Monday, April 22, 2013

ASTE 2014 Retreat

"What an amazing weekend," that is all I can say. Being a member of ASTE's Board is still a bit surreal for me and I cannot express how proud and thankful I truly am. Spending three nights and four days with the most brilliant educators and technologists in state leaves me feeling hopeful, energized, and excited like never before in my career.

Among the hours of stimulating conversation and thrilling discussions of the future of Alaskan education we decided on numerous details of various import: the 2014 Conference theme, for example. 

Hearing from lawyers about liability of board members, the university system on the horizon of teacher education, and even lobbyist in the legislature, we definitely learned a lot. Visits from the Department of Education also shed light on the goals of the State and the vision behind the new standards. Most of all I appressiate learning from my esteemed colleagues. At one point I shared in awe with a friend that, "there was no problem, technology based, education related, or otherwise, that couldn't be solved by the men and women in this room." This Board, made up of school board members, master teachers, superintendents  directors of technology and curriculum, and consultants, is truly remarkable. I am humbled by there mere presence and blessed by their friendship. 

All work and no play is never healthy, though. Thanks to the fun-filled leadership style of our president, we shared drinks and stories in the evenings nightly and socialized out doors when possible. Enjoying the hospitality of board member families we all had a delightful evening of bonding on the deck while serenaded by a live classical ensamble. After a delicious BBQ (including "ivory" or "white" king salmon, which I have never had before) we shared each other's company around a bonfire on the beach, staring out over glassy waters toward Admiralty Island hoping for humpbacks. Though never lucky enough to be visited by a whale, we did observe some playful sea lions. 

The final day of the retreat we wrapped up early so everyone could get to their flights and the far corners of the state. Knowing it was imposible to get to my home in one day anyway, I scheduled a bit of time to play and was rewarded handsomely! A friend took those who wanted to out on a trip around the inlet. Not enough wind to sail, we putted around and sun bathed for hours. I am told southeast Alaska is a rainy and somewhat gloomy place. As far as I can tell it is gorgeous and I would like to keep my memories that way...