December 13, 2015
BOLD STEP: Affinity Groups are Here

What is an Affinity Group? How can you join? 
We're glad you asked!

Recently, AESA completed a redesign process to help guide it toward a thriving future. One of the Bold Steps that emerged from the redesign process was the formation of Affinity Groups. Affinity Groups have begun and you can become a part of them.

What are Affinity Groups?
The purpose of an Affinity Group is to strengthen your networks.  A ffinity Groups will be formed around common interests or issues, rather than common job titles. Members of a group will meet electronically throughout the year. Affinity Groups are intended to support AESA members as they develop deep and authentic relationships with each other. If you work for an ESA that is also a member of AESA, you can join an Affinity Group that interests you! 
How to get involved
The first Affinity Group discussion about equality, inclusion and social justice is already underway and is open to any employee of any member-ESA who is interested in sharing resources, new learning, and successes around this topic. Interested AESA members can join this Affinity Group by contacting AESA Executive Director, Joan Wade, at jwade@aesa.usor group moderator, Scott Menzel, at We will be happy to get you started!
The second Affinity Group will start soon about the topic of blended/personalized learning. After the first of the year, more information will be available on how to get involved in that Affinity Group.

More information
We would love for you to be part of or to lead an Affinity Group. Imagine the learning that will take place when you participate in one of these groups with other liked minded professionals across the country! You can make this happen! For more information, please contact Joan Wade at
Save The Date For Next Year's Annual Conference
We hope you will mark you calendar and join us November 29 - December 2, 2017 in beautiful San Antonio, Texas for the AESA's 2017 Conference.

The theme for next year's annual conference is From Hope to Change: Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice.  

Mark your calendars too for the Summer Leadership Conference. 
The theme for this summer's conference is Partnerships:  Public and Private. 
Duncan Simester, MIT Professor, will be the keynote speaker in Providence, Rhode Island on July 18 -20, 2017.  
Peter C. Young Award
AESA wishes Peter Young a happy and healthy retirement. To honor his service, AESA created the Peter C. Young Award which will mark his legacy and recognize AESA members for years to come.

Organizations succeed when they have people who are very good at their jobs. Organizations excel when they have people with both a vision of what the organization can achieve and the talent to get it there.
AESA has been exceptionally fortunate to have had years of guidance from Peter Young. Peter was the Executive Director of Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) from 1970 to 2002. In that position, ACES became a charter member of AESA (then the National Association of County, Intermediate and Educational Service Agencies) in 1976.
Peter served on the AESA Executive Council from 1992 to 1995, and brought his agency in as the fiscal agent for AESA in 1994. He was an incorporator of the AESA Foundation in 2000.
Peter was awarded the Justus Prentice Award in 2000 for his executive leadership at both ACES and AESA. He joined AESA as CFO on July 1, 2002. Peter will retire from the job in December 2016.
As much as anyone, Peter Young is responsible for making AESA what it is today. AESA has created an award that will be given in honor of Peter for his service to AESA and our members.  The Peter C. Young Service Award will be given out annually at the Summer Leadership Conference banquet and will honor an outstanding ESA leader. 
Congratulations Peter on your retirement!  We will all miss you!
AESA launches new branding 

Perhaps you've noticed AESA's new logo and brand colors in this newsletter?
These are just a few of the updates  you'll see coming from AESA!

AESA released its new visual branding - including a logo - at the 2016 Conference.

The new look continues the shape of the globe because we are leading in a globally interconnected world.   The new colors lend themselves to diversity. The white space between represents strength in connections. The paths connecting around the globe symbolize that at AESA, we are ready to answer the call for BOLD leadership.
We are working to increase our communication efforts too. Social media is one way to stay connected to our members. If you haven't already, please:
We will be using Facebook and Twitter to provide information about national trends and issues that are important to our members and feature news happening in ESAs around the country.

Our new web site is under construction, too. Expect it to be released very soon!
Securing the Future of a Successful Endeavor:
New editor announced for AESA's Perspectives

By Scott Menzel, Ph.D., Editor

In 1995, Dr. William Keane (MI) launched Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Opinion About Educational Service Agencies.  Over the next eighteen years Dr. Keane shepherded the publication and worked closely with those who volunteered to serve on the editorial board. The publication represented a commitment to research and served as a venue for those who needed to "publish or perish" while building an empirical source of data about educational service agencies. After nearly two decades at the helm, Dr. Keane passed the baton to Dr. Brian Talbott in 2013. One of the first priorities for Dr. Talbott was to transition from an annual printed publication to an online journal where articles were published upon completion and shared with AESA members electronically as well as being posted on the AESA website. In 2015 Dr. Talbott informed the AESA Executive Director he was stepping down as editor of Perspectives and the AESA Executive Council appointed me to serve in this capacity at the annual meeting in March of 2016 with an effective date of December 2, 2016.
By way of background, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Vanguard University, California; a Master of Arts in Philosophy and Social Policy from the American University in Washington, DC; and a Specialist in Arts and PhD in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. I served as a superintendent of a small rural school district in Michigan for five years before becoming superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency for four years. In 2011, I became the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Ann Arbor, Michigan I am fortunate to work for a board of education that understands the importance of engaging in collaboration at a local, state, and national level, including supporting my selection as the third editor of the Perspectives Journal. 
I have tremendous respect for Dr. Keane and Dr. Talbott and their leadership of Perspectives over the past 22 years. As I step into this role, I think it is important to highlight a few changes that are on the horizon:
  • The editorial board and AESA Executive Council are in the process of formalizing the process related to appointment of the editorial board, terms of service, development of a job description, etc.
  • Articles will continue to be distributed as they are approved with the goal of at least one per month.
  • The editor and board will actively work to secure articles connected to the annual theme established by the Council.  This year the Council adopted "Equity and Opportunity" as the overarching theme.  The organizational efforts to align our publications, conferences, regional meetings, and the Perspectives Journal will culminate in the 2017 conference in San Antonio, Texas with the theme From Hope to Change: Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. Other strands will also be identified so as not to discourage submissions that may be relevant and important for ESAs, but not directly tied to the overall theme (e.g. innovative practices, public-private partnerships, etc.).
  • Consideration is being given to publication of a compendium of articles at the conclusion of each calendar year (for purchase) that can be distributed at the annual conference or mailed for those who cannot attend.
  • The AESA Executive Council is supportive of a slight name change from Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Opinion About Educational Service Agencies to Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Practice of Educational Service Agencies. The change reflects a commitment on the part of the Editorial Board and the Executive Council to encourage both academic publications (research) as well as articles that reflect innovation or best practices that may be beneficial to other Educational Service Agencies.
As we work to formalize the organizational structure for Perspectives during the course of the next year,  we will be seeking your opinion on ways to maximize the value of the publication to ensure it is meeting the needs of practitioners in the field. To that end, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or suggestions for how we can improve. 
Scott A. Menzel, PhD
Washtenaw Intermediate School District
1819 S. Wagner Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1406
734-994-8100 x1301