Dare to explore and discover.

 

This is what the National Association for Independent Schools* challenged attendees to do at this year’s annual conference, and it seems perfectly fitting when one considers what educators are being asked to do every day in this ever-changing world.

 

Explore – to travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn or familiarize oneself.

 

Discover — find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search.

 

School communities across the world are filled with people of all ages who are on unique journeys. These journeys require individuals to explore many new and unfamiliar things with the hopes of discovering someone or something special along the way.

 

These journeys are filled with many stories of joy, sadness, hope, challenges, and success.

 

My experience at this year’s conference reminded me of the power that individual stories can have to inspire, engage, and evoke the emotion ultimately needed to create positive change.

 

Each speaker and presenter at the conference had a story to share about their journey, and I found myself engaged in these moments because their stories evoked strong emotions within in me and left me feeling inspired about the future of learning.

 

Here is my NAIS Annual Conference Top Ten list of memorable moments summarized by quotes from the stories shared:

 

10) Find your mantras and use them often Barbara Kraemer

 

9)   Take the first step even if you can’t see the whole staircase John Quiñoes

 

8)   Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations Dr. Mae Jemison

 

7)   We weren’t looking to just be better; we knew we needed to do something totally differentSusan Droke

 

6)   The difference between Try and Triumph is “umph” Denise Ammaccapane

 

5)   Fail forward- bad ideas are fuel for great ones Jay Shuster

 

4)   Students can’t wait for our teachers to catch upBo Adams

 

3)   Blessed are the flexible because they don’t get bent out of shapeDenise Ammaccapane

 

2)   Don’t talk to the movers and shakers, learn from the moved and shaken John Quiñoes

 

1)   One interaction can change the arch of a life Steve Pemberton

 

Thank you to everyone involved in the NAIS Annual Conference for helping me learn and grow on my own journey. My lens has been widened even further, and I am grateful for the reminder that we must connect and learn with others beyond our own walls.

 

*The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association based in Washington, D.C. that provides services to institutions across the country and represents their shared interests. The 2014 NAIS conference brought together more than 3,500 members of the educational community – teachers, administrators, educational experts, consultants, and even students who provided uplifting musical performances for attendees. I was fortunate to be among a group of Ravenscroft attendees.

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