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AASA Leading for Equity: Implementing a Strategic Playbook for Disruption

Thursday, March 18, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Leading for Equity

Presented by Raymond J. McNulty, President, Successful Practices Network, and Dr. Michael Conner, Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools (CT)
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association 
AASA’s Leadership Network, providing premier professional learning for educational leaders

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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Since mid-March 2020, our daily routines have been ruled by a public health crisis unlike anything most of us have seen. We feel frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The normality in education has been shattered, and while COVID-19 has been the catalyst for the process, the changes both inside and outside of education have been constant over the last 20 years. The realities of COVID-19, economic uncertainty and emphasis on systemic racism and inequities have brought school districts across the United States to a crossroads. Systems must learn to adapt with a future-focused vision and an ability to apply innovative principles and processes to their work. We are not powerless in this challenge; we must be the ones to act.

In this session, Ray McNulty shares strategies and practices helpful to the challenges that leaders, educators and students are facing. Schools and districts have never been more challenged in supporting the needs of students while navigating a world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). One school district leading the way is Middletown Public Schools in Connecticut, led by Dr. Michael Conner whose focus on building trust has enabled movement throughout the system. His emphasis has been centered on several important strategies, polarity management, professional learning, systemic agility and many others. Action by leaders matters more now than ever before, and just because the future is uncertain, it doesn’t mean you can’t influence it.

This recorded presentation will be of particular value to school superintendents, K-12 school and district leaders, and aspiring leaders.


Raymond McNultyAbout the Presenters

Raymond J. McNulty is the president of the National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) and the Successful Practices Network (SPN). He is also a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education. Prior to that, Ray was Dean for the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University which Fast Company Magazine named the 12th most innovative organization in the world in its World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. Ray has served as Chair of the National Dropout Prevention Network and was the chief learning officer for Penn Foster, a global leader in online education. He also was a senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked with leading educators on improving our nation’s high schools. Ray is a past president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and author of It’s Not Us Against Them: Creating the Schools We Need, published in 2009 by the International Center.

An educator since 1973, Ray has been a teacher, vice principal, principal, and superintendent. From 2001-2003, he served as Vermont’s Education Commissioner. During his tenure, he focused on aligning the Department of Education’s work on three key issues: early education, educator quality, and secondary school reform.

Ray is a presenter at the state, national, and international levels on the need for school systems to accept the challenges that lie ahead. He is committed to raising performance standards for both teachers and students and to building solid connections between schools and their communities. Ray believes strongly that education systems cannot wait for the children and challenges to arrive at school; rather, schools need to reach out and help forge solutions.


Michael Conner

Michael T. Conner, Ed.D. is the superintendent for Middletown Public Schools in Middletown, CT. Previously, he served as Chief Academic Officer (Norwalk, CT), Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning (Willimantic, CT) and Principal of Augusta Lewis Troup School (New Haven, CT). Dr. Conner obtained his Bachelor of Arts in elementary education/humanities from Lasell University. He also received his Master of Science degree from the University of Bridgeport, Sixth-Year Diploma from Southern Connecticut State University, and doctorate in education from Cambridge College. Dr. Conner completed the prestigious Executive Leadership Program at the University of Connecticut and attended the Harvard Superintendents Institute. He also completed the prestigious AASA National Urban Superintendents Academy (cohort III) in Washington, D.C. Dr. Conner obtained his graduate diploma in business analytics from Harvard University and is currently completing an advanced certificate (ACE) in management, innovation, and technology at MIT.

For his overall efforts, Dr. Conner was recognized by The Network Journal as a “Top 40 Under 40” recipient. He was also recognized by the Connecticut NAACP (100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut), Middlesex NAACP (Education Award), Eleven28 Entertainment (100 Men of Color Award), Cross Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Rev. George E. Battle Senior Education Award), Middlesex United Way (Community Leadership Award), and DECA Inc. (National Administrator of the Year). Under his leadership, Middletown Public Schools was recognized as a 2019 AASA/SPN National Innovation and Transformational District, of which only 17 districts nationally received this distinction. Also, Middletown Public Schools received the honor as a 2020 National Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Dr. Conner was featured in AASA’s School Administrator magazine for his article entitled What Mentoring Means to a New Superintendent of Color. This past August, Middletown Public Schools was featured in Time Magazine and AASA’s School Administrator magazine with Ray McNulty highlighting their innovative blended learning model that underpins the latest research around personalized learning using artificial intelligence. Most recently, Dr. Conner was selected by The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and Successful Practices Network (SPN) to serve on the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education as a commissioner. He will be making recommendations on innovative and equity-based practices for agencies and districts throughout the country to adopt holistically.


Valerie TruesdaleAbout the Host

Dr. Valerie Truesdale joined AASA early in 2019 as the assistant executive director responsible for guiding leadership development services and programs. With years of experience in the superintendency and roles in instructional technology, she knows that AASA’s Leadership Network can be a substantial resource for school leaders trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing delivery of K-12 education.


Get a CE Certificate for this edWebinar Learn more

Join the Leading for Equity community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


The AASA Leadership Network drives superintendent success, innovation, and growth, shaping the future of public education while preparing students for what’s next. We are the largest, most diverse network of superintendents in America. Passionate and committed, we connect educational leaders to the professional learning, leadership development, relationships, and partnerships they need to ensure a long career of impact.



Thursday, March 18, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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