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Been There, Still Doin' That

Posted by on in Education Leadership
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education conference

With the school year going into full swing, so are many of the weekend September festivities; festivals, football, and fall TV. For educators, it is also a time for weekend conferences, workshops, and edcamps.

Ever since becoming a Superintendent, I have been faced with the same questions at least once a week; below is a simple Q & A for you.

"Why do  you still participate in EdCamps, conferences, and weekend workshops?" 

Simple answer: because I enjoy them. I enjoy learning at these workshops. I enjoy learning from others and with other.  I enjoy networking.  Most importantly, I enjoy seeing how other students are learning and how I can harness their triumphs for my students and teachers.

Yes, some conferences are the same ol' same ol'.  I don't go to those.

Yes, I often run into a lot of the same people.  So?  Chances are those people are a part of my PLN (personal learning network) and I learn more from them than anything else.

Are those folks that do all of these conferences or tweets in some cult or clique?  Eh, some of them.  Just because we are on Twitter or the 18,000,000 other avenues of social media does not mean we all get along  - or should for that matter.  Difference is good.  Everyone doing the same thing.... bad. The movers and the shakers always find each other; not for popularity, so they can grow together.  Anyone who is too cool to say hi to you or spends their time spewing slander? Drop 'em like French class (who remembers that movie?).

Do you feel bad is you miss one?  LOL - no. There were some conferences / edcamps I got to go to and experience.  Some were great, some weren't.  In some cases, I served on the organizing committee. You do your time, and you move on. If it truly speaks to you, you stick around.  It's not mandated by nay means. There are scads of conferences and edcamps that I've partaken in and don't partake in now.  It's not a game changer if I don't go or help out - and it never should be.  If any edcamp or conference is built around one person, there's a big problem.

How do you get the time? That's the tricky issue these days.  I have an amazing family at home, and my 18-month-old twins require much time and talent.  That, and I want to spend as much time with them.  Family first, always.

What if you go alone? Who cares?  You are going for you; I work the same way.  I'm here to learn something.  If I don't learn, it's a waste of my time.

Seriously, you really enjoy this stuff THAT much? Hell yeah.  Education is my passion; it's what drives me.  I am a fearless workhorse who wants nothing more than to have every available option for my students and staff so they can learn.  I want our students to be productive members of society.  Those students will be taking care of me down the road; why would I not want the best for them?

Until the next conference, edcamp , or whatever the next big thing will be...

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Jay Eitner is a proud product of the New Jersey public schools. A graduate from Union High School in 1997, Jay attended The American University in Washington DC with a BA in interdisciplinary studies. He began his teaching career in Roselle, NJ teaching a variety of subjects including social studies, computers, and digital literacy. Known for being ‘outside of the box’ and for strong technology infusion, Eitner strived to make a learning environment that was student centered, data driven, and technology infused. Jay received his Masters Degree from Kean University in 2004 and was hired to teach 8th grade social studies in the nationally recognized East Brunswick Public Schools. During his time in East Brunswick, Eitner has written & received over $140,000 in grants for his students. Grants ranged from podcasting equipment to creating a fully-interactive gold-rush experience, where students dug for gold during their westward expansion unit. Jay obtained his supervisor, principal, and school administrator certificates from the NJPSA NJ-EXCEL program in 2009. Administratively, Eitner has served as a middle school Assistant Principal in the Washington Township Schools , a K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and a Superintendent of the Lower Alloways Creek School District. Jay currently serves as a Superintendent of Schools for the Waterford Township School District. He has presented a series of workshops on digital leadership, technology infusion, and student achievement. Recent awards include the 2015 national Educators Voice Award in the category of Superintendent, the White House MakerSpace distinction, and named to the national Academy of Arts & Sciences as a 2016 Educator To Watch.

Jay currently resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and is a proud Dad of twin girls and his puppy Lola.

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