Happy birthday, NEOEA! 150 years! This was put into perspective for me as I was getting prepared for our Fall Representative Assembly at Thomas Harvey High School in Painesville on November 9.
A quick look back in history: first airplane – 1903, first car – 1885, first light bulb – 1878, first telephone – 1876, and the first NEOTA meeting – 1869!
At the inception of NEOEA there were no phones, light bulbs, or even cars to get to the meeting. Travel must have been by horseback, and I suppose mileage vouchers were paid in “oats.” It is impressive to know that our association has been hard at work for 150 years!
NEOTA was created for superintendents and teachers in northeastern Ohio to get together and “exchange views on questions pertaining to their special work.” The very first NEOTA Day was held back in 1907! What an amazing coincidence to hold this year’s RA at the high school that was named after the very first president of NEOTA. In the initial constitution of our organization they adopted the following: “…the object of this Association shall be the professional improvement of its members, the advancement, in true educational progress, of the schools of this section of the State, and the dissemination of correct educational ideas…”
Even though the organization was originally named the North Eastern Ohio Teachers Association, in those early days it was actually run more by administrators and was intended to provide supervision to those classroom teachers. During the 1960’s the internal affairs of the association shifted from administration to teachers. NEOTA eventually came to recognize the importance of all of the contributors to public education. The ESPs in our schools are vital to the success of our students. Thirty years ago, on November 11, 1989, the name of our organization was officially changed to recognize the importance of all ESPs, and NEOTA was renamed the “North Eastern Ohio Education Association” which is the NEOEA as we know it today.
Very similar to the constitution adopted in 1869, NEOEA’s current Constitution states the purpose of our Association shall be “…to serve as the voice for public education in northeastern Ohio; to advance the cause of education for all individuals; to promote professional improvement of its members; to promote recognition of the basic importance of the public educator in the learning process; to advance members’ interests and welfare; and to provide local association leaders with the tools to become more effective advocates for public education, members, and students.”
This is certainly more inclusive of the reality of what we do and recognizes all of the many contributors to public education. I am so proud of an organization that has been promoting public education for 150 years. The first NEOTA Day was back in 1907, and we are still providing those professional development opportunities for our members over 100 years later. NEOEA has almost 29,000 members—all with unique talents and experiences. Where will we be in the next 150 years?
United we are stronger,
Published in our Winter Issue 2020 of News & Views.