Question and Answer pieces, or Q&A’s as we call them in the industry, are one of my favorite type of articles to write. It’s essentially a profile of someone whose thoughts, deeds, or mere persona we deem interesting, so right off, it’s an intriguing assignment.
Though to be honest, when you get the opportunity to delve into a person’s life or passions, you find that just about everyone is interesting in their own way.
I find this process of discovery to be the other reason I like Q&A’s so much; the ebb and flow of conversation is essential in flushing out the tiny details and little known factoids that make the final product so rich.
And while I think the final product of my Q&A with two of education’s heavy hitters was a rich and insightful look at the future of school leadership and governance, I got none of those above perks.
Though, let me be clear, it was through no fault of my subjects, NSBA Executive Director Anne Bryant and AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. I can tell you, firsthand, both of them are fascinating people— and I’m not just saying that because one of them is my boss.
No, this piece, as it had to be, needed to look broader, further, deeper into the local, national and even global issues impacting education and the people charged with providing and directing it.
So, there was no time to delve into, say, Anne’s enthusiasm for biking. Nor was there any time to quiz Dan about his early days as a teacher in the tough NYC neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens.
No, this piece was as focused on providing guidance to school and state education leaders on how to meet future challenges as the phone interview itself— 35 minutes to be exact, though if you looked at their daily schedule, snagging even that much time was a miracle.
So, we’ll all just have to wait for the in-depth profiles and look at the real Anne and Dan (what keeps them up at night, what scares them, where do they see themselves in 10 years?) for another time, and another place, and satisfy ourselves for now with their keen guidance on what they do best— leadership.
Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor