New York, NY – Upwards of 1,500 people attended the CSA’s (Council of School Supervisors and Administrators) 52nd Educational Leadership Conference at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Saturday, November 9.
The event offered workshops, a gala luncheon, and an array of speakers, as well as the presentation of the Ernest A. Logan Unionist-of-the-Year award to three honorees.
The workshops spanned such topics as “Promoting Racial and Ethnic Equity for School Leaders,” “Writing Instruction Best Practices for College and Career Readiness,” “Safe Schools: A Shared Responsibility,” “Engaging Young Learners in Diverse Classrooms,” and “Compassion Fatigue: Who Helps the Helpers?” The keynote speaker was Linda Cliatt-Waymann, an education advocate who founded Currently Trending, a nonprofit that helps students escape poverty by providing direct coaching, resources, and support to graduate high school and lead a life of purpose.
Presenting sponsors included Acaletics, CITE, Lexia Learning, New-York Historical Society, Pearson, Great Books Foundation, Eli, and Lexia. A huge range of exhibitors included A+ Stem Labs, Association of Assistant Principals, Black Caucus of the CSA, Center for Integrated Teacher Education, Healthplex, Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, National Geographic Cengage Learning, Office of the Bronx District Attorney, Scholastic Education, Teachers’ Retirement System of NYC, and many others.
As the attendees sat at the luncheon, a group of officers of the union, and those in the teaching profession watched from the stage. Elected officials were also in attendance.
After the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli spoke, saying “I’m privileged to be here.” He congratulated the award winners, then spoke about how his office tries for accountability on school spending, with a focus on school safety, and said, “We have among the best funded public pension plans.” He commended the CSA for “rising to the challenge of the Janus decision.”
CSA President Mark Cannizzaro received a standing ovation at his turn at the podium. He said to the crowd, “We remain humbled by your support.” He referenced the school contract (the union has been without one since April), saying, “We will continue fighting with all of our strength,” and “You understand that in unity there is strength.” “You raise your voices for a just contract,” he added. He disparaged “the Mayor and the City who say nice things about you but don’t put their money where their mouth is.” “You get to work in the dark, you leave in the dark,” he said. “You have managed with insufficient budgets, [unhelpful] plans, rubrics, and frameworks, and more teams and committees than people think would be physically possible. You have been told what to do [by people who have no idea how to do it]. He also touched on the issue of paid parental leave, a sticking point in current negotiations, giving props to “superheroes – those who go home exhausted and manage to give their families the attention they deserve.” “We must begin to take care of ourselves,” he said. “The working class wants its voice back – I am certain that we will prevail – you are the finest school leaders in the nation.”
The Ernest A. Logan Unionist-of-the-Year award was then given to Sam Akel, Marybelle Ferreira and Brian Sharkey. Logan, a longtime teacher, administrator, and CSA official, said, “Educators realize that their working conditions are the childrens’ learning conditions. I’m tired of working night to night and being taken for granted. We need to stand up and galvanize. This isn’t about you – it’s about the children.”