Professional Educators Of Tennessee Conference: Embracing The New Normal

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

This year’s Leader U Professional Development Conference will be on June 7, at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Teachers, administrators, and other education leaders can engage in real-life conversations that will enable them to share their experiences and build common ground with others in Tennessee. As opposed to online training, in-person sessions will allow educators to develop genuine, lasting relationships while sparking creativity concerning the best ways to educate children.

Building on lessons learned over the past two years, this conference will keep educators moving forward in the shadow of doubt and uncertainty. We are featuring cutting-edge educational leaders Dr. Ann Marie Taylor, Dr. Tavia McLeod, Mary Batiwalla,  Cheri Dedmon,  Laura Roland, Tim Childers, Natalie Beach, Tammy Boyer, John Fanning, Laticia Skae, Mike Mitchell, Katrina Adkins, and others. In addition to MTSU, we will have representatives from Lipscomb University, Trevecca University, and Western Governors University on hand for those who want to pursue additional academic opportunities in education.  

The pandemic disrupted lives, businesses, and communities worldwide. Teachers knew that change was inevitable in public education, but educators had hoped they would have more control of the narrative and dictate the pace of change. They did not. This is our new normal. Together we must face it with determination, vulnerability, and optimism.

The shift in the education landscape created by this pandemic was so rapid and chaotic that it created uncertainty for educators, students, and parents. In many cases, teachers could not meet the needs of students, because assessing them was challenging. The well-being of teachers and students alike is a persistent concern. Access to technology was not adequate in communities. Many teachers had access issues and needed technology coaching themselves.

The world has forever changed and none of us can go back. The global pandemic established that education is even more critical for students than before. The women and men in classrooms across this state stepped up to meet unique and extraordinary challenges like the true professionals that they are. Teachers were expected to do more than just instruct their students. School leaders and administrators were among the most stressed during the pandemic. Still, the greatest resource has and will be where educators work together for the common good of children and their community.

Today, teachers and administrators need to address and learn from the challenges facing public education in a way that will make a positive and lasting impact on our students. Educators need to express fact-based opinions on issues like: How can we better assess students and reduce testing? What are the technological tools that can help students learn? How can we still develop 21st-century skills like critical thinking and problem-solving? What changes are on the horizon?

The pandemic denied educators an opportunity to meet face-to-face. This is a return to an in-person conversation, to communicate ideas, and/or get inspiration. The value of networking and in-person conversations has never been more necessary. The educator’s voice is needed to improve public education, so all students can adapt, think critically, and work effectively. Educators need to be engaged to drive needed change in K-12 education for students.

Leader U is a place where educators from across the state can meet and share experiences with other like-minded professionals. A place where you can expand your knowledge and find solutions  We invite all educators practicing in kindergarten through graduate schools, public or private, and certified and classified staff to join us on Tuesday, June 7, at MTSU for Leader U 2022 where we will be Embracing the New Normal together. Teachers can earn six professional development credits while administrators can earn TASL credit. The cost for the event is $60 and includes breakfast and lunch.  

Come exchange ideas, network, hear from other education leaders, and share your passion for public education. If anyone would like to attend the conference, please visit the website at or call (615) 78-0803.

Bethany Bowman
Professional Educators of Tennessee

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