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Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals

Navigating the Path of School Leadership: MASSP Pre-K to 12 Assistant Prinicipals' Conference

by Dr. Regina Massella

I became a school administrator at the beginning of the 21st century, 2000.  Moving from the comfort of my own classroom and my fellow classroom teachers to the office of assistant principal was exciting. I met one of my professional goals. I could not wait for the school year to begin. The new role was what I wanted it to be; it was exciting.  I had the opportunity to work with all of the students in the building, I was able to coach and work with staff, and I was never bored.  What I did not count on was that I missed the relationships I had developed with my teaching colleagues. We conversed almost daily on the art of teaching, new instructional teaching strategies and curriculum content that we read or heard about, how to effectively engage challenging students and collaborate with parents.

My work as an assistant high school principal was exciting, and it was lonely. I worked with two other assistant principals and the principal. The work was so busy and we all were on such different schedules during the day that there was little, if any, time for conversations about our work. The once-a-month administrator meetings were not enough for me, and I missed the opportunities for learning and growing with colleagues. Moving into problem-solving mode, I read about a professional organization in Maryland for school leaders: Maryland Association for Secondary School Principals (MASSP). After attending two of the MASSP professional conferences, I joined the organization in 2005. Both conferences I attended that year were great.  Both conferences had interesting guest speakers, a variety of small sessions on current topics for school leaders: observing effective classroom instruction, working with students that received special education services, curriculum standards, and school safety.  Later on as a principal, I presented at some of the conferences.  I found the professional relationships I missed in my life, and I continued another one of my goals which was to be a life-long learner. I met and networked with school leaders from across the state, learned about the work of leadership, was exposed to current and cutting edge research, and learned techniques for balancing my work with my life.

As part of the faculty in the Educational Leadership Program at Loyola University, Maryland, I view my membership in this professional organization as one of service to the leaders and aspiring leaders of schools in Maryland. I see my membership as a way to stay informed on current topics, which are vital to the work of effective leadership. I have the opportunity to meet with school leaders across the state and hear what is happening in schools and to be informed in what higher education can and must do to prepare effective school leaders to successfully lead schools today.

As I have grown, so has the organization. MASSP is in close partnership with the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals. Currently I sit on the Executive Board of the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals. Our executive Board not only plans conferences but we also advocate for school leaders.  As we learn more about the Blueprint Plan for Maryland’s Future, both the secondary organization and the elementary organization is in close contact with the Maryland State Board of Education to ensure the voice of school leaders is heard by decision makers.

Recently, due to the surge in Covid-19, it became necessary to cancel the Assistant Principals' Conference for both elementary and secondary school leaders which was scheduled for March. We heard from school leaders that although attending the conference was a goal, with the additional stress and responsibilities of school leaders, the protocols for schools, and staff shortages it was not possible to leave the school buildings. Therefore in optimism, the Assistant Principals' Conference: Navigating the Path of School Leadership has been rescheduled for November 9, 2022.  It will be held locally in Linthicum.  We invite not only current school leaders to attend but we also welcome aspiring school leaders to attend.

If you would like more information about the conference and the organization contact MASSP at