Winter retreat and recognition meeting

BLaST IU 17 and CSIU16 held its first annual regional PIIC winter retreat where mentors gathered to refine coaching practices of the administrators, teachers and specialists. Also, BLaST IU 17 also recently held a board meeting to recognize school directors.

The theme was Learning In A Winter Wonderland and mentors worked with instructional coaches on ways they could teach others to lead with enthusiasm and harness their passion to coach while encouraging staff and students.

They learned how to identify their own strengths as leaders and reflected on what they brings to their teams.

The keynote speaker was Beth Houf, author of “Lead Like a Pirate: Making Schools Amazing for Your Students and Staff.”

The group read her book and listened to Houf share her passion about developing schools that encourage high levels of learning and empowerment for all.

“Do not be afraid to lead,” Houf said. “It’s a partnership, and you should take it where you can make it work.”

At the recognition board meeting, “we take time to celebrate and recognize the challenging and vital work they do on behalf of our students, families and communities,” shared Christina Steinbacher-Reed, executive director of BLaST IU 17.

School directors volunteer an average of 10 hours monthly to board work, adopting policy, voting on budgets, approving curriculum changes, choosing textbooks and reviewing hiring decisions.

They learned about the issues affecting public education and solutions.

Each School Director was presented with the book “The Energy Bus.”

For more information on BLaST IU 17, visit