"Believe in people's abilities": Interview with John Sajdak

We want to help you get to know some of the people that make Attainment great

So, we’ll be offering occasional behind-the-scenes posts. If you want to see passionate, engaged professionals, look no further than the Attainment team! John Sajdak is one of our Training and Account Managers. An Attainment curriculum becomes an even more powerful tool when people like John, with a passion for special education, provide expert training to the schools that use it.


What initially interested you about working at Attainment?

In the 8 years prior to my adventure with Attainment, I was professionally training at an agency that serves adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness. I was simply searching for another training position with more opportunity for advancement, and then lo and behold, there it was, an ad from Attainment Company.

Attainment offers me the ability to make a difference in people’s lives on such a tremendous scale.  I knew I “had to” have the job when I first saw the posting. Improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities has been a passion for as long as I can remember. My position with Attainment allows me the opportunity to make that difference every day.


I have come to learn that there is no typical day at Attainment. There is just, “how can I help make a positive difference in your student/child’s life today?”


What is a typical day like for you?

Having been employed with Attainment Company now for a bit better than five years, I have come to learn that there is no typical day at Attainment. There is just, “how can I help make a positive difference in your student/child’s life today?”

As Training and Account Manager, a “typical” day for me means providing professional development opportunities like PowerPoint trainings and webinar-based training, or even acting on training and support videos. I also speak with parents looking for products that could assist their child’s development and offer technical support for individuals in need.

Throughout the year, I travel to various locations throughout the United States to provide training at school districts or presentations at conferences. When I am in the office, I reach out to as many potential and existing customers as possible to ensure they have the information they need to choose the Attainment curriculum or product that is best suited to their needs.


What is it like to help train and support educators using our products?

Training and supporting educators is a joy and a privilege. Each and every time I am scheduled to present, I go into it with the attitude that I am there not only to provide information, but also to improve the academic trajectory for students that – historically – have had limited opportunities.

The most frustrating part of my job is being aware of the limited amount of financial support for special education programs compared to other areas within school districts. It is not uncommon in 2015 for me to hear, “this is the first time my district has been able to purchase curriculum specifically designed for my students.” Some of the teams I visit have spent the better part of their careers adapting whatever materials are available to meet their students’ unique needs.

At the same time, I sometimes come up against the prevailing belief that students cannot accomplish the standards outlined in our products. And if we believe that the students cannot accomplish the standards, how can they? We have to believe in people's abilities and grow beyond our preconceived notions of their limitations. People with disabilities can accomplish amazing things.


How would you describe the Attainment team? What motivates them?

Attainment Company retains employees longer than any company I have every worked for or known. It is difficult to describe how and why that is. Working at Attainment is not just a job; it’s a lifestyle.

Attainment designs and develops the most well-thought out and research-based curriculum I have ever known. Attainment collaborates with teams of authors who are experts in the field. They know that applying an approach consistent with evidence-based practices helps individuals with disabilities accomplish great things.

I can say without hesitation that every Attainment employee knows that people with disabilities deserve to have the same opportunities as everyone else. Everyone approaches his or her responsibilities with that focus. That is what makes Attainment a wonderful place to go to each morning.


What's your favorite part of the workday?

I love to get out on the road and offer a presentation to a school district, human service agency, or at a local, state, or national conference. To me, there is nothing that compares to getting the opportunity to present information on Attainment curriculum, resources, and products in a manner that not only showcases the high-quality products Attainment offers but helps create a positive culture change.


What is your favorite thing about living in the Madison/Verona area?

What I like about the area is that there is always something to do, but you can also drive, bike, or run 15-20 minutes in any direction and be out in the middle of nowhere. You get the best of both worlds.


Is there something special on your work desk you could tell us about, like a photo or memento?

A number of years ago, I created a piece of art (if you can call it that) that I titled “Miscommunication.” I drew and differently colored all 26 letters of the alphabet. Each letter is overlapping, behind, or mixed in-between the other letters. The numbers 1-26 are drawn with a silver marker and are repeated in succession in the black background. 
In the piece, every word in the dictionary can be found, but sometimes you just have to look at it with a particular perspective to sort out the meaning in the words chosen.


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