Summit aims to ignite change in schools
7 reasons not to miss this annual conference
September 19, 2022
California school leaders are ready to make change in schools this year — and they’ll be at ACSA’s Leadership Summit, Nov. 3-5 in San Diego.
Held for the first time in San Diego since 2018, Summit Planning Committee Chair Patricia Brent-Sanco invites all school leaders to experience an engaging conference centered around this year’s theme: “Ignited, Energized and United: Equitable Leaders Equipped to Serve.”
“Today’s leaders continue to support students in spite of the difficult challenges we face,” she said. “In order to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and families we must be leaders who are ignited with a passion to serve, energized to do the hard work, united in our support of one another, and equipped to dismantle inequities that create opportunity gaps for students.”
Brent-Sanco said she is looking forward to several events at Summit, including a new strand for superintendents, the Equity Luncheon and a special appearance during the Every Student Succeeding presentation. Keep reading for seven reasons you’ll want to be at ACSA’s premier conference of the year.
1. Transformative sessions
During two days of sessions, you’ll find relevant professional learning topics that will help you launch priority initiatives at your district or school this year. More than 70 sessions were selected by the planning committee and include titles like “No More Spuddle! Activity Does Not Always Mean Accomplishment,” “Dismantling the Model Minority Trope,” and “Boosting Staff Morale, Connectivity and Resilience in Times of Crisis and Change.”
Attendees will also enjoy augmented reality sessions where they can experience professional development using virtual reality and learn how to utilize this technology in schools.
“Our workshops will provide a variety of learning topics that you can use immediately,” Brent-Sanco said. “All of our topics, whether human resources, policy and procedures, or tools for school management, are geared toward creating and sustaining equitable school environments for kids. Our workshops are not just grounded in theory but also reflect the realities school leaders face every day.”
Scope out all the workshops at by clicking on “Full Schedule of Events.”
2. Luncheon speakers
Have your lunch with a side of inspiration at these two luncheons featuring stellar speakers.
The Women’s Luncheon at 12:15 p.m. Thursday will feature Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor and recognized expert on race, gender, class and social movements. She was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter leader. Abdullah is a leader in the fight for Ethnic Studies in the K-12 and university systems and was a part of the historic victory that made Ethnic Studies a requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The Equity Luncheon at 12 p.m. Friday will feature Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools and former superintendent of Lynwood USD, who has worked to build school systems with equity at the core. His initiatives have reduced the criminalization of youth and raised graduation rates, improving outcomes for all students.
These are both ticketed events, so make sure to add these luncheons when you register for Leadership Summit online. Limited tickets will be available at the event.
3. Student stories
Don’t miss a chance to celebrate your “why” during ACSA’s Every Student Succeeding presentation, which will honor one student winner from each ACSA region, as well as two adult education students. The program on Thursday from 11-12 p.m. will feature videos about how each student triumphed over adversity. The program will also include a welcome address by new LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and a chance to win raffle prizes. ACSA members from each region are encouraged to come to this event and make these students feel special.
“I really hope each attendee will help us celebrate the achievements of our students,” Brent-Sanco said. “Our students have succeeded against all odds and deserve to be celebrated.”
4. Superintendents strand
This year’s Summit will offer a special strand of workshops for superintendents on “Leading in Times of Radical Change.” ACSA has partnered with the USC Rossier School of Education to create this Leadership Institute for Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents and Aspiring Superintendents, which will be held during sessions on Thursday and Friday. Workshops will feature superintendents as well as Dr. Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. Superintendents who register for Summit will receive an invitation to attend.
“I really hope each attendee will help us celebrate the achievements of our students.”
— Patricia Brent-Sanco, Leadership Summit Planning Committee Chair, who invites all Summit attendees to the ESS presentation on Thursday
5. The return of fun
When you’re not learning strategies for transforming schools, you’ll find opportunities to play and re-energize. After a considerably scaled back in-person conference last year due to COVID-19, this year marks the return of some of those memorable elements you expect at Leadership Summit.
You’ll not want to miss the Welcome Reception Wednesday night from 8-10 p.m. on the outdoor pool deck. Taking a cue from this year’s theme, entertainment will “ignite” your senses while you mingle and reconnect with school leaders from throughout the state.
You can show our valued sponsors some love — and have fun doing it — during Thursday’s networking reception. Come by the exhibit hall at 5:30 Thursday for hors d’oeuvres and some fun surprises.
For the fitness buffs, join Saturday morning’s Fun Run benefiting the Every Student Succeeding program.
Did we mention there will be puppies? These cuddly emotional support animals will be on hand anytime you could use a snuggle.
6. Inspiring keynotes
Participants will experience three inspiring keynote speakers who will energize their practice. On Thursday, Dr. Victor Rios will change how we see at-risk youth with his personal story of going from high school dropout to professor. During Friday’s keynote, Jeffrey Robinson will explain why reckoning with the history of anti-Black racism in the U.S. is the only path toward racial equity and justice. In our closing keynote on Saturday, Erin Gruwell will share how believing in her students gave them the courage to rewrite their stories and become “Freedom Writers.”
7. Fellowship
With all the challenges school leaders have experienced recently, Leadership Summit provides a chance to come together and share what ignites, energizes and unites us as educators.
“The realization that we have come so far in the past two years by uplifting and supporting one another is uniting,” Brent-Sanco said. “Seeing how equitable leadership can change outcomes for kids is energizing and helps you clearly see your impact. Your purpose fuels creativity and unleashes a world of possibilities that can transform education. I think we are all energized and united in our goal of providing students a world class education in bias-free environments.”
Leadership Summit
When: Nov. 3-5, 2022 Where: Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego Act now! Save $50 when you register by Sept. 30. Visit
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