The Staying Power of a Good History Lesson

Kevin Casey, SAANYS Executive Director
October 2022 News & Notes

SAANYS has recently announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with the New York State Federation of School Administrators (NYSFSA). NYSFSA is made up of the bargaining units of school administrators in New York City, Buffalo, and Yonkers. The partnership agreement is the culmination of an effort spanning years, during which SAANYS and NYSFSA first informally cooperated on select matters, and later actively coordinated on state and national legislative and regulatory affairs. The relationship between SAANYS and NYSFSA evolved over the years. Like a well-run school building or district, the relationship has succeeded as a result of clear consistent communication between us, and a collaborative mindset. The basis for that mindset was the development of personal relationships among SAANYS staff and officers and those of NYSFSA.

SAANYS meets with the commissioner of education and senior SED staff once a month, and has done so for many years. At some point in time (roughly 15-20 years ago), NYSFSA representatives were invited to join us, both in our private preparation meetings, as well as our meetings with the commissioner. This led to coordinating legislative lobbying efforts and the development of joint legislative agendas. We worked together in Albany, as well as in Washington, DC.

We later began to open our professional learning opportunities to each other and to our respective members. I annually attend the conferences of the Council of School Administrators (CSA; the NYC administrators union) and that of the New York City Elementary Principals Association. NYSFSA representatives likewise attend the annual SAANYS conference. SAANYS has put on professional learning programming for the Buffalo Administrators Association and I have been to dinners with members of the Board of Regents, SAANYS officers, and the officers of the bargaining units in New York City, Buffalo, and Yonkers.

To those unfamiliar with our history, the recently announced partnership agreement may not have been expected, but those with a greater familiarity with association history have not been surprised. The same various events (laws, regulations, policies…) over the past twenty years that have been important to SAANYS members have also been important to NYSFSA members. We have learned that we share commonalities that are far stronger than any differences, and we believe together we can be more influential and more successful than apart.

It is not lost on me that our formal partnership agreement with NYSFSA was entered into on the 50th anniversary of the formation of SAANYS. The New York State Association of Elementary School Principals and the New York State Association of Secondary School Administrators merged on September 1, 1972 to form SAANYS. The formation announcement said in part.

  “Our new association is now on its way to serving your needs and promoting your interests. We face numerous professional challenges as we cope with the issues and problems confronting education today. As we move ahead, we will be working together to improve the status of the administrator as a vital force in the implementation and operation of each school district’s educational program.”

In my mind I thank those farsighted individuals who in 1972 articulated a rationale as applicable today as it was then and who demonstrated the courage of their convictions by action. It is a lesson from which we benefit fifty years later.