AASPA 2021 Pre-Conference Workshop Descriptions

Coming Soon!

AASPA 2020

Pre-Conference Workshop Descriptions:

AM Pre-Conference Workshops: 9 am - 12 pm

1. Bargaining Skills for the 21st Century

Dr. Beth Porter, Executive Director of Human Resources, Snoqualmie Valley School District, Snoqualmie, WA

Lester “Buzz” Porter, Jr., Attorney, Porter Foster Rorick LLP, Seattle, WA

In a post-Janus, post-global pandemic labor culture, what would it look like for every school district

bargaining team member to have the foundational skills and knowledge for successful negotiations

with public school unions? Join us for a condensed course in Bargaining Law, Engineering,

Psychology, Math, English and Philosophy as we explore the groundwork and tools necessary for

public school educators to be effective public school bargainers.


                                                                            2. Recruiting and Retaining High Quality and Diverse Workforce: Successes and                                                                                Lessons Learned

                                                                         Steve Grubb, Chief Talent Officer, Highline Public Schools, Burien, WA

                                                                         Chris Larsen, Executive Director of Human Resources, Highline Public Schools,

                                                                         Burien, WA

                                                                         Sara Baker, Director of Human Resources, Highline Public Schools, Burien, WA

The recruitment and retention of high-quality diverse staff in a school district is both a moral imperative and essential to organizations committed to implementing policy and practice solutions that are grounded in equity.  In this session HR practitioners from Highline Public Schools will share their story as it relates to recruiting and retaining a high quality and diverse workforce.  This work is grounded in our values and we have been encouraged by our successes and humbled by our failures.  In this session we will share elements of both what we have experienced that works as well as painful lessons learned.  Participants will leave the session with concrete policy and practice solutions that they can generalize to their own schools and districts.


3. Title IX for School Personnel Administrators

Jackie Gharapour Wernz, Attorney & Partner, Franczek P.C., Chicago, IL

Shelli Anderson., Attorney & Partner, Franczek P.C., Chicago, IL

Whether you are a personnel administrator who is also your school district’s Title IX Coordinator

or a personnel administrator who feels lost in the world of Title IX, this session will have something

for you! Title IX has never been more important for public schools, with lawsuits on the rise and

new Department of Education rules looming. Topics addressed will include fundamentals necessary for identifying and responding to Title IX complaints involving employees; recent changes to the law, with a focus on with a focus on practical application in the human resources realm; ensuring the rights of accused employees are adequately protected in cases involving staff-on-student misconduct; and ensuring Title IX training is adequately woven into staff development throughout the year, among others!  Every personnel administrator has a role to play in protecting students and avoiding risk—come and make sure you know yours!  


4. The Recruitment and Retention Challenge:   “Will they stay or will they go?”

Renee Russ, Superintendent, Clovis Municipal Schools, Clovis, NM

Joe Strickland, Deputy Superintendent of Employee Services, Clovis Municipal Schools, Clovis, NM

Dr. Shelly Norris, Executive Director of Educator Quality, Clovis Municipal Schools, Clovis, NM

Mandy Carpenter, Executive Director of Talent Management & Development, Clovis Municipal Schools,

Clovis, NM


From the rural lands of Eastern New Mexico, Clovis Municipal Schools will share their journey in

creating an environment full of high staff morale, teacher leadership, low turnover, and the change

in vision of leadership that has put this community on the state and national map! Leaders from CMS

will share how data and surveys were administered and dis-aggregated to find the root causes of

low teacher morale and high turnover rates. From those root causes, small changes in systems lead

to growing teacher excitement and fewer vacancies. The implementation of a Teacher Leader

Network, Site-based staffing strategies grounded in student enrollment and statistical data, and a New Principal Mentor Program have led CMS to noticeable positive change. Turnover of staff has decreased by 65% in just one year! Clovis Municipal Schools has regained its prestigious place in the educational community as the district on the rise. Participants will leave with tangible, real-world examples of success that can be implemented immediately into their own system.

5. Virtual Onboarding: Supporting New Hires in a Remote Environment

Dr. Amy Dillon, Director of Human Resources, Blue Valley School District, Overland Park, KS

Brian White, Executive Director of Human Resources & Operations, Auburn-Washburn USD 437, Topeka, KS


Beginning in March 2020, our world as school districts drastically changed. The days of traditional onboarding with all of our new hires in a room together has passed and school districts must now be creative in ensuring that essential information and district culture and values are shared with the newest members of our teams in a distance learning platform. Onboarding is the first official impression of our districts and has traditionally been conducted using face-to-face meetings. School districts must now pivot and adapt to our new reality. In this session, participants will learn about the virtual onboarding programs for both certified and classified employees of two districts.  From hire through the first few weeks of school, the onboarding programs of these two districts will be explained so that participants will leave with ideas for creating their own virtual onboarding programs.

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PM Pre-Conference Workshops: 1 pm - 4 pm

                           6. FMLA, ADA and Workers’ Compensation:  Untangling the Spider Web, Legal Update and Best Practices

                           in Leave Administration

                          Scott Macdonald, Esq., SPHR, SHRM_SCP, Managing Director, Macdonald & Associates, Middletown, CT

                         The complexity of the FMLA has been tripping up HR for over 25 years.  Adding to the difficulty is the interplay                           of the FMLA with Americans with Disability Act and State Workers’ Compensation requirements.  This session                             reviews the latest legal landscape and provides attendees with useful, practical tips and tools to navigate and  manage FMLA and ADA accommodation leaves, including how to handle excessive absenteeism, how to train administrators and supervisors about the do’s and don’ts relating to FMLA leaves, how to avoid costly claims of FMLA violations and what to expect going forward from the U.S. Department of Labor.

7. The Journey toward Mental Health Supports in School HR and Self-Care Guidance for

the HR Professional

Dr. Bill Redinger, Assistant Superintendent, Parkhill School District, Kansas City, MO

Dr. Linda Kaiser, Director, Human Resource Services, Parkhill School District, Kansas City, MO

Dr. Patty Corum, Executive Director, Missouri Association of School Personnel Administrators,

St. Louis, MO, and Dr. Stephanie Amaya, Director of Educational Programs, Park Hill School District, 

Kansas City, MO

Park Hill school district will share the journey that we have been on to provide empathy, guidance

and supervision to all employees in the area of mental health. An emphasis will be placed on the

care for these staff members before, during and after acute episodes. Topics will include compliance with state and Federal statute, return to work authorization and on-going support after return to work. The second half of the session will be designed to address the specific self-care needs of Human Resource professionals.

8.  Strategies for Creating Employee Experiences that Matter

Emily Douglas-McNab, Senior Director, Experience Management Institute, Delaware, OH

It is no secret that the experience an employee has in your organization drives their engagement. With labor

markets becoming more competitive, talented staffers have options and are switching jobs and careers to ones

that provide advancement opportunities and support diverse and inclusive workforce. Building an experience

that matters is not an easy task and must become a strategic priority across the organization. In this session we

will dive into creating employee experiences that support organizations strategy as well as diverse staff needs.



9.  A Comprehensive Training on the "EVIDENCE Model"

Brian Bock, Managing Partner, Proactive Legal, The Bock Law Group, Canyon Lake, CA

This pre-conference will focuses on implementing a cohesive, thorough, and legally defensible method to

conducting in-house investigations. The training will cover a methodical approach to all stages of an

investigation including, but not limited to: 

Evaluating complaints

Verifying allegations

Interviewing witnesses,


Examining evidence

Notification requirements

Corrective actions, and

Education to avoid future problems.

Additionally, attendees will receive sample forms for complaints and processes and attorneys will share vignettes and real-life scenarios regarding common issues that arise during the investigative process. The sessions will include ample time for an open discussion with opportunities for attendees to ask questions freely and participate actively. This training will provide all attendees with the tools and resources to feel confident and prepared to conduct their own investigations with the assistance of the EVIDENCE Model. Each attendee will also receive a formal certificate of attendance/completion of this training module, As well as a discounted opportunity to purchase the new EVIDENCE program handbook.

                                              10. A Pandemic, an Election and New Regulations Walk Into the HR Office (Because the Bar Was

                                              Closed): Hot Topics in Employment Law for Fall 2020

                                            Christian R. Shafer, Attorney and Frank E. Langan, Attorney, Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A., Minneapolis, MN

                                           This session will cover a variety of topics, including employee First Amendment rights on (and off)

                                           social media, the new acronyms from last spring’s COVID-19 relief bills that are still in effect, how                                                   COVID-19 does and does not impact the Americans with Disabilities Act, and much more.  The presenters will provide practical, real world guidance into responding to employees who insist on complaining about others or sharing their personal (including political, social, and racially motivated) beliefs in school, refuse to wear a mask, or refuse to come to work unless everyone else is wearing a mask.  The presenters will also briefly discuss the new Title IX requirements in relation to obligations to responding to social media comments that may give rise to an inference of sexual harassment.

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