Paul Liabenow, Executive Director
Principal Mentoring: MEMSPA and the NAESP
The Michigan Elementary Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA) is currently offering members personal mentoring and professional learning programs as member benefits. Several years ago, MEMSPA realized that its services were being used primarily by white school principals in schools that were also largely white. As executive director, Paul worked with a team of leaders to come up with a vision for improving education in Michigan. To realize the vision, MEMSPA redesigned its programs and offerings to better meet the needs of African American and Latinx principal leaders in urban areas such as Detroit. Today, 20 percent of MEMSPA principals are early career principals who receive services such as coaching and monthly mentoring chats. Additionally, weekly Tweet chats via #memspachat have become one of the best education chat experiences in the country. This valuable professional development tool allows like-minded educators to grow their professional learning network far beyond the walls of their classrooms. Miles disappear as technology provides the path for teachers, and school leaders to find ideas, share experiences, and support each other. The motivation of the learning often travels beyond the Twitter format and transforms into e-mails, phone calls, and even classroom collaborations. With the power of video-based tools such as Skype and Zoom, educator teamwork is at an all-time high around our country and our world.
Regarding MEMSPA’s current status and where it is headed, Paul says, “We are always visioning—looking ahead and continuously improving.” To vision, not only for MEMSPA but for other endeavors focused on mindful practices SEL and early literacy requires the collaborative work of leaders who have a heart for improving education for all students. He surrounds himself with business leaders, education content experts, futurists, and trusted allies who share his passion for improving the quality of life for all. A thirty-two-year educator including nearly ten years as superintendent of schools, Paul also serves as president of Core Communications International, president of the Center for Education Improvement, and owner of Liabenow Tree Farms located in Northern Michigan. His experience running a school district as superintendent and several small businesses has helped him develop a network of trusted allies.
One of the best ways to understand the value that MEMSPA brings to schools is to talk with MEMSPA members. In the book, you will find five interviews featuring MEMSPA principals.