Justin Swope attends National Leaders Conference

Justin Swope, George Elementary School principal, helped represent Arkansas at the National Association of Elementary School Principals' National Leader’s Conference Feb. 28 to March 2 in Washington, D.C.

The conference gathers elementary and middle-level principal leaders from across the country in the nation’s capital to build attendees’ leadership skills, knowledge around how federal policies and programs impact principals and schools, and how to advocate on such issues, according to the NAESP website.

“I learned more about educational advocacy at the federal level,” Swope said. “I also was able to develop relationships with our state's congressmen and advocate for public schools.”

About 400 people attended the event, he said, to include state representatives, state executive directors and other school leaders.

“There's strength in numbers,” Swope said. “My representation of Arkansas gives us a voice at that level.”

This is Swope’s first year to voluntarily represent the state with the NAESP, he said.

Arkansas was touted at the federal level for the state's COVID-19 spending plans, Swope said.

“I was able to share with our congressmen the success of our summer school program and express appreciation for the funds that supported it,” he said.

Swope attended with Mark Lewis, Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals president, and Stacey DeFoor, former AAESP president. Both are from Conway Public Schools.

Swope has been an educator for 23 years and with Springdale Public schools for 14 years. This is his first year with George elementary.