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The Season for Campaigns and Conferences

Just as our country is gearing up to vote in mid-term elections later this fall, our association is also preparing to elect its future leaders. We are pleased to announce our slate of candidates for the 2019–2020 Board of Directors. This year, 21 members answered the call to lead our association—and to build our future for social studies education. Now is the time to learn all about our candidates. If you attend our 98th Annual Conference in Chicago, you can hear them share their vision for our future at the House of Delegates meeting. In the meantime, please get to know our candidates, and get ready to vote!

Our virtual poll opens on Monday, December 3 (the day after our conference concludes). More details on the election process will be shared with all members soon. Make sure your membership is up-to-date so you are eligible to vote. Renew or join now! If you are an aspiring leader, please take stock of this year’s slate of candidates, our current Board leadership, and your local association’s leadership. Think about what your own leadership path might look like. You may envision your name as a candidate in 2020–2021, or maybe in 2030–2031.

The path to national leadership often begins at home in the local community. Many current and aspiring leaders begin their service as a volunteer and officer in a regional, state, or local NCSS council. Most social studies councils in the United States are affiliated with NCSS, and have representation nationally in our annual House of Delegates. It’s through local service and national representation that many educators hone their leadership voice with us and seek to represent our membership on the Board. As you read the biographies of this year’s nominees, you will see educators active in other social studies organizations, often as officers, conference chairs, and advocates. Although there is no one path to any leadership position, your networks, accomplishments, and interests at home often translates into a desire to lead at a national level. There are many paths on your leadership journey; one strong path begins at your local annual conference.

As the places where educators connect, share, and learn together, our annual conferences are a great place to meet other professionals and share visions and passions. Most likely, you will quickly meet your local board and be invited to lead working groups or committees to support the association’s mission. From there, you will likely be invited to run for the Board, or serve in another important leadership capacity. It really does not take long to be recognized as a social studies leader within our wider community, because there are so many ways to serve our profession. Conference season begins now. I encourage you to find a social studies conference near you that enables you to network with others and join the hard work to advance our discipline. Many of our Affiliated Councils hold their own annual meetings in September and October, or in the late winter to early spring each year. Our NCSS President, India Meissel, and I plan to attend several council conferences again this year, so be on the lookout for us to share your leadership interests and learn how to connect to our wider network.

As you scan the list of annual conference themes and programs across our affiliates, what topics do you see that emerge as the most important social studies priorities this year? Are there consistent ideas put forth in the welcome messages of each council president? Are these topics or themes important to you—and is there a way you can help advance them? I recommend starting with a scan of the council conference programs of most interest to you as a way to explore our discipline’s focus and interests this year. You can explore our own NCSS 98th Annual Conference program themes to see our program priorities for this year. Download our Conference Preview (PDF) for a deeper overview. And don’t forget to register now!

This campaign and conference season, get ready to start making your mark on our profession!