Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Gone Fishin'?

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Gone Fishin'?

Article excerpt

Bill Bushaw is a glass half-full kind of guy. Sunny and optimistic. Always ready to a put a positive spin on any situation.

When you work for an organization facing some hard days, that's the kind of guy you want at the helm. For 11 years, Bushaw has been that guy at PDK.

Bushaw came to PDK in late 2004 as the first executive director who had never served on the PDK board. He was considered an outsider and the best hope for transforming an organization that had become more accustomed to admiring its history than planning for a different future. Only someone with Bushaw's credentials, energy, and personality could have done the work that needed to be done in the last decade.

He came to PDK with a unique blend of experiences: classroom knowledge gained by teaching middle school science in suburban Detroit and plenty of leadership experience acquired through service on a U.S. Navy destroyer during the Vietnam War, running a high school, directing an accreditation agency, and working as deputy superintendent for the Michigan Department of Education.

The overarching concern during the Bushaw years has been PDK's declining membership, which has meant declining revenue. From a high of 160,000 members in the 1970s, PDK now has only about 20,000 members. In the most difficult move of his tenure, Bushaw reduced the PDK staff of 50 to a more appropriate 25. The much-loved three-story limestone building on Union Street in Bloomington, Ind., which symbolized a national organization with a big reach, became too large and too expensive to maintain. Selling the building to Indiana University in 2008 allowed Bushaw to move the Bloomington staff into more suitable space and paved the way for moving the executive office to Arlington, Va., four years later.

Amid all of this, however, there was also growth. PDK pulled the Future Educators Association[R] into a tighter embrace, and this summer, PDK will launch Educators Rising, a transformed FEA aimed squarely at shoring up the profession by attracting the best and brightest students to teaching. …

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