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Greetings AASSA Friends and Colleagues!

From the Executive Director, Dereck Rhoads

To say that the past few weeks and months have been challenging for us all, both personally and professionally, would be a huge understatement. However, the power of teamwork and collaboration can never be underestimated.

Our motto as AASSA is We Are Better When We Work Together.  I believe we have all seen this to be true more than ever over the past few weeks and months as we have worked to address and deal with the impacts of COVID-19.  So, please allow me to say “thank you” as the focus of my newsletter welcome. 

I would like to start off by thanking the AASSA Board of Trustees. The steadfast support and leadership that the AASSA Board has provided during a very difficult time has been fantastic. I want to thank Thomas Shearer and Dr. Robin Heslip, Office of Overseas Schools, for the amazing assistance they have provided our region. Through their continuous assistance AASSA has been able to provide ongoing and increased support to our member schools. Furthermore, I would like to thank Dr. Sonia Keller, Executive Director for the Association of American Schools of Central America, Colombia-Caribbean and Mexico (Tri-Association), for her collaboration and partnership. In December 2019 the AASSA Board and TRI Board held a joint meeting to open lines of communication, collaboration and understanding. That work is certainly bearing fruit. I also want to thank Dr. Deb Welch, Chief Executive Officer for the Academy for International School Heads (AISH), for her partnership in our joint virtual support groups for Heads of School. In addition, I would like to acknowledge and thank Mark Ulfers, Executive Director for the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE). Mark, Sonia and I have appreciated the CONVERSATIONS held each Thursday and it is with much respect that we work together to support the work of schools. Lastly, I would like to thank the amazing AASSA team I am blessed to work with each day. While that work has changed to remote work locations, we have continued to operate as a well-oiled team, carrying out all the demands of ensuring that our services to schools have continued at a very high level. So, a huge thank you to our Chief Learning Officer, Adam Slaton, and to our Accounts and Program Service Managers, Arianna Durbeej, Esther Nicolau, Marie Lopez, and Terri Williams. Thank you AASSA and our entire international community. We Are Better When We Work Together!

Continuous effort and collaboration are key! Whether we call it persistence, perseverance, resiliency, grit or growth mindset, it is our ability to press forward with continuous effort and collaboration that will get us through. Keep on keeping on, and I leave you with one to think on…

“Rewiring education ultimately means changing the way we teach the things we want today’s students to learn (Couch and Towne, 2018, p. 64).

Best regards, Dr. Dereck Rhoads AASSA Executive Director


Couch, J.D., & Towne, J. (2018). Rewiring education: How technology can unlock every student’s potential. Dallas: BenBella Books.


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