American Association of School Administrators
Purpose, Publications and Programs, Governance, Membership, Influence, History
The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) was founded in 1865. AASA is the professional organization for more than 14,000 educational leaders across America and in many other countries. Its members are superintendents of public school systems, assistant and associate superintendents, principals, graduate students, and professors of educational administration, as well as others interested in educational leadership.
AASA's mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. The four major focus areas for AASA are:
- Improving the condition of children and youth
- Preparing schools and school systems for the twenty-first century
- Connecting schools and communities
- Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of school leaders
The organization, with a staff of fifty, is one of elementary and secondary education's long-standing professional organizations.
Publications and Programs
AASA publishes a monthly magazine, The School Administrator, featuring articles and interviews on leadership, technology, and educational trends and issues. AASA's president, executive director, and guest columnist offer commentary in monthly columns. Its Internet site is a resource for administrators, graduate students, teachers, and members of the public seeking information about education in the news, policy and practice, legislation, and AASA activities.
Other publications include School Governance and Leadership, published for superintendents and school boards; the AASA Bulletin, a supplement to The School Administrator; and a variety of titles published in cooperation with Scarecrow Education.
The National Conference on Education, held annually, attracts more than 10,000 school system leaders, school board members, professors, and more than 350 exhibitors to its program sessions and exposition. Other conferences and seminars are held throughout the year for rural and suburban school system leaders, women administrators, and the officers and staff of AASA's chartered affiliates.
AASA is governed by an elected executive committee of twelve members, elected by the membership for three-year terms. The president appoints one member to the executive committee. The membership annually elects a president-elect, who serves a three-year sequence of one year as president-elect, then president, and immediate past president. The delegate assembly, comprising members from every state, meets annually to adopt resolutions that help determine the policy and action agendas for the association.
Active membership in AASA is open to anyone employed in school district administration; associate, college professor, graduate student, and retired memberships are also available. As of 2001 the total membership exceeded 14,000. Financial support comes from membership dues, publication sales, conference registrations and exhibits, sponsorships, and federal and private foundation funding for specific programs.
AASA maintains an active presence on Capitol Hill, effectively lobbying the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on behalf of its members. The association has been active in advocating for increased funding and resources for schools serving large numbers of poor children; for additional funding for small, rural schools; and for full funding for special education provisions. The Legislative Corps, a grass-roots-based communications network of AASA members who agree to respond to e-mail alerts by contacting their legislators, extends the influence of the government relations effort through messages from local administrators to their representatives in Washington, D.C.
AASA seeks to improve the preparation and skills of school system leaders through reform of educational-leadership preparation programs and improvement of the conditions surrounding the superintendency. Through leadership of the National Policy Board of Educational Administration and other programs, the association works to ensure that preparation programs are redesigned to meet the current needs of school systems and their leaders. AASA collaborates with other professional organizations to better inform the public about the accomplishments of public school systems and to build support for improved educational opportunity for all students.
AASA is a nonprofit association that was organized in 1865 by state and city school superintendents attending a meeting of the National Teachers' Association in Pennsylvania. At its first meeting in 1866 the group adopted the name National Association of School Superintendents. In 1870 the association became the Department of School Superintendence within the National Education Association. The association was part of the National Education Association until 1973, when it became an autonomous organization.
See also: EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP.
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS. 2002. <www.aasa.org>.
PAUL D. HOUSTON
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