Before students arrived for the first day of the new school year, Locust Valley faculty members were preparing lessons, organizing classrooms and benefiting from professional development geared towards making them the best they can be.

Superintendent’s Conference Day, held on Aug. 31, included several guest speakers who offered motivation, inspiration, training and brainstorming. At the high school, for example, staff members listened to motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez, who explained the concept and benefits of being “all in.” This catchphrase caught on when Gonzalez provided a chapel message for the then-struggling New York Giants. The day after his motivational speech, the Giants beat the New York Jets and went on win the Super Bowl. Players credited Gonzalez’s speech about being “all in” for providing the motivation they needed to give it their all.

Gonzalez, a public school teacher himself, shared his background with the high school staff, explaining that he has gone all in to help children. He walked away from a professional basketball career to be a role model of a different kind for inner city children in New Jersey. Locust Valley High School teachers found themselves nodding in agreement with much of his advice, which focused on how to be there for all of their students.

Throughout the district, faculty left Superintendent’s Conference Day empowered with information and motivation for the new school year.