deserve the best and will work diligently to make sure they get it. We also had a great delegation that made the experience even more rewarding.”
The delegations conducted more than 300 visits on Capitol Hill with a unified voice and message surrounding the issues of moving forward and passing a series of bills addressing educator shortages and the principal pipeline, as well as school facilities and infrastructure.
They also advocated for improving school mental health resources and safety through three significant bills aimed at supporting school-based mental health services from California Representatives Judy Chu, Grace Napolitano and Linda Sánchez.
“I was impressed with our lawmakers’ genuine interest and willingness to listen to our stories and realities that we live back at our sites.”
— Buck Roggeman, Principal, Forest Grove Elementary
“It really felt like our meetings were very productive. Members were engaged and genuinely concerned about the mental health needs of our scholars and school communities, as well as the teacher and principal shortage we currently face,” Borba said. “They were open to the solutions we presented, as well as future conversations. Our message of funding public education for the benefit of our students, families and staff was well received in our meetings.”
Huh agreed: “Our legislators understand the pivotal role schools play in maintaining society’s mental health and supporting a vibrant economy,” she said.
The team also advocated for ensuring continued legislative funding commitments including:
  • Title I grants to Local Education Agencies.
  • Title II, Part A, which impacts principal staff development and preparation.
  • The School Leadership Recruitment and Support Program.
  • Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
  • IDEA state grants.
  • Career and Technical Education state grants.
ACSA leaders met with the offices of both Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, as well as representatives from the offices of Congressmembers Eric Swalwell, Jim Costa, Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano.
Each member came back inspired by seeing and hearing the impact of the group’s collective efforts with legislators as school leaders face a shifting education paradigm from pandemic to endemic. Each participant experienced some significant moments that resonated strongly.
“It was inspiring to engage in legislative advocacy for our schools as a collective voice, not just with California, but with states from across the nation,” said Roggeman. “I was impressed with our lawmakers’ genuine interest and willingness to listen to our stories and realities that we live back at our sites. They asked critical questions, wanting to understand our perspectives as principals and expressed true desire to work in partnership on behalf of our students, families and staff.”
Considering what the delegation experienced, the team would like to emphasize that the principal voice matters and is not being exercised enough in advocacy at the local, state and federal levels.
Principals can actively engage in advocacy with the simple act of completing the Action Alerts that provide ways to contact federal legislators via email, Facebook and Twitter in a simple “one stop shopping” format. It takes only a couple of minutes. State Coordinator Lawson forwards these alerts as they are generated.
Add your voice to the national message by texting “PRINCIPALS” to 52886 in order to stay informed and advocate with NASSP.
Find NAESP/NASSP’s Legislative Agenda and Funding Priorities on ACSA’s Resource Hub.
Members of an ACSA delegation meet with a representative from Rep. Raul Ruiz’s office during the 2022 NAESP/NASSP annual advocacy conference.
Contact Us
© 2022 Association of California School Administrators