Welcome back NEOEA to the 2019-20 school year. The beginning of the year is always full of both the excitement of new opportunities and the task of reestablishing routines. NEOEA is such a large association with approximately 29,000 members, so I wanted to briefly share with you some of our routines. NEOEA is organized into 10 separate groups called “units,” which are very creatively called “Unit 1” through “Unit 10.” Units 9 and 10 are comprised of NEOEA’s Education Support Professionals (ESP), and the other eight units are distributed somewhat equally across northeastern Ohio.
All of our units are represented by two Board of Director members, who are elected from their respective units every three years at the Representative Assembly (RA). These directors are the direct link between our members in each unit and with our committees and our work in NEOEA. One of these directors serves on the NEOEA Board of Directors and the other serves on both the NEOEA and the OEA Boards (which meets in Columbus monthly). Not only do they attend Board meetings, but they also are assigned to various committees that we use at NEOEA when we organize and plan all of our events.
Each year each NEOEA Director will hold two president plus one events called “unit dinners;” one is held prior to the Fall RA and the other before the Spring RA. These dinners provide a forum for each local to share their current issues with other locals and with their elected Board members and for the Board members to share everything NEOEA. Each of our Board members takes the information they get from listening to your concerns back with them to our Board and to their committee work. These conversations help steer our Association to be as relevant as possible for our membership.
Some of the topics at our recent Summer Leadership Conference held this past July included sessions on: Erasing Student Loan Debt, Restorative Practices and Fostering Healthy Families, De-stressing with Yoga, Social Media Concerns, and Beginning Bargaining School. All of these sessions came out of committees based on feedback from our membership. NEOEA has a wide variety of committees that offer opportunities for anyone who wants to get more involved. I encourage you to stop by our website at NEOEA.org, where there is a link at the bottom of the page with more information about how to join one of our committees.
I also encourage all of our locals in NEOEA to have their president (plus one) attend our sponsored unit dinners. Board members will be reaching out to all of our local presidents to invite them to attend these unit dinners. These events help us to help you! Growing our network, raising our voice, and increasing our knowledge is the reward we get from being part of NEOEA! Knowledge is Power. The strength of our collective voices is our power. The strength of our collective power is how we advocate for both our students and our working conditions.
Thank you, and I hope we all have a great, rewarding school year!
United we are stronger,
Published in our Fall 2019 issue of News & Views