Roanoke Elementary School principal Thomas Payton participated in two virtual roundtable discussions with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

Payton along with ten principals from across the country spoke with Cardona of May 10. The topics included: social-emotional support for students and teachers, state testing, educating learners through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens, closing opportunity gaps with underserved students, filling the teacher hiring pipeline with quality candidates, and CDC recommendations for social distancing.  

“I’m blown away by this incredible opportunity to meet with a sitting U.S. Secretary of Education and discuss current education topics and policies in a small group setting, not only once in my career, but twice in two weeks,” said Payton. “It also shows the importance of having a Secretary of Education who served as a public school educator. He understands the importance of tapping into the pulse of what is happening in the field and shape supportive policy.”

Payton had a second meeting with Cardona and the acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Ian Rosenblum on May 21. During the discussion they spoke about the availability of American Rescue Plan funds and the importance of state and district plans for how to effectively use the resources.

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