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NJPSA/FEA Fall Conference – A Huge Success

by rkanner

Category: Our Blog

The Tarpey Group was a Platinum Sponsor for the NJPSA/FEA (New Jersey Principals and Supervisors & Foundation For Education’s) 2010 Fall Conference.


Pictured is Ben Marino, Tarpey Group Account Executive, Denise Hecht, Assistant Executive Director of NJPSA, & Brian Tarpey, Tarpey Group President

NJPSA/FEA Fall Conference – A Huge Success

New Jersey acting commissioner Rochelle Hendricks kicked off the 2010 NJPSA/FEA/NJASCD conference Wednesday by telling the audience of 150 plus attendees that we have had “extraordinary success” in New Jersey’s schools, but that we will not stop there. As a country, she said, the U.S. is falling behind, and as a state we cannot slip along with the trend. But, she said, bold education reforms put forth by Governor Chris Christie will help save us from that fate.

She reminded the group that although there are times when they may wonder why they chose education as a career, teaching is still “the noble profession.” She told the group that the challenge that lies ahead is the ability to continue to attract bright, committed individuals into the profession.  Ms. Hendricks said she feels that some of the initiatives up for discussion, including merit pay and career ladders, could help attract future teachers who might otherwise choose a career in the private sector where they can earn higher salaries.

Choosing education over other more lucrative careers was a theme for Thursday’s keynote speaker as well. Salome Thomas-El, the famed Dr. Oz Show principal from Philadelphia who leads inner city kids to victory in chess tournaments against accomplished players and who will now only work in poor, struggling districts, told his story of how he chose education.

He regaled the audience with his account of family members and friends who though he was crazy to become a teacher, and even crazier to become a principal. But, he said, crazy just might be what education needs. After all, who would have expected the success he has had in including chess in the school day.

Principal El said he always makes chess an integral part of the curriculum for its ability to teach math, reasoning, strategy, and other higher-order thinking skills. Some of the kids winning tournaments against adult chess champions had to travel from city to city using plastic bags as luggage, he said. Yet they persevered and succeeded.

Of course his success is not about chess, but surely the very expectation that these students would be unlikely to accomplish what they have accomplished is at the heart of his work. Showing the kids that they can attain great things regardless of their life experiences, has been the foundation of their achievements.

While there were keynotes and workshops and seminars, there was plenty of fanfare and celebration as well.

Youth Leadership Awards were presented to students of Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield New Jersey. After attending NJPSA’s Youth Leadership Institute last year, the group went back to their high school and started a youth leadership initiative themselves, taking what they learned at the weekend Camp Bernie retreat back to their fellow students and spreading the leadership skills they learned.

NJPSA Visionary Principals were also honored at the conference.

Patricia Pfeil, NJPSA Visionary Elementary School Principal of the Year, And NAESP Distinguished Principal of the Year

Dora P. Kontogiannis,  NJPSA Visionary High School Principal of the Year, And NASSP/MetLife Principal of the Year

Brian Cory, NJPSA Visionary High School Assistant Principal of the Year, And NASSP/VIRCO Assistant Principal of the Year

Mark Wise, NJPSA Visionary Supervisor of the Year, Janis Jensen, Dr. Ernest L. Boyer Outstanding Educator Award (sponsored by NJASCD)

In additon, an iPad, several printers, Visa gift cards, and lots of other fabulous prizes were given away to attendees.

This years sponsors, who made it all possible, were:

Source: http://www.njpsa.org/news.cfm?newsid=952

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