AFSA Kicks Off Its 16th Triennial Constitutional Convention

The American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) kicked off its long-awaited (and delayed by a year) convention July 21. On this rainy Thursday morning, AFSA members from locals across the country began arriving at the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico for its 16th gathering. 

Aside from being the first year in person after the onset of the pandemic, AFSA is celebrating 50 years of organizing. The convention will allow locals and leaders to come together, network, attend workshops and luncheons, and learn from each other. 

Guests were greeted with breakfast, refreshments and friendly faces when they arrived at the San Cristobal Foyer to complete their registration. Once they received their credentials, participants were able to decompress and explore the grounds surrounding the convention site. 

“I love the enthusiasm and passion for education from everyone here,” said Dr. Nia Woods Haydel. “They all want the best for their staff and students, and it’s rejuvenating how excited everyone is.” 

Haydel will give a presentation during concurrent workshops Saturday titled “Creating the Conditions to Promote Inclusive Excellence in Educational Spaces.”

AFSA this year is conducting a paperless event using the Whova application system. Speakers, guests, delegates, facilitators and all other attendees were able to download the app to register. The app allows its users to view their agendas for each session on each day, see a full list of attendees organized into categories, and see networking opportunities via a community section. Participants also are able to post questions, contribute to icebreaker discussions, view job openings and access many more resources through the application. Since this is the first year the convention has been paperless, it has been a different experience for those in attendance. 

“What I’m most excited about during the convention is meeting people,” said Tim Sigerson, a principal from New York and member of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA), AFSA Local 1. “The app is interesting because it allows you to connect with people, and gives you a chance to actually do it prior to the event.” 

The convention officially opened Thursday night with veteran Charles Hernandez leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Prof. Vicente Portalatin Rodríguez singing the National Anthem and the Puerto Rico anthem, followed by AFSA President Ernest Logan’s opening remarks. The day’s events were capped off by an outdoor welcome reception sponsored by CSA.