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COMMUNIQUÉ Publication for Members of Central OEA/NEA


Summer 2013

Scott DiMauro, President

Lily Eskelsen: Other Duties As Assigned Mark Meuser, Central OEA/NEA Fiscal Manager

The featured speaker at the Central OEA/NEA Representative Assembly was NEA Vice-President Lily Eskelsen. Ms. Eskelsen delivered a humorous yet powerful message, titled “Other Duties As Assigned” on the direction of education in this country. She began by referring to the most important phrase in the NEA Vice-President’s job description. That phrase was “other duties as assigned by the President.” Although at first she didn’t really mind washing the NEA President’s truck every Sunday, she wanted to do something of more substance, something that would have a greater impact on education in this country. So, the NEA President sent her to the jungles of Honduras. There she observed the work of the Heifer Project, an internationally respected program which helps impov-

erished people in countries all over the world. Her job was to learn how the Heifer Project had achieved its successes. What she discovered was that they had not always been successful. Fortunately, those involved with the project learned from their failures, which usually occurred when they tried to impose solutions from the top down. They only began to experience long-term success when they engaged all of the stakeholders in the regions they sought to help, from the leaders of the villages to the poorest of the poor. They were successful when they respected and listened to the people closest to the problems.

Lily quickly realized that the same principles applied to our own system of education. The recent “reforms” instituted by various state legislatures and boards of education have not been successful. In fact, they are making things worse. She called such misguided efforts “Factory School Reform.” Factory School Reform is characterized by top-down decision-making, intimidation of employees, scripted lessons, and reliance on standardized tests to measure success. Factory School Reformers do not value those on the front lines of education. They do not consult with teachers or school support personnel when devising their plans to improve test scores.

While many politicians decry the fact that the U.S. is not # 1 in every international scholastic test, they fail to recognize that none of the countries that are at the top of those lists use the principles of Factory School Reform. None use privatization, cut-throat competition, standardization, de-professionalization, prizes for winners, or shame for losers. Instead, the top countries value the profession of teaching and emphasize high-quality teacher training. So how can we combat Factory School Reform? Lily believes that it is up to teachers to spread the word. She said, “The truth is on our side. The facts are on our side. Research is on our side. And none of that will matter, if we’re the only ones who know it. Take what you learn; take what you know; take the research; take the success stories…and put a child’s face on it. Put it in a newsletter, a blog, a speech, an editorial. Become that font of knowledge so that others know more. The truth in your hands is our best offense.” From left to right: Sandra Bell-Duckworth, Rita Gore, Andre Prenoveau, Amy Grittani, Lily Eskelsen, Rhonda Gilpin, Steve Rozeski

The Third Grade Guarantee Amy Grittani, 4th grade teacher, South-Western Education Association So…we’ve all been hearing about this “fabulous” new law that will help kids be stronger readers and will hold teachers accountable, right? If you are like me, you have felt much anxiety and worry over what the new “rules” will be as this new legislation is put into place and what the cost will be for you. Well, it’s important to note that they are still changing. Currently, the House is mulling over Senate Bill 21 (SB21). There are several changes in SB21 which improve SB316 which was hastily put into law last summer. This new bill states that teachers would be considered qualified to teach “off-track” readers if they have completed one of several programs included on a list of scientifically research-based reading instruction programs. A couple of the included programs are Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative and there are several others. If the bill were passed, this option would go into effect next year and stay in place forevermore.


This means that all teachers who have completed one of those programs would no longer be required to have a reading endorsement. Teachers would no longer need to be rated “above value added” as a reading instructor. The change would be “the teacher is an effective reading instructor as determined by the criteria established by the Department of Education. If SB21 is passed by the House and signed by the Governor, it has an emergency clause so that it would go into law immediately. Although these changes won’t fix all that’s wrong with the Third Grade Guarantee, hopefully they will alleviate some of the huge pitfalls with the original law. As of publication, the Ohio House passed an amended version of SB21 that contained a number of changes. For those details visit

COMMUNIQUÉ Volume 41, Number 4


In Case You Missed It If you’re not one of the thousands reading Join the Future, Central OEA/NEA’s public education social media network, here is a sample of some of the popular articles you might have missed this spring:

Lawsuit filed over unfair teacher evaluations

Voucher opposition is expanding

Teacher of year not a fan of corporate ed reform

Summer 2013

Published four times a year as a service of


Scott DiMauro, President Adrienne Bowden, Vice President Kevin Griffin, Executive Board Liaison

947 Goodale Blvd. Columbus, OH 43212

Russell Hughlock, Coordinator of Communications and Organizing

Editors Fiscal Manager Production Photography Design

Ann Eblin, Judy Furnas & Carla Noll Mark Meuser Russell Hughlock Mary Jo Armstrong Pam McClung

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614-222-8228 614-222-8218

Summer 2013

Central OEA/NEA Presents

Building Dynamic Leadership Teams Monday July 29-Tuesday July 30, 2013 Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center 1098 Ashland County Road 3006 Perrysville, Ohio 44864 The Central OEA/NEA Leadership Development Committee would like to encourage local association leaders, bargaining team members, and Labor Relations Consultants to take this opportunity to build their leadership and bargaining teams for 2013-14. Participants will engage in team-building activities and will have time to develop their local association goals for the new school year. Locals will receive information outlining the current issues impacting collective bargaining, including legislative updates, the latest information on the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and other education reform initiatives. Locals will also receive an analysis of their local GFA.


Registration is now open at

Hotel Accommodations A block of rooms is being held at Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center for the July 29-30, Conference. OVERNIGHT ROOM RATE $111.00 plus a $2.00 per room/night technology fee.

**IMPORTANT** You must make your own room reservations using your personal credit card. Central will REIMBURSE EACH INDIVIDUAL $50 FOR THE COST OF OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS (MONDAY, JULY 29 ONLY). If you share the room, the individual cost would be $5.50 plus half of taxes. Those who do not room with another conference participant will be responsible for the full cost of the room minus the $50 reimbursement.

Summer 2013

Rooms will fill quickly. To secure your room, call Mohican (Phone: 1.419.938.5411) and tell them you are with the Central OEA/NEA Conference that begins on Monday, July 29. Deadline for registration will be June 20. All local associations who meet the registration deadline will be entered into a special drawing. We look forward to working with you this summer! Questions? Please contact Central OEA Leadership Development Coordinator:Carla Fultz at

Raise Your Hand!

Rep Carney receiving the Friend of Education Award

Adrienne Bowden, Central OEA/NEA Vice President On April 27, several hundred Central members convened at Worthington Kilbourne High School for the 42nd Central OEA/NEA Representative Assembly. The business meeting involved electing leadership for the upcoming year, setting the Association budget, recognizing outstanding local members and making important policy decisions.


The Representative Assembly started off with spirited and motivating presentations from the NEA Vice-President Lily Eskelsen and Representative John Carney. Each spoke about the importance of action and participating in the movement to change education for the benefit of our students. Representative Carney received the Central Friends of Education Award. The Central board welcomes Joy Bock (Groveport EA) to the Central Executive Board as the new OEA Board of Director #2. She will be joined by re-elected representatives Timothy Skamfer (Gahanna), OEA Board of Director #3; Janice Vaughn (Springfield EAClark), OEA Board of Director #6; Jammel C. Ammons (Newark TA), Area 1 Representative; Randy Turner (Delaware City TA), Area 2 Representative; Jim Templeton (Northeastern Local EA), Area 3 Representative; and Matthew Stein (Eastland EA), Area 5 Representative. On behalf of the Central OEA/NEA Executive Board, President Scott DiMauro presented several awards honoring Central members

and locals. The Grassroots Activist Award winners included Ashley Langenderfer (Plain Local EA), Cathy Monterio (Westerville EA), Holly Griffin (Lancaster EA), Ryan Borland (Westerville EA), Annette Hawley (Reynoldsburg EA), Carah Casler (Reynoldsburg EA). Dublin EA, Reynoldsburg EA and Tolles EA received the “LEAD” (Leading Effective Association Development) Award recognizing the effective work their locals have done throughout the year to engage members and strengthen their locals. The Richard J Hensler Meritorious Service Award went to Barry Alcock (South-Western EA). Michelle Vayansky was awarded the Accolade Award for her leadership on the Community Outreach Committee, and the President’s Award was given to Adrienne Bowden (Pickerington EA). Central Delegates took the following actions:

s Approved a $655,750

budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, donated $25,000 to help support the Strongsville EA local with strike expenses and moved $25,000 to the Crisis Fund to support any Central local that may be in need during a strike in the future.

s Voted to support OEA

New Business Item proposal 1: To amend Bylaw 8-3 (c) (5) and (c)(6) to standardize membership eligibility requirements for appointment of OEA Caucus members to OEA member committees.

s Endorsed Scott

DiMauro for OEA VicePresident, Brian McConnell (Warrensville EA) for NEA Director #3, Gretchen Washington (Sycamore EA) for NEA Director #4, Tammy Knootz (SCOPE) and Elton Burrus (Dayton EA) for OEA Board of Directors At-large (NEA Director Alternate).

s Collected more than

ayansky Michelle V e th g in iv rece Award Accolade



$4,000 for the OEA Fund for Children and Public Education

s Cyber lobbied for various educational issues.

Each of the 108 local associations that make up Central OEA/NEA is entitled to send at least one delegate to the Central Representative Assembly, which is the highest policymaking body of the Association. The next Representative Assembly is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, 2014, at Worthington Kilbourne High School.


ler Carah Cas g in d n ta their Outs receiving ards pictured ctivist Aw A ts ssroo Local Gra

Holly Griffi

ottner David Sch .D. the L.E.A g in iv rece of f al h e b n Award o urg E.A. Reynoldsb

Make sure your local is represented!

Kevin Griffin and Donna O’Connor receiving the L.E.A.D. Award on behalf of Dublin E.A.

Wendy Nic hols receivin g the L.E.A.D . Award on behalf of To lles E.A.



Our Guiding Values – An OEA RA Recap Tim Skamfer, OEA Board of Directors, Gahanna-Jefferson City Schools The Ohio Education Association held its spring Representative Assembly on May 10-11 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium with 1,058 delegates attending. The theme of the assembly was Our Guiding Values. This RA marked the final assembly for outgoing OEA President Pat Frost-Brooks, who is term-limited. During the RA, delegates elected a new slate of officers, including: President-elect Becky Higgins (NEOEA); Vice Presidentelect Scott DiMauro (Central); NEA Director #3 Brian McConnell (NEOEA); NEA Director #4 Gretchen Washington (SWOEA); OEA Board Member At-Large Tammy Koontz (Central); and OEA Board Member AtLarge Elton Burrus (WOEA). New officers of the association will begin their threeyear terms on September 1, 2013. On Friday afternoon, delegates were treated to three guest speakers: NEA President Dennis Van Roekel; Ohio Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald; and MSNBC political commentator Ed Schultz. OEA honored Schultz with its Friend of Education Award for being a strong and outspoken advocate for educators, public education, and organized labor. All three speakers moved the delegates to standing ovations with their inspiring messages.

Summer 2013

Delegates adopted the proposed OEA Core Values of Democracy, Collective Action, Fairness, Inclusion, Integrity, and Professionalism; approved the proposed 2013-14 Resolutions Report; and overwhelmingly passed Proposal 1 to amend Bylaw 8-3, Committees. Delegates also approved the appointment of Tom Beck (Central/ Retired) to a seven-year term on the OEA Appeals Board. Three new business items were brought before the assembly and passed. NBI #1 states, “The OEA will NEA President Dennis Van Roekel support careful implementation of the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics as an initiative that can engage students in a coherent, challenging curriculum to help them succeed at college and careers.” NBI #2 seeks the allocation of more OE A Pre siden funding from the t Pat Frost state to ensure -Broo ks successful implementaOEA President Elect tion of the Common Core Becky Higgins, Copley T.A. State Standards. And NBI #3 demands the immediate passage of legislation and administrative rules to end the testing of students on the existing, outdated acaEd Shultz, demic content standards. Friend of Education Award recipient The rationale for NBI #3 states: “It defies common sense for students, teachers, and schools to be held accountable for tests on standards that have been rejected by educators -- and the State Board of Education -- as inadequate for colOEA Vice President Elect lege and career readiness in Scott DiMauro, Worthington E.A. the 21st Century.” Cuyahoga County Executive, and candidate for Ohio Governor, Ed FitzGerald

Congratulations to Becky Higgins, OEA President-elect, and Scott DiMauro, OEA Vice President-elect Both will begin three-year terms September 1, following their election at the Spring 2013 OEA Representative Assembly. Becky Higgins is a first-grade teacher in the CopleyFairlawn City Schools with 19 years of classroom experience. She has served as President of the Copley Teachers’ Association, as President of the North Eastern Ohio Education Association and as a member of NEOEA’s Board of Directors. Higgins was President of NEOEA during the Senate Bill 5 crisis in 2011, and she worked to build a strong base of support for collective bargaining rights in northeastern Ohio and promote turnout from northeastern Ohio voters opposing SB 5 and Issue 2.


DiMauro, a social studies teacher in Worthington, is a 22-year educator with the Worthington Schools. He currently teaches at Worthington Kilbourne High School while serving as President of Central OEA/NEA and as chairperson of the NEA Standing Committee on Legislation. He has served as President of the Worthington Education Association, on the OEA FCPE State Council and as a frequent delegate to the OEA and NEA representative assemblies, as well as several other leadership positions.

Thank You, Bill Leibensperger Scott DiMauro, President Central OEA/NEA After 36 years of service to public education, OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger is now retiring. His bid for the presidency having fallen just short at the May 10 Representative Assembly, Bill’s departure comes earlier than hoped for. Still, he leaves behind a legacy of exceptional leadership, insight and vision that left an indelible mark on our union, its members, and the students we serve. Bill spent 23 years as an English teacher, first at Talawanda High School in Oxford, and then at Westland High School, before winning election to OEA Secretary Treasurer in 2000. For twelve of the past thirteen years, he served as an officer of our statewide organization. His stewardship of OEA’s financial resources allowed the union to successfully navigate treacherous waters, and his work as vice president helped secure a stable retirement system for members and fend off the attack on our bargaining rights. Bill first joined the OEA Executive Committee in 1989, making him the longest-serving member on what is now the OEA Board of Directors. His dry wit and thoughtful approach to problem-solving has also served the Central OEA/NEA Executive Board well throughout the 24 years of his tenure. Former NEA Director Lee Schreiner perhaps put it best when describing Bill Leibensperger’s leadership: “He is an advocate and a crusader for all that is dear to the lifeblood of educators and support professionals in Ohio. His passion and knowledge comes from the unequaled experience he has garnered from every corner of our members’ lives.” It’s not clear where retirement will lead him, but one thing Bill has made clear is that he will continue doing the work of advocating for public education in whatever he does. Thank you, Bill Leibensperger, for being a true champion for members and students!

Summer 2013

Central Supports Striking Teachers Central Delegates voted unanimously to send $10,000 to the Strongsville Education Association to help support their members who had just successfully ended an 8-week-long strike.

NEA Minority and Women’s Leadership Training 2013 This year NEA, based on the vote at the 2012 NEA RA, suspended its six regional conferences and replaced them with two larger leadership trainings. These conferences were an opportunity to conduct regional business, provide information on NEA’s budget, leadership development, and included a pre-conference training for minority and women members. In place of the pre-conference trainings held at the regional conferences, NEA held a Minority and Women’s Leadership Training East in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 22-24. Four Central OEA/NEA members were invited to attend. Tia Holliman (Gahanna EA) and Diana Long (Westerville SSA) attended the Minority Leadership Training, Erin Salzer (Pickerington EA) attended the Women’s Leadership Training, and Adrienne Bowden (Pickerington EA) was a NEA trainer at the Minority Leadership portion. Each participant stated that it was a worthwhile experience, learning valuable information that could be used immediately in their locals. Tia commented, “It was an extremely powerful weekend, led by Dr. Adolph Brown, III, who conveyed the message that educators everywhere must reach out and connect with ALL students - no matter what type of unanticipated baggage they may bring with them to our schools.” Sessions included information on developing leadership skills, priority schools, social justice, and bullying. “This was by far, one of the best conferences I’ve been able to attend. I’ve already been able to utilize the skills and strategies I learned in my sessions and I’ve already shared the bullying resources with my administrators and our AntiBullying Club,” said Erin Salzer.

Summer 2013

There will be another Joint Leadership Conference for Minority and Women members prior to the NEA RA in Atlanta, Georgia this summer. The theme will be Action Now: Organizing the Power of Diversity. More information can be found at

Erin Salzer Tia Holliman

Diana Long




O E A/N E A, Inc.


947 Goodale Boulevard Columbus, OH 43212


COMMUNIQUÉ In this issue

Central OEA/ NEA


The Third Grade Guarantee

July 29-30


In Case You Missed It

Building Dynamic Leadership Teams Summer Conference at Mohican State Park


Building Dynamic Leadership Teams


Raise Your Hand!

August 28


Our Guiding Values: An OEA RA Recap


Congratulations Becky Higgins & Scott DiMauro

Treasurers’ Workshop at OEA HQ. 225 E. Broad St., Columbus 43215


Thank You, Bill Leibensperger


Central Supports Striking Teachers


NEA Minority & Women’s Leadership Training 2013

Congratulations to Becky Higgings & Scott DiMauro

Our Guiding Values: an OEA RA Recap

Building Dynamic Leadership Teams


Registration for all of Central’s events is available at our website:



Central Supports Striking Teachers


Summer 2013 Communique  

The Central OEA/NEA Spring 2013 COmmunique