Associate Principals Conference

The Associate Principals Conference will take place January 24-26, 2024 at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

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Hotel Information:

Madison Concourse Hotel
One West Dayton Street, Madison
(800) 356-8293
Ask for: AWSA Associate Principals Conference
Single/double $174; Governor’s Club $224
Block expires: 1/5/24
Online booking link
Parking for overnight guests: $15/night; $20 valet/night 

Cost of Registration:

Pre-Con Sessions: $99 or $49
AWSA Member Registration $265*
Non-Member Registration $415

*You must be logged in to see member pricing.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

12:00 - 4:30  | Pre-Con Associate Principals Legal Seminar ($99 additional fee required)

12:00-1:15 | Legal Seminar General Session 

Student Behavior (including vaping), Student Search and Seizure
Malina Piontek, AWSA Retained Attorney and Bob Butler, WASB Retained Attorney

Administrators today must be able to navigate a number of competing issues when analyzing all of the potential required and discretionary procedures and/ or consequences based on the student’s behavior, including school district rules and policies, and legal considerations.  In this presentation, Attorneys Bob Butler and Malina Piontek will cover constitutional issues that arise in a student search, state statutes covering student searches and practical tips to balance the rights of the individual student and the school district’s desire for a safe learning environment.  This session will deal specifically with current issues involving vaping, academic honesty in the age of AI, and much more.

Legal Seminar Concurrent Sessions | 1:30-2:45 & 3:00-4:15
(Pick two concurrent sessions you plan to attend on the registration form.) 

1. Addressing Pupil Discrimination, including Discrimination Against  LGBTQ+ Students, in a Legally Compliant Manner
Sherrice Perry and Sarah Ghazi-Moradi, Attorneys, Boardman Clark

Associate principals are often involved in pupil discrimination matters.  The goal of this session will be to facilitate associate principals tackling this complex legal issue in a practical and compliant manner.  This session will help associate principals comply with board policy and the law when responding to complaints that might blur the line between pupil misconduct, pupil bullying, and pupil discrimination.  The presentation will also cover the most important substantive and procedural aspects of addressing complaints of pupil discrimination.  Finally, specific focus will be given to navigating potential discrimination issues involving LGBTQ+ students, including pronouns, name changes, bathrooms, locker rooms, and more. 

2. Understanding the Different Legal Standards Applicable to Social Media Use by Employees, Students, and Citizens
Brian Goodman, Attorney, Boardman Clark

Social media utilization has become a part of our way of life, including its prevalence impacting schools.  Interestingly, the legal standards that are applicable to the regulation of social media in a school district context differ demonstrably depending upon multiple factors, including the person engaging in the social media use and the content.  Attorney Brian Goodman will dissect all of this so that building administrators have the foundational principles necessary for approaching and responding to social media issues that impact their buildings, including a focused analysis of First Amendment “freedom of speech/expression.”  The presentation will include policy considerations, as well as assessing social media content that allegedly “crosses the lines” of harassment and defamation, particularly impacting building administrators and staff.  Attendee questions will be welcome.

3. Navigating the Potholes:  IDEA and Section 504 Updates All Administrators Need to Know to Stay on the Road
Tess O’Brien-Heinzen, Attorney, Renning, Lewis & Lacy

Students’ needs are increasing and so are disputes regarding special education services and accommodations under Section 504.  Complaints to the Department of Public Instruction and the Office for Civil Rights are at an all-time high and school administrators are on the front line responding and navigating often complex compliance issues.  In this presentation, Tess will highlight current, critical compliance issues in special education and Section 504, and provide administrators with information that will help them address challenging student issues and resolve disputes before they get to DPI or OCR.  Topics will include IDEA compliance in the face of challenging behaviors, seclusion and restraint, shortened days, placement in and out of the district, and compensatory education as well as accommodations and modifications under Section 504.


Thursday, January 25, 2024

7:00 - 8:45 | Continental Breakfast

7:45  |  New Principals Breakfast 

New associate principals are encouraged to attend this informal breakfast to visit with veteran colleagues and AWSA staff.

8:35  |  Opening Keynote: Be Their Hero- Trauma Informed Care

Josh Varner, Consultant

Two out of every three students in the United States are impacted by a traumatic event. When students experience trauma or an extremely stressful situation, it's normal and natural for them to have a hard time coping afterwards. I'm passionate about teaching educators how to support individuals impacted by trauma. I specialize in inspiring educators that they can support these students and be the hero in their life journey. During this training participants will learn how many students are impacted by childhood trauma and how to identify them; and, how the brain and body respond to trauma and how that impacts student behavior. Participants will leave with a ‘Call to Action’ and be equipped with many specific tools that are easy to use to support their students.



10:15 |  Round One Concurrents  

1.  Identifying and Supporting Dysregulated Students
Josh Varner, Consultant

Increased mental health challenges are putting additional stress on school staff and students.  During this presentation we are going to learn how to maximize the resources in our school to support these students. During this training participants will learn classroom interventions to support dysregulated students, schoolwide supports designed to support students, and student coping strategies that increase regulation and learning.

2. Creating & Maintaining a Behavioral Intervention Program
Matthew Raduechel, Principal, Shawano High School

This session will focus on the elements that are necessary when initializing a behavioral intervention program for students. This includes changing the climate of your building, setting good policy, assessing available resources, how to move forward, and exploring the process of constant improvement and refinement. Modifications among the three levels (elementary, middle, high school) will also be discussed.


3. The Weird Science of Improving High School Attendance by Removing Silos and Barriers
Mark McQuade, Principal, & Christy DeBoer, Associate Principal, Appleton West High School

Peak into the weird science of improving attendance using a foundation of positive relationships to remove silos and barriers to support better attendance. In this session, we will share a restorative philosophy that is helping students build the confidence necessary to re-engage in school and find success  Additionally, we will share strategies that have worked and the key tenets necessary to support the work of trusted adults in our building and our community which have helped us improve attendance and graduation. A portion of the presentation will model classroom strategies our most successful teachers use to keep students coming back for more.

4. I’m Here, But am I Engaged?
Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

What would a highly engaged classroom look like? What is a highly engaged student doing? As school leaders, it’s our responsibility to observe and provide feedback on student levels of engagement. We know it’s a predictor of student retention, student success, and student satisfaction. Far too often, compliance is acknowledged as engagement. This session will focus on ensuring school leaders have the look fors and strategies for providing feedback on authentic student engagement so as to grow academic outcomes for the students we serve.

5. Force Multipliers for Your Leadership:  Leveraging and Aligning Your People, Purposes, and Aims
Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

Impactful organizations plan backward. They articulate their mission/vision, identify appropriate goals, and create a plan with key actions and activities that will support the goals. Then they artfully clarify and align to these aims so that coherence and impact naturally result. These concepts will come to life in examples from thought leaders like Elena Aguilar and Wisconsin administrators alike that will likely change forever how you develop and distribute leadership for impact across your school. This session will also provide time to begin applying what you learn into your own emerging model.


11:30-12:30 |  Lunch & Associate Principal of the Year Recognition

12:45 |  Round Two Concurrents  

1. Identifying and Supporting Dysregulated Students
Josh Varner, Consultant

Increased mental health challenges are putting additional stress on school staff and students. During this presentation we are going to learn how to maximize the resources in our school to support these students. During this training participants will learn: classroom interventions to support dysregulated students, schoolwide supports designed to support students and student coping strategies that increase regulation and learning. 


2. Moving the Needle: Designing Professional Learning that Improves Student Learning    
Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

Professional development only matters if it translates from paper to practice, driving real improvements to student learning. This session will leverage proven approaches from thought leaders like Paul Bambrick-Santoyo and others that will help you determine where to focus professional learning, how to lead training, and, most importantly, how to make it stick, so that your professional learning genuinely changes classroom experiences and results. You will leave this session with applications to employ in your very next school meeting/learning session.


3. Stop Chasing the Walkie: Addressing Student Behaviors Through MLSS and Increasing Academic Achievement
Yaribel Rodriguez, Director of Urban Leadership, AWSA

Are you constantly being interrupted by the walkie or calls to address student discipline? Does student discipline prevent you from spending time in classrooms observing teaching/learning? If so, this session is for you. Leaders will explore how current systems and processes are contributing to the current state and explore how small changes can yield powerful results, allowing you to spend more time where it matters most, in the classroom observing teaching and learning.


4. AI in Action for Associate Principals
Jason Rubo, Director of Technology, and Rita Mortenson, Educational Technology Coach, Verona Area School District

In August, AWSA began a three-part webinar series on harnessing the power of AI in day-to-day tasks, streamlining processes, unlocking insights from data, and directly supporting student success. Join the co-facilitators of this acclaimed series to learn how to use AI to save time, grow your impact, and better balance your work and private life. Whether you have never logged into ChatGPT or Bard or are already using these tools to draft correspondence, crunch data, and improve instruction, you will not want to miss this session.

2:00 |  Break

2:15 |  Round Three Concurrents

1. Grow Your Influence: Engaging Students in Building a High-Impact Culture
Deb Paradowski, Associate Principal, Arrowhead High School, Hartland School District and 2020 National Associate Principal of the Year

Activate your student's voice, build your student’s leadership capacity, and learn how to use your students to mentor their peers and “reset” the culture and climate in your building while improving student leadership. Hear from Arrowhead students how their participation in WINGS, SLAM, and Peers4Peers improved their capacity to lead by taking an idea and acting on it, created opportunities for them to have an influence on others, taught them to embrace their vulnerability and be the change they want to see and need by mentoring their peers. In this session, you will learn strategies to build your students’ leadership and school’s capacity by creating a framework to “reset” and re-culturalize your school through student leadership. You will learn how to build the skills in your students to lead others and learn about tried opportunities that enhanced positive change for our school community.


2. Who are We Great For?
Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

When we ask ourselves, “Who is our school great for?” we want to be able to say, “EVERYONE”! But the truth is, often there are students who have lagging skills or poor behavior responses, or simply are not successful showing us what they know. What will it take to change that? Universal instruction improvement is predicated on teams using collaborative time to learn, implement and study the impact of their practice and the engagement in their learning environment. This session will include a simulation of what we hope a grade level or department does when presented with data that suggests all students have not learned what we taught. Set aside what you know and come and see what’s possible! 


3. Cultivating your Career in Educational Leadership

Vance Dalzin, Assistant Professor, Carthage College 

Vance Dalzin served as a teacher, assistant high school principal, high school principal, and superintendent of schools before moving into academia as an Assistant Professor of Education at Carthage College. His presentation will focus on surviving and thriving in school leadership and suggestions for moving up the career ladder. He has published articles on developing an academic image and a career in educational leadership. He will present theory and practice on the topic. He currently teaches undergraduate courses for aspiring teachers and graduate courses for aspiring principals. He was an AWSA member for several years and served on several committees. 


4. Culturally Responsive Teaching from Light to Right: Moving Beyond Relationships to Information Processing to Close Achievement Gaps
Yaribel Rodriguez, Director of Urban Leadership, AWSA

Zaretta Hammond states, “Our ultimate goal as culturally responsive teachers is to help dependent learners learn how to learn...The power of culturally responsive teaching to build underserved students’ intellective capacity rests in its focus on information processing.” However, most districts and schools stay stuck on the conditions necessary (relationships, safety, belonging) for learning to occur and “adding surface-level cultural details to low-level decontextualize activities,” which do not build intellective capacity. In this session, we will focus on key strategies and practices that help build our students’ intellectual capacity and help close persistent achievement gaps.


5. Comprehensive School Safety
Trish Kilpin, Director, Office of School Safety (DOJ)

Comprehensive School Safety includes both physical and psychological safety efforts. The Office of School Safety prioritizes prevention of school violence, and the use of specified interventions to promote recovery if a traumatic event does occur in a school. Best practice recommendations and free resources for SUSO threat reporting, Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management (BTAM), Critical Incident Response and general school safety will be shared.


4:30 |  Reception Sponsored by Jostens 

Friday, January 26, 2024

7:00  |  Optional Fellowship Breakfast

School administrators support the boundless needs of those they lead and serve. But who supports them -- especially in ways tending to the heart and spirit? Join AWSA's Associate Executive Director, Joe Schroeder, and administrative colleagues from across the state in this Christian fellowship breakfast option that, now in its third year, is proving for many to be an annual highlight of encouragement and support for the next leg of the leadership and life journey.

7:45-8:30 |  Breakfast Buffet

8:30  |  Round Four Concurrents

1. Hacking Leadership
Joe Sanfelippo, Author and Closing Keynote

Water is amazing and seemingly always finds a way. It has the ability to form, replenish our system, power equipment, and can wipe out entire cities. Leaders have the same properties. Some end up conforming to their environment as water would with a cup or bowl. Some have the power to wipe out entire populations and others lift the level of the land. The best leaders take little openings and create space for those they lead. They find the smallest cracks of opportunity and create a path that was not there before. They shape the land. They find a way. Hacking leadership is about finding innovative solutions to issues that have plagued the system for years and implementing them tomorrow. The focus is on practical application. We all know the problems exist, but knowledge of problems does not make our daily life in schools easier. Utilizing the tools in Hacking Leadership will allow you and your team to find the openings and create space for those you lead. Space to learn. Space to teach. Space to thrive. 


2. Leading Through Adversity: You as an Agent of Hope
Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

In challenging times, our ability to demonstrate hope in our own lives and build such capacity in others will be a key difference in the amount of positive influence we can generate. Research is clear that hope is not some starry-eyed distraction but rather an asset that can be both measured and used as one of the best predictors of future wellbeing. Thankfully, it turns out that hope at its essence is a way of thinking, which means that hope is something that can be taught and grown. In this session, we will focus on the three research-based components needed for building hope, provide examples of these components in use, and offer the opportunity to begin creating your own pathway forward to a preferred future.


3. A Dangerous Mismatch: High Praise for Low Impact
Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Learning, AWSA

This session will look at three scenarios and the impact of an observer/supervisor feedback. The purpose of analyzing feedback is essential in order for school leaders to have the kind of impact that engages teachers in thoughtful reflection. Feedback often affirms a practice that may indeed not be impactful on students but may leave a teacher feeling good about their practice. Participants will analyze and discuss ways to be thoughtful observers who provide targeted, actionable feedback that moves the needle for kids while also validating the work of teachers today.


10:00 | Closing Keynote: Lead Where You Are

Joe Sanfelippo, Author 

“I’m just...It’s a phrase we hear all the time. I’m just a teacher, I’m just an assistant principal, I’m just a tech director, I’m just a custodian….the list goes on and on and is always followed by reasons something CAN’T happen. Leadership is not a title, it’s an action...and it starts from within. Identifying leadership traits in yourself changes your mindset when thinking about leading those around you. Part of our responsibilities as a leader is to identify leadership traits in others. The opportunities are endless for those who choose to lead. It’s our job to find those traits, focus our efforts on growth opportunities, and foster an environment where everyone has a chance to lead. 



11:30 |  Adjourn

Event Cancellation or Postponement
AWSA reserves exclusive right to modify, postpone/reschedule or cancel programs for any reason, including but not limited to emergency, inclement weather or other acts of God. If there is an event cancellation, every attempt will be made to reschedule and registration fees will be applied to the reschedule event dates. In the unlikely event of cancellation of an event, including inclement weather, the liability of AWSA is limited to the return of paid registration fees minus actual expenses. Cancellations of travel reservations and hotel reservations made directly with the hotel are the responsibility of the attendee.

Conventions, Conferences, and Workshop Cancellation Policy
A full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received 10 calendar days prior to the start of the event. 9-3 calendar days prior to the start of the event will receive a 50% refund of the fees. After that date there will be no refunds. There is no refund for no-shows. *

Dietary Disclaimer
AWSA makes every effort to accommodate basic dietary needs such as vegetarian, gluten-free and basic food allergies. AWSA does not assume liability for adverse reactions to food consumed or items one may come into contact with while eating at an AWSA event. 

For questions about accessibility or to request special assistance during the event, please contact Kathy Gilbertson at [email protected]. Three weeks advance notice is required to allow us to provide seamless access. If you need to cancel the special request this must be done at least 3 working days prior to the start of the event. See registration cancellation policy on the event’s web page for how to cancel your conference registration.

*Refund fees retained by AWSA pay for your food guarantees, a/v equipment, meeting room rental and any hotel attritions caused by the cancellation.