About the UNITED Conference

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are joining forces to host UNITED: The National Conference on School Leadership. Rooted in the belief that we are stronger together, this alliance offers a robust platform for school leaders at all levels to amplify their collective voice, learn from each other, and leave invigorated with fresh perspectives.

Located in the heart of Music City, Nashville, the UNITED Conference is far more than a meeting—it’s a community where you can engage deeply with peers, gain insights from distinguished leaders across the educational spectrum, and acquire actionable strategies to empower your schools. Whether you’re seeking to connect, be inspired, or simply revitalize your leadership approach, UNITED serves as your one-stop destination, tailoring its programming to meet you where you are in your journey.

About the Organizations

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

NAESP advocates for the support that elementary and middle school principals need to be successful leaders—to achieve the highest results for children, families, and communities. NAESP provides high-quality professional learning and resources aligned to leadership standards; supports school leaders in providing students a well-rounded and complete education, which includes access to high-quality early learning, arts integration, and afterschool and summer learning; and strengthens the principal pipeline through mentor training and support for early career principals, assistant principals, and aspiring principals.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

NASSP is the leading professional organization for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders across the United States and beyond. At NASSP, we are cultivating a generation of courageous school and student leaders to reimagine and rebuild an education system that meets every student’s needs by providing equitable access and opportunity.

Conference Strands

Explore the topics that we’ll be diving into at UNITED:

Building Leadership Capacity

The role of a school leader in today’s challenging educational environment is more complex than ever. Leading a community through change and school improvement efforts with a set of collaborative systems and structures is essential to empowering the stakeholders in your building. Part of our job as school leaders is to empower teacher and student leaders through intentional professional development and the building of strong relationships so that we can work together to be strategic instructional leaders for our students. By working together to create a sense of collective efficacy in our teams, we begin to build leadership capacity with our teacher leaders so that all stakeholders feel prepared to lead many aspects of operations in the school. Sub-strands include:


  • Defining The Role of the Assistant Principal
  • Implementing Leadership Coaching and Mentoring
  • Optimizing Systems
  • Utilizing Shared/Distributive Leadership Practices
  • Providing New and Early Career Principal Support
  • Planning Strategically
  • Using Structures of Collaboration
  • Supporting Aspiring School Leaders
  • Expanding Career Building and Professional Leadership Skills

Instructional Leadership

The ultimate goal of all building leaders is to support and lead teaching and learning–by being an instructional leader. This necessitates a deep understanding of research-based best instructional practices; an understanding of data analysis and the connection between data and improvement; an ability to coach and evaluate teachers; and a desire to be the lead learner of the building, staying ahead of new ideas, innovation, and research regarding teaching and learning. The most common characteristic that we hear about being a building leader is the need to be an instructional leader. This is often easier said than done when the other fires that come up during the day take us away from this essential focus. Sub-strands include:


  • Promoting a Culture of Continuous
  • Improvement • Navigating Change
  • Providing Quality Professional Learning
  • Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness
  • Bridging Academic Gaps
  • Supporting Diverse Student Populations
  • Utilizing Data to Inform Decision Making
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • Leading with a Growth Mindset
  • Thinking Strategically to Engage and Motivate Students
  • Using Innovative Practices

Leveraging Student Voice & Agency

Each student is a unique individual with their own strengths and areas for growth. They come to school the way they come to school, and it’s our job as educators to figure out where they are in their knowledge and learning and to support them with the necessary strategies and interventions to support them so they can reach their potential. Students learn best when they are engaged, actively learning, critically thinking, and doing the talking. Our goal is to share strategies and ideas to differentiate learning, to leverage student voice, and to increase student agency in the classroom so students feel motivated to do their best in school and empowered to take ownership for their learning. Sub-strands include:


  • Prioritizing Critical Thinking
  • Promoting Digital Citizenship
  • Focusing on School Attendance
  • Acting on and Providing for Students with Neurodiverse Needs
  • Offering Service Learning Opportunities
  • Emphasizing Student Leadership
  • Implementing STEM, Instructional Technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools

School Climate, Culture & Inclusivity

Have you heard the phrase, “Climate and culture will eat strategy for lunch every day?” Building relationships with staff, faculty, the family community, and students is the bedrock of a safe, strong, and empathetic learning environment for all adults and students in a school environment. By fostering a climate and culture of trust, we begin to see each other as human beings and as educators who want to do what is best for our students. And when that happens, we show our vulnerabilities about what good teaching and learning looks like. Sub-strands include:


  • Building Family and Community Partnerships
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Ensuring Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Responsiveness
  • Navigating External Climate and Conflict
  • Leading Staff Inclusivity, Belonging & Support
  • Prioritizing Staff Recruitment, Induction, & Retention
  • Creating Trust in Leadership and Schools
  • Implementing Restorative Practices

Whole School Wellness

Adults’ and students’ mental health and well-being are quite fragile. And part of the school’s responsibility is to support our stakeholders to be resilient with trauma, to effectively navigate crisis management, and to teach our community of learners how to embrace a healthy way of life by integrating tools of social emotional learning so that they can be the best versions of themselves. When students feel safe making mistakes and feel confident to be their authentic selves, high levels of learning can occur, especially when intentional systems of support are in place. Our goal is to create a school-wide system of support to empower all adults and students to feel confident in what they do with the appropriate scaffolds and interventions in place to ensure that everyone succeeds. Sub-strands include:


  • Determining Effective Crisis Management/School Safety Practices
  • Prioritizing Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Providing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
  • Implementing Evidence-based Social-Emotional Learning
  • Ensuring Student Inclusivity, Belonging and Support
  • Utilizing Trauma-informed Instructional Practices
  • Maintaining Work-life balance
  • Celebrating Staff, Students & Families


Sign up to stay on top of the latest conference news.

Updates Sign-Up

This is the capture for all of the sign-ups for updates until the meeting starts.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Join the conversation online at #PrincipalsUNITED

Reach out to NAESP or NASSP
NAESP logo NASSP logo

Music City Center
201 Rep. John Lewis Way S
Nashville, TN 37203