July 2019 Magazine

Education Administrators Association To Meet In Little Rock


AAEA’s Executive Director Richard Abernathy addresses 2018 summer conference attendees.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson to give the keynote address

by Matthew King

The Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators is hosting its 44th annual summer onference from July 29 through July 31. The convention will feature nearly 50 breakout sessions as well as keynote speakers, networking opportunities, exhibitors and constituent board meetings. 

“This year we’ll have somewhere between 1,700 and 1,800 school administrators attending the conference, and they receive quite a bit of professional development training from there,” says AAEA’s Executive Director Richard Abernathy. “From superintendents to preschools, school business officials, school plant managers, gifted, special ed, if you’re a school administrator, you can be part of this association.”

The theme this year is Mission Possible: Mission Driven Leadership. Abernathy says that sometimes the job feels like it is getting harder and harder and can feel impossible. 

Events for this conference will take place at the Little Rock Marriott and Statehouse Convention Center the event is the largest school administrator conference of the year in the state. 

“This conference is really kind of the kickoff to the new school year,” Abernathy says. 

Being an umbrella association, the AAEA has 12 constituent organizations for education administration meaning that members of the association are also members of at least one constituent group. Abernathy says that each of these groups provides its own breakout sessions with topics that interest its  particular members. 

“Since it just finished up, we will be updating members on the legislative results on that session,” Abernathy says. 

Abernathy says that each day has a lineup of guest speakers starting with Gov. Asa Hutchinson at Monday’s opening general session. 

“The governor is actually going to come to this summer conference. Typically he comes in for the superintendent symposium and addresses superintendents, but this year he is going to talk to all the administrators,” Abernathy says.

The Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key and keynote speaker Kenneth Williams will follow Gov. Hutchinson that night. 

“It’s always been a positive conference. It’s always good to reconnect with a lot of colleagues from around the state and the professional learning that takes place around that,” Abernathy says. “For me professionally, it’s always been an outstanding conference.”

The price of registration ranges from $100 to $395. Early registration prices run through July 9. For attendees looking for lodging, hotel rooms have been reserved for the conference.

“We’ve booked up about everything in Little Rock,” Abernathy says. “There’s about 15 hotels that we have room blocks in.” 

For information about the conference, log on to theaaea.org or contact Michelle Briggs, director of Events and Operations, at m.briggs@theaaea.org or (501) 372-1691. 

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