2021 DA Will Go Virtual Again

Author, Filmmaker to Keynote Friday Evening Session

Plans are nearly complete for the 159th NSEA Delegate Assembly.

The NSEA’s annual, member-driven business meeting, DA will be held virtually April 23-24. It will serve as an opportunity for networking and setting the rules of the road for the 2021-22 association year.

While professional development sessions will be on hiatus this year because of COVID-19 and the virtual format, attendees will hear from author and filmmaker Ted Dintersmith during the Friday evening session.

“Even being virtual, DA is always a great event, a wonderful place to talk about common issues, to meet colleagues and to begin to solve some of the sticky issues facing public education,” NSEA President Jenni Benson said.

‘What School Could Be’

The keynote address for the 2021 NSEA Delegate Assembly will highlight what Dintersmith has learned in conversations with thousands of educators across the country about what schools could be like if teachers keep innovating their work.

Dintersmith has produced films, keynotes and now a book that focus on the urgency of reimagining school to keep pace with the innovation that is reshaping society. He describes himself as an “education change agent.”

During the 2015-2016 school year, he traveled for nine months of the school year, visiting all 50 states and stopping at 200 schools to meet thousands of people involved in education — students, teachers, administrators, parents, education policy makers, legislators and governors.

The result was his latest book, “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America.”

“I saw the very best of U.S. education, and drew daily inspiration from remarkably innovative teachers,” Dintersmith said on his website. “When I set out on the trip, I had no intention of writing a book. But this experience needs to be shared. It’s easy today to dwell on the negative, but I was blown away by the positive things going on in U.S. schools.”

Dintersmith also has organized and funded “Most Likely to Succeed,” a feature-length documentary on education directed by Greg Whiteley. The film has been an official selection of 30 major film festivals and has aired in more than 7,000 communities in 35 countries around the globe.

In 2012, Dintersmith was appointed by President Obama to represent the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly. In 2018, he received the prestigious NEA Friend of Education Award.

He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with High Honors in English and Physics and went on to get a PhD in Engineering from Stanford, where he also taught.

Getting Down to Business

Delegates will spend the rest of Friday evening preparing for Saturday’s business. They will adopt a set of standing rules and review the order of business. Then, they’ll hear an Association update from Benson and Executive Director Maddie Fennell. Breakout discussions and sharing feedback will close Friday evening.

On Saturday, delegates will discuss and debate proposed changes to bylaws and resolutions. The budget will be presented, and dues for 2021-22 will be set. Delegates also will consider New Business Items.

Bylaws are the rules that guide the Association’s operation. Resolutions state the Association’s collective beliefs on issues ranging from class size to teacher certification to teacher competency testing. New Business Items are tasks assigned for completion by the Association in the coming year.

Proposals for amendments to Bylaws were due by March 9.

New Business Items or amendments to Resolutions may be introduced in the Saturday morning session.

Elections Planned

Delegates will also select the NSEA Board of Directors At-Large representatives for the Ethnic and Minority Affairs Committee and Higher Education Committee.

To make your interest in serving as a delegate known, contact your local association president, your local association building representative, or your NSEA organizational specialist at 1-800-742-0047.