Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to School

Over the past few days, I've been attending back to school events for new teachers and general back to school events for all school employees. I'd like to share a few highlights with you during those events.

Wednesday, August 8th--I started the morning out in Norman at the new teacher hire meeting. Our local affiliate, the Professional Educators of Norman, PEN, held a breakfast and spent time getting to know the new teachers. Sandy Bahan, the past-president, spoke and introduced me. It was great getting to share the vision of the NEA/OEA-Great Public Schools for every child and the mission statement-to advocate for educational employees and to unite our members and the people of Oklahoma to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.

PEN and the OEA were well received and we signed up many new members. I want to thank Norman Teresa Paine, President; Joan Abbott, Vice President; Kristina Crabtree, Treasurer; Sandy Bahan, Bargaining Contact; Twana Tate-Baker, secretary; Joy Garrett-Ferrales, Executive Committee Member and all of the building representatives and members who did a great job in representing their local affiliate.

After leaving Norman, I traveled to Yukon for the YPEA meeting and new hire presentation. OEA Director and Local President Alicia Priest spoke about the Association and then turned it over to me. I again shared the vision and mission statement with the new teachers and many of them signed up at the end of the presentation. It was another positive event due to the great work of our leaders in Yukon President Alicia Priest; Vice-President Maschielle Brakefield;
Treasurer Charlotte Lopp and Marti Brown; and Secretary Susan Wolff as well as a host of other building representatives and members who did a great job in representing YPEA.

On Thursday, August 9, I got to address the 2007-08 Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association Delegates as they began to plan and "gear up" for the new school year. Everyone is very concerned about the proposals for merit pay and the extended school day. They're very unified and would love to see a legislature "walk a mile" in their shoes.

The meeting also honored outgoing TCTA President Steve Stockley. Steve will be returning to his counseling position. Steve was an outstanding leader. Denzel Kesterson will be the new TCTA President and Denzel will do an outstanding job as well. Serving on Denzel's leadership team includes Patti Ferguson, 1st Vice-President; Katherine Holland, 2nd Vice-President; and Secretary Patricia Mott.

Friday found me at Putnam City for their PCTA annual meeting. After welcoming remarks and introductions by President Jan Sands, I had the chance to address the members concerns about merit pay and the extended school day. Putnam City members understand the importance of being politically involved, and led by Vice-President Eric Winkle, they raised nearly $7500 for the OEA Fund for Children and Public Education. This year's officers include Candy Chavez, Treasurer; Vicki Vaughan, Secretary; and members at-large include Wendi Tejada, Katherine Bishop, Kathryn Davis, Judy Berger, Jody Williams, and Vivian Rice.

After finishing up in Putnam City, I went to Moore for their back to school extravaganza. A number of teachers and support professionals made it for the free lunch and chance to visit with a number of vendors. Jill Dudley and her leadership team do a great job in Moore and it is always a pleasure to visit with them and all of the Moore ACT.

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