Monday, January 30, 2012

Bold Leadership, Bold Action

I couldn't be more proud of the decisions made at the 56th Delegate Assembly by our elected delegates! There were some big issues and excellent debate throughout the weekend.  Delegates approved changes in our PACE Guidelines and new Vision Statement for the organization. Also approved were renewal of the four priority one items from last year. We have work to do and our lobbying effort will again concentrate on school funding, rural housing, return to retirement with dignity, and ESP retirement credit for unused sick leave. Important to our entire membership, we will focus our energy in achieving these goals. This DA was exciting, entertaining, purposeful and we even adjourned in record time! On a personal note, my sincere thanks to all who had so many kind things to say about my work as state president. It has been a true pleasure to work with so many fantastic members! There is still much more work to be done, and if you think my plan is to take it easy from now until July, guess again! I will continue to push for improving what we do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Delegate Assembly Time!

Each year we bring elected delegates from across Alaska together to set direction for the coming twelve months. It is a huge logistical undertaking and an important one to our membership. Governance leaders and our staff set the course of NEA-Alaska based upon decisions made during Delegate Assembly. Facing cuts in positions and tough bargaining in a number of school districts, we must face the realities of our own budget. This is the time to double check our expectations with the facts. While we haven't had the same circumstances as many other state organizations, any reduction in membership means a reduction in our resources. Every New Business Item (NBI) should be aligned with our mission and vision. For many years, we took up issues that were not consistent with the role we play in decision-making as related directly to public education and school employees. These were sometimes things we thought were nice and wanted to support because they felt good. We cannot afford to focus on anything that is not specific to the mission and vision we have created. I hope delegates will keep this in mind as we meet and deliberate.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, Renewed Commitment

Happy New Year! We have much to be thankful for in this new year. We have a renewed commitment to our professions and excellence in all we do. This is our 2012! It is our year to take control of our work by demonstrating our expertise and professional judgement in moving ourselves forward. The work we do in Alaska's public school districts is critical to the future of the state because we are preparing tomorrow's leaders. Specifically, we model hard work, dedication, excellence and care for our students. We take up the slack when our families or communities cannot do the job, regardless of the reasons. We teach all who enter our classrooms, gyms, cafeterias and hallways. We provide undeniable support to be sure the systems within our districts are working properly.The new Mission and Vision statements of NEA-Alaska reflect our work as an organization and powerful voice for the future. Delegates to our annual meeting later this month will take a stand on these items. It is my sincere intent that delegates take the time to think carefully about these statements. We have worked long and hard to develop them in a way that truly states who we are and where we are going.

To each of our members I wish the very best for the coming year. May it be productive, satisfying and positive!