IASB Annual Convention

2021 Convention logoNov. 17–18, 2021
Iowa Events Center
Des Moines, IA

Register Now

We are incredibly excited to be planning a vibrant in-person Annual Convention for 2021 and look forward to welcoming you. As always, our keynote speakers will challenge and inspire your governance team, and our full lineup of education sessions for both experienced and newly-elected board members will be focused on issues and trends that matter most.

Key Dates

August 4: Registration & Hotel Blocks Open
August 11: Call for Student Talent Closes
September 24:
SCHED Online Agenda Available
October 26: Hotel Blocks Close
November 17: Delegate Assembly, Pre-Convention & Member-Vendor Social
November 18: Annual Convention & Trade Show

Quick Convention Q&A

Q: Can our district pay for board members-elect to attend Annual Convention even though they won't be seated until the organizational meeting in December?
A: Yes. It is an appropriate use of public funds for public purpose to provide educational experiences for newly elected board members. It is not required that the newly elected board member take office at an organizational meeting before the district expends funds for their education.

Q: When is the best time to register those running for election and those not running for election?
A: Register superintendents, staff, board members not up for election, and unopposed incumbents early. Register re-elected incumbents immediately after the election, beginning Wednesday, Nov. 3. Register newly-elected board members beginning Friday, Nov. 5.

Convention Keynote Speakers

Brandon P. Fleming

Brandon P. Fleming Twitter
Assistant Debate Coach at Harvard University & Founder/CEO of the Harvard Diversity Project

Learn more about the Opening General Session, read Brandon's official biography and use this interview between Brandon and Lou Ann Gvist as a board development opportunity.

Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao Twitter
Foundation Distinguished Professor & Expert on Globalization and Education

Learn more about the Second General Session, read Yong's official biography and use this interview between Yong and Lou Ann Gvist as a board development opportunity.

Andrew Frishman Andrew Frishman Twitter
Co-Executive Director at Big Picture Learning

Learn more about the Closing Capstone, read Andrew's official biography and use this interview between Andrew and Lou Ann Gvist as a board development opportunity.


Pre-Convention Workshops

New Board Member Academy Workshop Series
Ready, Set, Govern! New Board Member Onboarding Workshop

9 a.m.–11:30 OR 1–3:30 p.m. (repeat offerings)
Take advantage of the Ready, Set, Govern! series—all three workshops will set you on the road to success and include critical topics to focus on as a new board member. The first workshop will be in person at Convention, followed by a digital workshop in January on personnel matters and budgeting, and a digital workshop in February on student learning and superintendent evaluation. Learn more about the New Board Member Academy workshop series.

BONUS! All attendees will receive a complimentary hard copy of the 2021–22 School Board Member Handbook!

Division, Discourse and Decision-Making—the Board’s Role in Adaptive Times

Bill de la Cruz9 a.m.–11:30 OR 1–3:30 p.m. (repeat offerings)
Bill de la Cruz, Belonging and Inclusion Facilitator, De La Cruz Solutions
In a society that’s more polarized than ever, is civil discourse a lost art? Is it possible to find commonalities and connections in a divisive environment? What are the conversation schools board should be having? Skilled facilitator Bill de la Cruz will help uncover answers to these provocative questions and more. This interactive workshop is designed to help board members explore the impacts of division in discussion and decision making. Together, Bill and participants will define division, talk about purposeful conversations, and explore strategies to move through conflict. This session will deepen your thinking, model elements of relational leadership – and equip you with techniques and practices designed to help foster a culture of belonging and inclusion.

RIPE Innovations: What’s the Low-Hanging Fruit?

Andrew Frishman

1–3:30 p.m.
Andrew Frishman, Co-Executive Director, Big Picture Learning
Students, families, and communities’ expectations of schools continue to expand. In this session, we’ll delve into why specific innovations focused on Relationships, Interests, Practice, and Equity (RIPE) help prepare students for a dynamic and turbulent world. Join Andrew and graduates from Big Picture Learning schools to learn what has been most impactful for them. We’ll explore the ways to create the conditions to support sustainable innovation that benefits students, families, educators, and communities. Most importantly, we’ll discuss how school boards can lead with policy and culture that scales these opportunities to support student success throughout their districts. Bring a computing device (laptop, tablet or smartphone) and be ready to dive in!

Basics for Board Secretaries

11 a.m.–Noon
This free, mini workshop is designed to support newer board secretaries with practical tips on foundational basics such as meeting minutes, agendas and more. Connect with peers, get your questions answered and then deepen your learning by attending the afternoon Board Secretary Workshop. Now offers SBO credit!
ATTENTION! You must register to attend a Wednesday Pre-Convention Workshop. Walk ins welcome based on space availability.

Board Secretary Workshop

1–3:30 p.m.
Our popular Board Secretary workshop is a staple in our Wednesday workshop lineup! With all new content, we’ll once again shape an afternoon of interactive networking and learning focused on issues and questions most pressing to Iowa’s school and AEA board secretaries. Session offers SBO credit.

School Finance 101

9–11:30 a.m. OR 1–3:30 p.m. (repeat offerings)
If you’re a newer board member, you’ll value this introduction and overview of basic school finance concepts and terminology. The session will introduce budgeting and funding components in relation to your role on the board. Session offers SBO credit.

School Finance 201

9–11:30 a.m. and 1–3:30 p.m. (repeat offerings)
When the terms “authorized budget” or “unspent balance” come up in a board meeting, you’ll know what they mean after attending this intermediate level workshop. You’ll also understand trends using real-world data to help you meet the challenges your district may face. Session offers SBO credit.

School Finance 301

9–11:30 a.m. and 1–3:30 p.m. (repeat offerings)
This advanced level workshop provides a more in-depth analysis of important concepts such as cash/fund balance, spending authority, use of the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC), fiduciary responsibility and more. Session offers SBO credit.

2021 Trade Show

2020 was the first year, possibly ever, that IASB did not hold a Trade Show in conjunction with Annual Convention. We missed our exhibitors, and we know members missed this aspect as well. Due to the virtual nature of the 2020 Annual Convention, a Trade Show was simply not possible.

But the Trade Show is a go for 2021! Exhibitors can now submit their contracts for the trade show. We can’t wait to see and experience the bustling Trade Show, brimming with new ideas and quality products for public schools!

Visit the Trade Show webpage for more information and submit your contract. For questions, email Jeff Rohrick or call (515) 247-7047.

Delegate Assembly

Delegate Assembly & Annual Meeting
Nov. 17, 2021

The Delegate Assembly & Annual Meeting is an important annual event where member delegates gather to hold the annual meeting, set and approve the legislative platform, and convene nominating caucuses for open IASB District Director seats. Learn more.


IASB has reserved blocks of rooms for Nov. 17–18 at area hotels. Rooms must be reserved in advance and dates vary. For questions, contact the Iowa Housing Bureau at reservations@catchdesmoines.com or 1(800) 451-2625. Please do not contact the hotels directly.

Hotel blocks close Oct. 26, 2021.

Learn More


For registration dates and fees, visit our Convention registration webpage.

Register Now

  For convention questions, visit our convention contacts page, email Lou Ann Gvist or call (515) 247-7064.


Convention registrants earn
20 Better Boardsmanship credits!

Learn more about
Better Boardsmanship Awards