December 5, 2023


Annual Conference 2023:

A Celebration of Inspiration, Leadership, and Service

The AESA Annual Conference of 2023, held last week, was an energetic gathering of educational leaders, marking a celebration of innovation, leadership, and networking.


This event, brimming with enthusiasm, was kicked off by the opening day's excitement, where attendees were ready to embrace the theme to ‘Create Magic' throughout the conference.


Conference Highlights:


A key highlight of the conference was the presentation of the inaugural AESA Women of Inspiration in Leadership Award. This prestigious accolade was bestowed upon Jan Hanlon, executive director of Mountain State Educational Service Cooperative (MSESC) in Dunbar, West Virginia. The award underscored AESA's commitment to recognizing and celebrating female leadership in education.


Keynote speaker, Chef Bruno, captivated the audience with his journey from Italy to becoming the owner of Anaheim White House Restaurant and the founder of Catarina’s Club. This organization is a testament to his commitment to community service, providing over 5,500 free meals daily to children and helping 268 families find permanent homes. His message, "If you can't find a kind person, be one," resonated deeply with conference attendees.


The first day concluded with networking and camaraderie in the exhibit hall, setting a tone of collaboration and community for the days to follow.


Day 2 maintained this high energy with a schedule packed with networking, breakout sessions, and the AESA Foundation Silent and Live Auctions. The day was further enriched by the acknowledgment of Dr. Greg Florio, who received the Excellence in Executive Leadership award.


The final day of the conference was as enriching as the preceding days, beginning with breakfast, various breakout sessions, and culminating with the general session led by Dr. Joan Wade. In her 2023 AESA annual address, Dr. Wade highlighted the organization’s efforts in leading and learning, networking, and advocacy in education. The conference also honored Gary Peterson with the Individual Achievement Award, recognizing his significant contributions to the work of Educational Service Agencies (ESAs) in the state of Oregon.


The conference wrapped up with an insightful session on Disney’s Approach to Quality Service, aligning with AESA’s focus on service excellence. As attendees departed, they were left with an invitation to next year’s conference, scheduled for December 4-6, 2024, at Omni Championsgate in Orlando, Florida.


The AESA Annual Conference of 2023 stands as a beacon of inspiration, leadership, and a dedication to service in the education system. It was not just a meeting of minds but a celebration of the collective impact that drives ESAs across the nation.


Executive Council Election

Each year, the AESA Executive Council conducts an election for open seats on the council. This year, votes will be cast to fill the seats for the Eastern and Western Regions of AESA. (The Central Region has a bye and no vote is necessary for the Southern Region, as only one candidate was nominated).


Who can vote?  The CEO of a member organization that has a paid-in-full membership will receive a ballot for that organization to cast its vote.


When is the election?  The election will be held by electronic ballot beginning Monday, December 11, 2023, and closing on Monday, January 8, 2024. 


Upcoming AESA Events


Small Staff ESAs
Community of Practice

December 7  |  2:00 – 3:00 EST
Jeremy Kovash, Executive Director of Lakes Country Service Cooperative and President-Elect of the AESA Executive Council will present on how Lakes Country has developed a Leadership Network for school superintendents. 


Women's Leadership Network
Community of Practice (Cohorts I & III)

December 7  |  2:00 – 3:30 pm EST and 4:00 – 5:30 pm EST
Joan Wade, AESA Executive Director and Lynn Cromley, AESA Consultant will lead an Open Discussion:

  • Navigating and Overcoming Leadership Challenges and Obstacles
  • Discuss the book by Elise Foster, Liz Wiseman, and Lois Allen, The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools.

Business Strategy Framework Workshop

The ESA-centric Business Strategy Framework is presented by AESA business experts. In this format, the presenters rely on several real-life ESA examples to illustrate concepts rather than utilizing the business case approach, just like in the Premier Workshop. This workshop also incorporates hands-on work with real-team projects to enhance the learning experience.


Location: Willamette Education Service District  |  Salem, Oregon


  • Thursday, December 14  |  8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Friday, December 15  |  8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Registration Fee:

  • Individuals: $1,500
  • Team of 3 or more: $1,000 per person.

SECURE 2.0 and your ESA:

What you need to know for 2024

Wednesday, December 13  | 11:00 AM - 12 PM Mountain Standard Time

Join this brief webinar on SECURE Act 2.0's impact on ESAs and staff. As presented at the AESA Annual Conference, this session provides key insights you won't want to miss. We'll cover:

  • SECURE 2.0 highlights and the provisions that impact your ESA
  • SECURE 2.0 provisions you can implement in 2024 that may benefit your employees
  • One change to your retirement plan that can help your employees immediately

Presented by: Steve Bresler, Regional Director of PlanMember Retirement Services


AESA Members in the News

Michigan’s Community Mental Health Agencies Work Hard to Prevent Youth Suicide | Second Wave Media

... Intermediate School District (WISD). “We can't minimize what we believe they are going through and make assumptions.” Doyle works closely with …

Online Tools Give Students a Voice and Choice in their Learning | The Gazette

... Area Education Agency, which provides educational services to seven counties, including Linn and Johnson. Iowa AEAs bought Pear Deck licensing …

Capital Region Students Stitch their Way to Success at Renowned Theatre | WRGB

ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — A trio of Capital Region BOCES students are honing their skills alongside the professionals at the Capital Repertory Theatre…

Vaughn Recognized by OESCA | The Review

LISBON — The Columbiana County Educational Service Center (ESC) Board of Education congratulated Superintendent Anna Marie Vaughn, who was awarded…

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