Are You Ready?

Dr. Carter ASCD13 Welcome

Schedules have been locked in. Boxes have been shipped. Plane tickets have been bought and hotel reservations made and confirmed.

With only a day to go before the 68th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show opens, your association is ready to greet you. Over the course of the year, the ASCD and team and I have worked closely with President Debra Hill and the conference planning committee to create the single greatest professional development event in education. The presenters of our more than 400 sessions are ready, as are the almost 300 exhibitors.

Now, are you ready?

Throughout my career, I have found that my best, most effective professional development moments I’ve ever had have occurred when I opened myself up to listening to new ideas and considering new perspectives. These moments occurred when I adopted the attitude of “Yes, and!” not “Yes, but….” They occurred when I was able to be in the moment and focused squarely on how I can apply what I was learning to my personal situation. They occurred when I changed my state of mind and focused on myself.

For an educator at any level, focusing on oneself is a tall order. By nature, we are individuals hardwired to serve others. We are the type of people who will cheer up a colleague having a rough day or who will take a call from a concerned parent late at night. We are the type of people who look at each child as an individual, with special talents and needs, and create plans for each child to make sure he or she can live up to their fullest potential.

So with a day left until the biggest professional development event in education, I encourage you to get ready. Make plans to stop by the conference Welcome Reception to meet new friends and hear new perspectives on Friday, March 15, 5:00–7:00 p.m. in the McCormick Place West, Level 3, Skyline Pre-Function Area. Download our app to help plan your conference experience, join in the conversation on Twitter using the #ASCD13 hashtag, and visit ASCD’s Facebook page and blog for even more useful conference information. Most importantly, change your mind-set and take the time to focus on yourself. Think of how you want to improve and then create the conference experience to get you there.

So, get ready! All we need now to make the 2013 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show a success is you.

Dr. Gene R. Carter is a veteran educator with experience as a private and public school teacher, public school administrator, superintendent of schools, and university professor. Before joining ASCD in 1992, Dr. Carter served for nine years as the superintendent of schools in Norfolk, Va., where he succeeded in reducing the dropout rate, built partnership programs with the private sector, implemented a districtwide school improvement program, established an early education center for 3-year-olds and their parents, and implemented a regional scholarship foundation for public school students. He has written numerous articles and book chapters concentrating on educational issues and topics and is the coauthor of "The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure" (Jossey-Bass Inc., 1997).