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INJURED TEACHER WINS BATTLE Page 17

WHO WILL TEACH THE CHILDREN? Page 9

“I see everything.” After 35 years, Tov Pauling knows how cuts do harm and what money can buy February–March 2020  |  Vol. 97  |  Issue 3  | mea.org


LETTER TO MEMBERS

Branding Conveys Deep‑Rooted Values It’s hard to sum up in words all that our union does to represent and advocate for our members, for students, and for public education. Now imagine trying to convey it visually. Not easy—but that was the charge we set out with last year in convening a redesign of MEA’s branding. It had been more than a decade since we considered what we want people to think and feel when they see those three letters that mean so much—MEA.

Leaders and members joining together in solidarity make MEA an unwavering voice for school employees’ rights, working conditions, and benefits; for best practices that lead to student success; for healthy neighborhood schools; and for social justice across our most vulnerable communities. We love the result of our rebranding: a refreshed look with an updated font and a logo that speaks simply yet powerfully to our collective strength and purpose.

Paula J. Herbart President

But, more important than our look and our logo, you’ll see us continue to stand strong for the things that make this union great.

Champions for Education.

That includes the great stories in this issue about advocating for new school funding through regional enhancement millages, protecting the rights of members when they need us most, sharing our professional expertise with each other and the public—and, yes, our collective power at the ballot box, starting with the March 10 Michigan presidential primary election.

Watch the video introducing our new look at mea.org/branding. Then head over to check out the new

As always, thank you for all you do— and for standing together for public education and the greater good.

The rule of threes is subtly at play in the lines and angles that come together to form our new mark. Uniting K-12 educators, support staff, and higher education employees. Advocates for our students, our schools, and our communities. M-E-A. Today we have the same spark and resolve as the incredible men and women who came before us to create the great union we know as the Michigan Education Association.

logo on shirts, hats, cups and other goodies at mea.org/merchandise. You’ll begin to see MEA’s new brand in materials going forward (while ensuring that we’re not being wasteful—until we run out of our old envelopes and letterhead, you’ll still see the old logo!).

Chandra A. Madafferi Vice President

Brett R. Smith Secretary-Treasurer


CONTENTS

4 Editor’s Notebook 6 News & Notes 8 Member Voices 16 Election 2020 22 Issues & Advocacy 23 Awards & Honors 25 Region Elections On the cover: Local union leader and longtime custodian Tov Pauling talks about the importance of support professionals (page 5) and how state funding cuts have taken their toll over the past decade (page 10).

12—COVER STORY: A first-year teacher brought physical education back to a small town.

18—STRENGTH IN UNION: With MEA’s help, this injured teacher won a battle for benefits.

Executive Director����������������������Michael Shoudy Director of Public Affairs������������������� Doug Pratt Editor������������������������������������������������ Brenda Ortega Staff Photographer�������������������������Miriam Garcia Publications Specialist��������������� Shantell Crispin

9—MY VIEW: In part four of this five-part series, a third-grade teacher worries that added pressures on our state’s youngest students and their teachers will drive educators away.

The MEA Voice ISSN 1077-4564 is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association, 1216 Kendale Blvd., East Lansing, MI 48823. Opinions stated in the MEA Voice do not necessarily reflect the official position of the MEA unless so identified. Published by Michigan Education Association, Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573. Periodicals postage paid at East Lansing and additional mailing offices. Payment of the active membership fee entitles a member to receive the MEA Voice. Of each annual fee whether for active or affiliate membership, $12.93 is for a year’s subscription. Frequency of issue is October, December, February, April and August. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the MEA Voice, Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573 or via email at webmaster@mea.org. Allow at least three weeks for change of address to take effect. MEA Voice telephone: 517-332-6551 or 800-292-1934. Circulation this issue: 112,999

24—AWARDS & HONORS: A Rockford bus driver wins inaugural ESP of the Year award.

34—MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: An Ann Arbor educator wrote a moving “Teachers Anthem.” MEA VOICE  3


NEWS & NOTES

Editor’s Notebook It seems that not a day goes by without some news or commentary popping up to show how underfunded Michigan’s schools have been in the past couple of decades. Bridge magazine reports on the explosion of long-term substitute teachers in our state’s classrooms. Education Trust-Midwest documents that Michigan is in the bottom five states nationwide when it comes to equitable funding for vulnerable students. Launch Michigan releases its first recommendations after 18 months of deliberation among unlikely allies from the worlds of business, foundations, and education—including MEA President Paula Herbart—calling for more education funding overall and greater equity for disadvantaged kids. (See story, page 22.) Is anyone listening? My answer would be a qualified “Yes.” One hopeful sign is this month’s cover story on regional enhancement millages. It’s not a sexy subject, but to my mind the success of these millages in varied regions of the state reveals the public’s discontent with the Legislature’s ongoing failure to adequately support our schools. Perhaps you heard last year that educators from every employee group in Detroit Public Schools Community District received pay increases to stem educator losses and shortages— even as the district was able to stabilize its finances after years of deficits. That was thanks to an enhancement millage, a lesser-known type of funding measure which provides unrestricted general fund dollars for schools, passed by voters across 33 districts in Wayne County. So far, eight regions of the state have passed these millages, including Wayne. One MEA member I interviewed for the story was Dave Daly, an English teacher in Wayne-Westland who is a homeowner in Detroit. Daly previously worked seven years in a charter school where because of turnover he became a “veteran” teacher and department chair in his second year. “Everybody I know in Detroit understands that charters are not the solution to our education problems, and if we want to build our city back up again, the only way to do that is to build up our traditional public schools,” he said. “They’re the driving force of a community.” This election year is especially critical to the future of public education. I find hope in the growing recognition that schools matter and they need resources to thrive. It won’t be easy, but by continuing to work together we can win for our students and our state. 

4  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

—Brenda Ortega, editor

99%

The percentage of educators’ applications to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that were denied between May 2018 and May 2019, under U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “The very least we can do is make good on loan forgiveness promises for these individuals who are so critical to the future of both Michigan’s students and continued economic resurgence,” MEA President Paula Herbart argued in a Jan. 14 Detroit News op‑ed on the subject.

QUOTABLES

“Michigan voters keep reaffirming that they want public tax dollars to go exclusively to public schools.” Dan Korobkin, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, quoted in a Bridge magazine story about a case being decided this year by the state Supreme Court on whether the Legislature can give public tax dollars to private schools for complying with state regulations.


NEWS & NOTES

ICYMI­—Census 2020 The once-a-decade United States Census provides a fascinating teachable moment for students of all grade levels, intersecting social studies, mathematics and other disciplines in concrete ways. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools program is offering free, teacher-designed resources at census.gov/schools that connect with various academic areas, including math, geography, history and more. There are resources specific to the 2020 Census, broken down by grade-level, including pre-K and English Language Learner targeted information, as well as engaging state-by-state facts, videos and maps to help engage students. MEA is committed to ensuring a “Complete Count” for our state. Everything from federal funding for critical children’s resources to Michigan’s representation in Congress depends on an accurate count of residents. Visit mea.org/census for resources and updates.

QUOTABLES

Above and Beyond No one asked MEA member Jessica McGrath to start a food pantry for hungry children in her Wayne-Westland school. But when the food services employee realized youngsters coming through her line for breakfast and lunch were going without dinner at night or meals over weekends and holidays, she was moved to action. “I talk to them, and they tell me things,” she says. “Or I see they have no jacket, and I ask ‘Do you guys need food?’” Instead of just worrying, McGrath started a canned goods drive, including prizes for classrooms competing to bring the most non-perishable items. Then she found a quiet way to send the food home—in returnable backpacks. “Some of the kids might be embarrassed, so this way no one knows; you just hand it to them and they’re on their way,” she said. McGrath doesn’t want accolades. But her local union president, Tov Pauling (this month’s Voice cover subject), raises the program as an example of what districts receive when they resist outsourcing the work of education support professionals like McGrath, who’s been in her job for 10 years. “You don’t see that kind of dedication from an outside company. Our people live here, work here, and their kids go here. Our people care.”

“Research shows that students have a positive opinion of a teacher who has a ratio of four positive comments to one negative or one redirection— and it can be as little as a smile or a reaffirming nod to as much as a verbal compliment.” Christine Rushlow, PlymouthCanton special education teacher, who will present her engaging session, “A Balancing Act: Working with Kids with Behavior Difficulties” at the newly expanded MEA Conference for Aspiring and Early Career Educators in March. Learn more about the conference and how to register at mea.org/conference-expands. MEA VOICE  5


NEWS & NOTES

UPCOMING EVENTS MARCH 2 Read Across America

Nationwide

Educators across the country will be “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.” Visit nea.org/ readacross to to access reading and teaching resources.

MARCH 7 MEA/MAEA Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition

MEA Headquarters, East Lansing Members in good standing of MEA and MEA-Retired can submit artwork for an annual art exhibition and sale. Works will be accepted Feb. 24-March 6, from 8-5 weekdays and 10-noon on Saturday, March 7. For information, go to mea.org/art.

Conference Expands to Include Early Career Educators MEA member educators in the first 10 years of their careers are invited to join university student members for a newly expanded MEA conference in March that will deliver professional development, networking opportunities, and training sessions. From data-driven practice to addressing behavior difficulties, the challenges of working with young people require knowledge, patience, and persistence. What are some ways to keep a classroom running smoothly? How can creativity fit into lesson plans? What are ways to understand diversity and encourage inclusion? How can educators advocate for students in the civic arena, and what are some self-care tips to better handle stress in this demanding—and rewarding—profession? The conference on Saturday, March 21, will cover those topics and more. The keynote speaker will be Michigan Teacher of the Year and MEA member Cara Lougheed, a teacher in Rochester Community Schools. For more information and to register, go to mea.org/aem-conference.

MARCH 13-14 ESP Statewide Conference

MEA Headquarters, East Lansing Education support professionals will gather to network and train on topics such as legal issues, ESP certification, privatization, school violence, and member outreach and engagement. The winner of the Leon A. Brunner Award will be honored.

APRIL 17-18 Representative Assembly (RA)

Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing

MEA’s highest governing body will meet for the Representative Assembly to consider the organization’s policy matters for the coming year. Delegates are elected from locals around the state.

Engaging Early Career Educators Newer MEA members—in their first five or six years of experience in public education—now can apply for SPARKS, a hands-on program designed to develop the next leaders of the association. Applications are being accepted through March 2 for a June 16-18 SPARKS for Early Career Educators retreat. SPARKS is targeted specifically toward people who are in their 20s and 30s, are people who have little or no association experience, and are potential association leaders. Learn more and apply at mea.org/sparks.

6  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020


MESSA, Experian provide ID theft protection for members In the digital age, where data is king, threats to personal information seem to always be just one key click away. MESSA wants to be sure that our members are protected. That’s why we partnered with Experian, a leader in the credit industry, to provide our members and their dependents free year-round credit and identity protection—and the peace of mind that comes with it. MESSA members receive two levels of free protection through Experian Identity Restoration and Experian IdentityWorks. With Experian Identity Restoration, all MESSA members and their dependents are automatically covered. If you suspect your identity has been compromised, contact Experian at 877.736.4495, and a dedicated investigator will work to recover financial losses and restore your credit. No enrollment is required with Experian Identity Restoration.

Experian IdentityWorks offers extra protection at no charge to MESSA members and their dependents. This service includes credit monitoring, up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and child monitoring for children under age 18. Enrollment is required with Experian IdentityWorks. To get started, go to messa.org/Experian. Experian suggests also taking the following steps to help prevent identity theft: • Turn on two-factor authentication whenever possible, which requires an extra step during the login process. • Change passwords frequently to guard against data breaches. • Use a password manager to make it easier to keep track of your passwords as you change them.

The good news is that MESSA automatically provides Experian Identity Restoration to all members. Taking the extra step to enroll in Experian IdentityWorks will offer you even more protection. If you have any questions, please call MESSA’s East Lansing‑based Member Service Center at 800.336.0013. Our member service specialists are happy to help.

MESSA previously provided members identity theft protection through AllClear ID, which offered an extra level of protection with AllClear Pro. That coverage expired Dec. 31, 2019. If you were enrolled in AllClear Pro, you must enroll in Experian IdentityWorks for the extra level of protection it provides. Learn more at messa.org/Experian.

• Sign up for identity theft protection. MEA VOICE  7


MEMBER VOICES

Get involved in Election 2020 Who needs “latte funds” anyway?

By Kay Walker Telma MEA-Retired president

Welcome to 2020. Have a cup of coffee and relax for a moment. Then, get to work. With the November election a mere eight months away, we’ll be looking at the Election Day date on the calendar much more quickly than we can imagine. Members of our MEA family— whether aspiring educators, active public education employees or retirees like me—are pleased that we and other Michigan voters elected a pro-public education governor when Gretchen Whitmer took office last year. However, we know that our work is far from finished. We must work to get a President and individuals in the House and Senate—both in Lansing and Washington, D.C.—who will do what must be done for the students of this state and country. As many a speaker has said at various MEA events, MEA members are busier than ever, serving our students throughout the state all day, Monday through Friday, and often spending countless hours to prepare for a day’s work. WE, the members of MEA-Retired, are the “daytime faces of MEA” who lobby legislators, give of ourselves to work on political 8  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

campaigns, write compelling letters to editors of publications, volunteer for many important causes and support our active members. We all know that in order for our pro-public education candidates to conduct successful campaigns for office, they must have the resources to do so. We give our time, our talents and our tenacity; we must also support with funds that will ensure that those who support our students and staff can claim victory come November. When it comes to funding campaigns, big corporations and wealthy individuals are able to easily contribute large donations to candidates and causes that work to their advantage. However, we have seen in recent years that many individuals making smaller donations can make a difference, too. MEA has over 120,000 members—aspiring educators, those currently working in public schools and us, our retirees. There is power in numbers to work on campaigns, to contribute funds and to win elections. We can and must use those numbers to our advantage in 2020. I give of my time and funds to the causes and candidates I support

because I know that I am doing my part to make a positive difference in MY future as well as that of those whose future is in our hands: our children. Making your contribution with a PAC envelope is one easy way to support pro-public education candidates. Making a secure donation online at meavotes.org is easy, too. Donations can be one time or continuing. Indicating the name of your coordinating council when you donate means that 40% of your contribution will come BACK to your area for local candidates supported by your local MEA affiliates. Donating to PAC doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Working on a campaign doesn’t mean hours away from other activities. Invite a friend over for a steaming cup of Joe instead of going out for a latte. Grab those travel mugs and head over to a candidate’s office to make a few calls or stuff some envelopes. If every member of the MEA family did that once a month for the next year and donated both time and those unused “latte funds” to PAC, what a difference that would make. 


Four—Who Will Teach the Children? by Nicole Droscha Third-grade teacher, Mason Public Schools

“We still have so many third graders not meeting target scores for reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. How will we close these gaps by year’s end? What other strategies or interventions can we try? What other resources can we use to reach more kids?” These difficult questions are tackled by me and my third grade colleagues in our Professional Learning Community, or PLC meetings, where we spend an hour every week analyzing our most recent literacy data to target our instruction. This huge task weighs heavy. We strive to help every child improve literacy skills—with intense focus on struggling readers. This year’s meetings have felt especially nerve-wracking with the Read by Grade Three law and its retention mandate going in effect. Teaching is demanding and timeintensive work. I wonder how each of my third-grade teaching colleagues will continue to handle the burden of additional tasks they must perform to meet the law’s requirements: layers of paperwork, data collecting, data inputting, and data analysis. Greater communication with staff, students,

will be used to decide which kids qualify for retention. Is it reasonable to expect third graders to perform well on their first experience taking a demanding, hours-long standardized test, especially with such high stakes looming over their heads? This is a heavy burden for any child to bear, let alone his or her teacher. and families. More time spent on meetings. One of my greatest fears is the additional stress this law places on third-grade teachers. Traditionally, third grade has been a pivotal year rich in growth and discovery. Kids transition from lower to upper elementary, where the curriculum expectations increase and the content presented intensifies. Children progress from learning to read with a focus on foundational reading skills to reading to learn with a focus on comprehension skills and deepening content knowledge. Third graders also take their first M-STEP, the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, a summative assessment used to measure how well students are mastering state standards. A cut score, determined by the state,

I wonder who will survive teaching third grade and for how long. If third-grade teachers feel overly scrutinized and pressured to perform, who will want to teach this crucial grade level? Will thirdgrade teachers feel targeted? Will this create a revolving door into and out of third-grade teaching positions? How would constantly rotating staff ever master thirdgrade curriculum to best support their students? Students, educators, and families need to feel supported, not fearful of failure. We need funding to put more resources in place to help our children achieve their full literacy potential. We need a voice in creating thoughtful plans to grow improved literacy skills for our children that will build a more successful and hopeful future. Our time and money are well spent investing in our children. MEA VOICE  9


Longtime school custodian Tov Pauling has a unique perspective on what’s happening in Wayne-Westland schools. To sum it up, he quotes Carl Reed—the custodian character from the 1980s “Brat Pack” movie, The Breakfast Club—“I am the eyes and ears of this institution.”

“No joke,” he continues. “I see everything.” 10  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020


COVER STORY

More Districts Tap Lesser Known Funding Source How “Enhancement Millages” are helping students and educators By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor

In his work role over the past 35 years—and now in his third term as president of his local MEA unit of custodial, food service, and transportation employees—school custodian Tov Pauling has traveled far and wide through his large suburban district. What he’s observed in WayneWestland over the last dozen or so years has similarly played out in other school districts big and small, rural and urban, across the state. It has not been easy to witness. “Before this last contract, our (support staff) employees hadn’t had a raise in about 11 years. And the young teachers were hurting…

stuck on step one for several years, they were leaving. They went into other careers, or they left for other districts that were paying more.” He couldn’t blame them for bailing, he said. As a trusted sounding board, he often listened to young teachers’ complaints about the below-average starting salary level where they remained trapped during a multiyear step freeze. “I heard a lot of them saying, ‘I love being a teacher, but I can’t live like this. I’ve got a bachelor’s degree, and I’m still living with my mom.’ We had people with families on Bridge cards. They were frustrated.”

Now the tide has begun to turn in Wayne-Westland, thanks to a game-changing revenue source that an increasing number of school districts are tapping. “It’s built the morale back up,” Pauling said—referring to wage and salary increases that have stabilized staffing in the district. Following years of inadequate school funding from the state, districts are banding together to pass a different kind of funding measure—known as a Regional Enhancement Millage—which provides general fund dollars for operating costs.

The Loss Decade, 2010-2019, in 3 Macomb County Districts 2010-11 Per-pupil Foundation

2019-20 Per-pupil Foundation

Center Line Schools

$9,823

$9,863

$40

-$1,443

Fitzgerald Public Schools

$8,489

$8,529

$40

-$1,243

Utica Community Schools

$7,807

$8,242

$435

-$804

District

Change in actual dollars

Inflationadjusted change

MEA VOICE  11


Regional Enhancement Millages School operating revenues come primarily from the state through the foundation grant allocated to each district on a per-pupil basis. The only way districts can receive additional operating revenues to meet student needs is through an enhancement millage that is levied in all K-12 districts within an ISD. School districts representing a majority of students within the ISD must pass identical resolutions asking for the enhancement millage proposal to be placed on the ballot, and a majority of those voting in the entire ISD must approve the question for the millage to pass. The ballot question may ask for up to 3 mills on all property for up to 20 years. School districts in eight ISDs have approved enhancement millages:

Monroe (.99 mills) for 5 years, $269 per pupil (renewed 3 times) Kalamazoo (1.5 mills) for 3 years, $332 per pupil (renewed 5 times) Midland (1.5 mills) for 5 years, $458 per pupil (renewed one time) Muskegon (1 mill) for 10 years, $170 per pupil Wayne (2 mills) for 6 years, $388 per pupil Kent (.9 mills) for 10 years, $227 per pupil Charlevoix-Emmet (1 mill) for 10 years, $606 per pupil Ottawa (.9 mills) for 10 years $226 per pupil

Macomb County is considering an enhancement millage on the March 10 ballot (1.9 mills) for 10 years, $418 per pupil The money from an enhancement millage goes to all public school districts within the boundaries of an Intermediate School District (ISD) if a majority of voters in the region approve it. Unlike bond measures, the money can be spent on whatever priorities a local community chooses. “Every region in the state should be passing an enhancement millage,” says MEA Economist Ruth Beier, who has made it her mission in recent years to educate both MEA members and superintendents about the flexibility of enhancement millages and how to get them on the ballot. Regional enhancement millages have been allowed under state 12  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

law since the 1994 passage of Proposal A, the state Constitutional amendment that fundamentally altered the system of funding public education in Michigan to reduce disparities between rich and poor districts (in theory). Ever since then, no single district can ask voters to raise taxes for general operating funds, but a group of districts within a region can do so. In 25 years, only 8 out of 57 regions have passed enhancement millages—but five of those have come in just the past five years. Next month, a ninth will try. On Michigan’s March primary ballot, voters in Macomb County are being asked to approve 1.9 mills over 10 years, which adds up to $1.90

per $1,000 of taxable valuation to provide an additional $418 per student in 21 school districts. A community coalition supports the Macomb for Kids campaign, because as the website states, “Michigan’s school funding system is failing our students.” The measure will allow schools to reduce class sizes, grow career and technical programs, and improve school safety. Student needs are increasing and resources from the state have not kept pace, said Dr. Bob Ross, school board president at the state’s second largest district—Macomb County’s 28,000-student Utica Community Schools. “We’re tired of cutting, and there’s nothing left to cut,” he said. An MEA member and respected physics professor at University of Detroit Mercy, Ross said the state has continued to pass unfunded mandates, such as the third-grade reading law, which puts other programs and services in jeopardy, such as art and music. “The people in Macomb County love their kids and want them to have the best opportunities,” said Ross, whose four grown children attended Utica schools. “This is something that can create a galactic shift in the way we educate our kids.” Polls show 7 in 10 Michigan voters believe the state’s public schools are underfunded. And numerous recent studies have documented the dramatic gap between the cost of educating a child in Michigan and the amount of per-pupil funding school districts receive from the state. The most thorough analysis ever conducted in Michigan pegged underfunding at a staggering $2,000 per student. The study was released in 2018 by the School Finance Research Collaborative, paid for by a bipartisan group of leaders in business, foundations, and education. [See related story on Launch Michigan, page 22.]


COVER STORY

EMMET COUNTY—Alanson For the last few years, students in Alanson Public Schools about 10 miles north of Petoskey did not have physical education classes. Declining enrollment and inadequate state funding meant the course had to be cut from every grade level except for one semester of high school to meet graduation requirements.

now serves as the principal and superintendent of the district’s one school building. She proudly discusses the changes that the community has made with the influx of dollars from the millage. In addition to returning physical education and movement to the school routines of youngsters, the district’s board responded to community desires to bring back a counselor position cut eight years ago. In addition, each year over three years, a core curriculum is being replaced.

This year, thanks to a regional enhancement millage passed by voters across three counties in 2017, Alanson’s 223 K-12 students not only have a new PE teacher—she’s a former high school state champion in the 300 hurdles who ran track at Grand Valley State University.

Over two years, all new Chromebooks were purchased, and afterschool clubs got a funding boost.

First-year teacher Kylie Hicks says she’s thrilled to be home in northern Michigan, where she’s once again close to her family—especially mom and fellow MEA member Sue Hicks, who teaches second grade in Boyne City. On a recent winter day, Hicks’ Kylie Hicks elementary students seemed thrilled too—they were navigating an obstacle course wearing new pedometers they would eventually take home to keep after learning about the importance of staying active every day. “I wasn’t quite sure what I was walking into as a first-year teacher with nothing set up from years prior, but it’s been amazing,” Hicks said, noting she’s been mentored and helped by both a teacher and administrator in the district. Make that the ONLY administrator in the district. Rachelle Cook, who started at Alanson 12 years ago as a teacher,

“Our students will continue to fall behind if our school funding system doesn’t address their wide-ranging needs,” the study said. Education funding increases in Michigan are last in the country over the past 25 years, a Michigan State University study reported last year. Simply dedicating the same share of the economy to education as a decade ago would give schools the dollars they need, the report said.

Last school year, every teacher received $1,500 to enhance their classrooms, “and it was like Christmas; they were so excited,” Cook said. “They bought things that could be reused—a kidney-shaped table in one classroom. Robotic and engineering materials. Magnetic letters, things like that.” A boost to the athletics budget eliminated pay-to-play requirements for students. A new phone system, compatible with the local e-911 system, enhanced security. And last month, the media center reopened staffed by a newly hired media specialist for the first time in nine years. “It’s nice that there are no strings attached, and between the school board, the teachers, and me—we get to decide what we need and how we want to spend that money to benefit our kids the most,” Cook said.

Beier, MEA’s economist and expert on the subject, agrees. Most school districts in the state have only recently surpassed their per-pupil funding level from 2010 in actual dollars. With inflation factored in, it’s clear to see the financial losses schools have suffered in the last decade. [See table, page 11.] The precipitating factor came in 2011 when the GOP-controlled Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder

passed a $1.7 billion business tax cut and cuts to education, which forced Michigan districts to slash $478 per student. “The state turned its back on schools and then kept facing the other way, which devastates an education system,” Beier said. “One answer to this is the enhancement millage, which allows local school districts to increase their own operating revenue.” MEA VOICE  13


COVER STORY

OTTAWA COUNTY—Hudsonville In Hudsonville, it wasn’t difficult to rally MEA members to get out to vote in favor of the 2018 Ottawa regional enhancement millage. Everyone knew the money would be going to help address the biggest issue facing many schools across the state—student behavior and student mental health. Money from the millage hired counselors to reduce caseloads and behavior specialists to oversee a district-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system. “We’ve seen the results immediately,” said Hudsonville Education Association President Shelly Stokes.

Ross Veldheer

work with PBIS teams at every building. The two coordinate lessons and modeling of behavior expectations from the busses to hallways, playgrounds, classrooms, and cafeterias. “There’s research behind it, there’s a lot of thought and time invested in making decisions, and the rollout has been really intentional,” Stauffer said.

Training on student trauma and classroom de-escalation techniques has given her tools for dealing with challenging student behaviors which have been on the increase, Stokes said, adding: “I feel inspired.” Heather Stauffer Having new staff dedicated to designing and implementing a research-based PBIS system means that work doesn’t simply become another task for teachers to tackle alone. Instead, expectations for student behavior, along with rewards and consequences, become a team effort and evolve into a cultural norm. Newly hired specialists and MEA members Heather Stauffer and Ross Veldheer

Both Democratic- and Republicanleaning areas of the state have passed regional enhancement millages, most recently in the Ottawa ISD, where 0.9 mills generates $226 per student in 11 west Michigan districts over 10 years. The additional funding had an immediate impact in Grand Haven schools where seven new social 14  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

workers were hired to boost counseling and mental health services for students, said Amy Cahalan, president of the local education association. “I think it’s important for our communities to see that it works,” Cahalan said. “The money is going right into the programming and services that we had lost because of

“I’m excited because we’re in the buildings every single day, so it’s not this outside person coming in and maybe giving you some good strategies and then they’re gone,” Veldheer said. “We’re going to work with the teachers, build those relationships and be someone they can partner with.” Every building also has a support plan for high-need students who may require individual help at times. “We’re building capacity by talking about trauma with the staff and by teaching those kids it’s OK to have big feelings and that we will have practices in place in the classroom so that teaching can continue to happen,” Stauffer said. First-grade teacher Nicole Terpstra said she appreciates knowing someone is there who can help with a child who might need extra attention, and she appreciates having a common language that unites all school employees and students. “Everyone understands because I’m using the same language as the PE teacher, the bus driver, and the fifth-grade teacher,” Terpstra said.

the cuts we’ve gone through the last 15 years.” Before Ottawa, it was Wayne, Charlevoix-Emmet, and Kent County in 2017, and Midland, Kalamazoo, Monroe, and Muskegon before that. What districts choose to buy with the money varies—from technology


COVER STORY

WAYNE COUNTY—Wayne-Westland During a pay freeze in his district, MEA member Steve Conn watched as teacher colleagues left Wayne-Westland Community Schools by the dozens. “People were having resume-building parties, looking for jobs in other districts. Some left education altogether.” As years passed, with educators stuck on low rungs of the salary schedule, the poaching by wealthier nearby districts became so bad that even teachers who hadn’t applied for jobs were getting calls to work elsewhere.

Back in 2011-12, as drastic state funding cuts forced Wayne-Westland teachers to accept a 5 percent salary cut and a multi-year step freeze, Conn was several years into his career as a high school teacher. He and his wife—a teacher in neighboring Plymouth-Canton Community Schools—had a new baby and a mortgage. Today they have a second child and about $1,800 a month in child care expenses alone. “I had started to think I’ve got to go—and I love this job. It’s the job I always wanted. But I can’t live with money always being tight after two master’s degrees and 13 years in.”

“It got to the point where other districts just said, ‘Oh, we need a math teacher. Let’s start cold-calling teachers in Westland,’” said Kevin Marchi, a 30-year Spanish teacher in the district, member of the bargaining team, and MEA Region 2 president. This school year, those who stayed Steve Conn were rewarded for their loyalty. Thanks to a regional enhancement millage passed by Wayne County voters in November 2016, the latest contract in Wayne-Westland returns teachers to the step where they would have been if they had never been frozen. “For me, as a teacher with 14 years and two master’s degrees, I received a $22,000 increase in pay over last year,” Conn said. “That translates to about $1,000 extra per month— about $500 a paycheck.”

upgrades to mental health services, additional staff to reduce class sizes or caseloads, expanded Advanced Placement courses, new curricula, career-technical and STEM program upgrades, new buses, and improved security systems. Some districts have eliminated deficits. Others, like Wayne‑Westland and Detroit, increased salaries and steps for employees who had taken

When the bargaining team brought the new contract to membership last spring, they received a standing ovation, Marchi said. “People couldn’t believe it—one of the questions was, ‘What do we have to give up?’ The answer was nothing. People that were frozen on steps had already given up so much—we calculated some lost $130,000 during that time.” Now some educators who left are returning to the district, Conn said. “Once again Wayne-Westland is perceived as a financially stable district, a place where you can work and raise a family, so we’re posting jobs and we have lots of people applying.” Other priorities for the enhancement money in Wayne‑Westland included new curricula and new buses.

concessions or suffered freezes over multiple years—a move to address educator shortages that include teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, and others. Many of his members have expressed gratitude for the turnabout in the direction of pay, Wayne-Westland’s Tov Pauling said of the custodians, bus drivers, and food service workers he represents. “We all care about the kids. We

give 110 percent, and it’s nice to be valued.” That’s why—whenever MEA’s Beier talks with a superintendent about budget problems—she ends every conversation with the same question: “When you are going to take matters into your own hands and ask your voters for an enhancement millage?”

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ELECTION 2020

Where do the presidential candidates stand on public education? Learn more at StrongPublicSchools.org—and don’t forget to Vote on March 10

With just days remaining until the March 10 Michigan presidential primary, do you know who you’re voting for? Now is the time to learn where the candidates stand on critical issues for public education students and school employees, from funding and school safety to healthcare and college affordability. That’s why NEA has launched StrongPublicSchools.org—your online resource to everything related to the 2020 presidential election. On the site, you can find an interactive candidate comparison tool, that allows you to pick the candidates you’re interested in learning more about and see their position on key issues side by side. You can also watch video interviews of the candidates who’ve visited with NEA President Lily Eskelsen García as part of NEA’s candidate recommendation process. All candidates from both parties, including President Trump, have been invited to take part in that process. You can either watch full interviews with the candidates, or you can watch their answers to individual questions of interest to you, like how they intend to choose a Secretary of Education or address racial and economic inequality in our schools. The site also includes highlights from three education issue forums with the candidates, background information about NEA’s recommendation process, and ways for you to commit to taking action—including voting for pro‑public education candidates in 2020. Visit StrongPublicSchools.org today to learn more—and please remember to VOTE in Michigan’s presidential primary on (or before) March 10!

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Vote From Home for March 10 Primary Under new rules, Michigan voters can request a ballot to Vote From Home. Take advantage of this convenient new option by completing the form on the next page—you can even check a box to be put on a permanent list to request the application form for all future elections. Learn more at mea.org/VoteFromHome— including how to look up your local clerk so you can submit your application form. Applications should be mailed by the end of February to ensure time to get your ballot back, or you can always submit the application in person to your local clerk in order to cast your vote!


STRENGTH IN UNION

“I thought I had my whole life planned out. Then this happened.”

With MEA Help, Injured Teacher Wins Long and Tough Battle for Benefits By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor 18  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020


STRENGTH IN UNION

LIKE MANY educators, Jennifer Gougeon-Catarino has always been a planner—independent and efficient at getting things done. A teacher friend once called her “Polly Positive” for her go-getter spirit.

someone else being there to support me. There was so much I didn’t know. Who to call for this? What form do I need for that? What are my rights? What should I do?”

Other therapies challenged her to avoid bumping into walls while walking and bouncing a ball. She wore a headband equipped with a laser to practice tracking the beam of light with her eyes.

“I was productive, and I was in control,” she said. “I thought I had my whole life planned out. Then this happened.”

AT THE TIME, Gougeon-Catarino did not realize the extent of damage the strike had caused. She did not lose consciousness. Afterward, despite having a headache and feeling “a bit off,” she was even able to drive herself to the hospital.

Initially she couldn’t drive, relying on friends, neighbors or the metro connect van service to get to and from sessions two to three times a week. In between appointments, she worked on daily exercises—often with the help of her son, Cayden, who was four years old when she got injured.

Four years ago, standing in the open doorway of her classroom to give instructions to her seventhgrade English students at Hillside Middle School in Kalamazoo, Gougeon-Catarino experienced a life-changing accident. School was letting out 30 minutes early for bad weather conditions. Teachers were releasing students by the clock instead of a bell. She was reminding her kids to stay safe on the sidewalk and avoid walking in the icy street as many often did. Suddenly, an over-excited student running past her room in the hallway slammed her door shut. GougeonCatarino absorbed the force in a blow to her head. Only the presence of several children gathered in front of her stopped her fall and averted her face from hitting the floor. The brain injury she suffered on Feb. 24, 2016, would change her life’s trajectory. “It was accidental, but because of a student’s bad choice in behavior, I was taken out of teaching. I did three years straight of vision therapy and occupational therapy and learned a great deal about the brain. I’ve had to adjust to a new normal.” One boy’s momentary impulse would cost her the career she loved and plunge her into a lengthy and exhausting battle to secure a future for herself and her young son—a fight that MEA helped her wage every step of the way. “I haven’t stopped singing the praises of the union,” she said. “I can’t imagine navigating all of this without

She didn’t know traumatic brain injury can lead to secondary impacts which evolve over hours and days—cellular, chemical, tissue, and blood vessel changes that can contribute to further brain damage in a cascading effect. “It happened on a Wednesday,” she said. “The next day we had a snow day, and I took off the Friday to rest. I was scheduled to go back for a follow-up at Bronson (Medical Center) on Monday morning, and initially I only put in for a half-day sub for that day. I thought ‘I’ll go, I’ll get checked out, and I’ll be right back into my classroom.’” She spent the long weekend in bed to avoid light, which worsened her pain. Then came time to go to the hospital for her follow-up, “and just that short five-minute drive, and the fluorescent lights in the doctor’s office, had me covering my head waiting to be called.” A depth perception test revealed the loss of her ability to judge distance and see things in three dimensions. Her right eye didn’t track with the left one. A quick referral got her in to see a neurologist within a week. Soon after she started therapy at Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation. By that time, “I had no peripheral vision left at all, and without depth perception I would run into things a lot. My initial therapy for the first few months was literally walking a straight line, forward and then backward and sideways.”

She practiced focusing on letters printed on a rubber ball swinging from a string. She stared at a spot and tried to read letters on sticky notes arranged in a circle to rebuild her peripheral vision. She wore special glasses with different-colored lenses that showed if one eye was not tracking. She practiced multi-tasking with a sort of sheet music that directed her to clap her hands and tap her toes to a beat. Reading gave her a headache. It would be 18 months before she built up to reading in 20-minute increments and was able to finish her first book. “I would have to put a blank page over most of the text and just go down line by line, so I really had a much better appreciation for some of my students who’d had sensory issues in class.” Doing too much would cause headaches and force her brain to shut down. “I called it my hibernation mode. I didn’t have a choice; I would just be in bed. I could not move, I wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t drink all day long.” Over time, she saw improvement in some vision problems. The biggest issue that remained after months of therapy—which she still deals with today—is the inability of her brain to filter out extraneous stimuli. The over-stimulation causes frequent headaches and brain fatigue. MEA VOICE  19


STRENGTH IN UNION

happened to her but glad she felt supported while working to recover.” When the new school year started that September after her injury, Gougeon-Catarino was further required by the state to return to “light duty”—which felt anything but light—for two hours every other day, at $10 an hour. Her workers’ compensation benefits were reduced accordingly. She was placed in the classroom of a special education teacher who also had help from a paraprofessional. On bad days, she had trouble making it from the parking lot to the office before needing to lie down from her head spinning. “I’d have to touch the wall the whole way to her classroom, or have a student walk with me. I could never be in the hallway during passing time. It was horrible.”

Jennifer Gougeon-Catarino’s son Cayden, now 8, helped her rehabilitate after traumatic brain injury.

“I definitely can’t do things for more than a couple hours at a time, and then I need to make sure I have enough rest time,” she said. “I get extremely fatigued, I get headaches, I get dizzy. When I get over‑stimulated, I’m off-balance again, running into things.”

“That first summer, workers’ comp wanted me to volunteer in a summer school classroom as an assistant to see how I could handle a classroom setting. I don’t remember if it was once a week or twice a week for an hour or something at a time. That was tough for me.”

Her doctor says those problems are permanent. “That’s my biggest issue yet, so there’s no way I could be in the classroom and try to focus and manage and actively watch everything going on.”

Meanwhile, Kalamazoo Education Association President Amanda Miller helped Gougeon-Catarino input professional development hours to renew her teaching credential. Miller also stepped in when her sick time did not accumulate properly during the leave.

EARLY ON, Gougeon-Catarino had to begin easing back to work to keep getting payments from the state insurance program for people injured on the job—Workers’ Compensation.

20  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

The local president remembers looking up to Gougeon-Catarino as a new teacher working in the same building. “She is great with kids,” Miller said. “I’m so disappointed this

Still she finished the year, complying with requirements to increase to four hours every other day by spring break. “That was too much. I spent every weekend in recovery, doing nothing with my son.” Her exhusband took on more parenting time, but not being with her son was painful. That’s when MEA UniServ Director Tim Russ suggested she apply for duty disability retirement, “a long and daunting process that is essentially admitting her career was over,” Russ said. “It took several months of communication and advocacy to get her on the journey.” The legal threshold for drawing early retirement is “total and permanent” disability which is a loaded term emotionally, Russ added. GougeonCatarino admitted it was difficult to accept. “I used to be super-mom and superteacher—in at 6:30 in the morning, not leaving until 5:15 when I had to pick up my son at daycare, come home, make a home-cooked meal,


STRENGTH IN UNION

play with him, and get up the next morning to do it all again,” she said. “Who am I now if I’m not a teacher?” But she had to face reality. Always frugal, she knew savings wouldn’t last long without income. When she finally agreed to apply for disability retirement, Russ helped her through the process. Several months later, the answer came back from the Independent Medical Advisor at the state’s Office of Retirement Services: Denied. A separate application for Social Security disability was also turned down. Then her Workers’ Compensation benefits were terminated. “It was really scary,” she said. It took more than one year and two four-inch binders of medical records and documentation for her MEAprovided attorney, Karen Schneider, to put together Gougeon-Catarino’s appeal on behalf of MEA. “It is time-consuming and complex, and you have to be dogged,” Schneider said. “It’s a little bit like fighting City Hall. Most people don’t have either the background or the knowledge of what they need to do, and they just give up.”

At the end of October, one day after her birthday, Gougeon-Catarino got a decision on her disability retirement appeal: Granted. With 23 years of service. She would also have access to health care as a result. “I’m a fighter, and I wasn’t going to give up, and it finally feels like it’s all been worthwhile,” she said. “Now I tell all my colleagues that are still teaching, ‘Keep paying your union dues. You never know when you’re going to need it, and when I needed it they were there 100 percent.’” A QUIETER part of her battle has been internal. Gougeon-Catarino was always the kind of teacher who enjoyed building relationships with students, getting to know them and letting them know her, discussing meaningful issues in class, laughing a lot and showing she cared. But for the first few months after her injury, she was just angry. “The constant headaches, the fatigue, all the things I was missing out on with my son. Everything. I was frustrated.” It hit her one night, she said: “I thought, This is ridiculous. You’re not getting anywhere by being mad and focusing on what you can’t do. So I challenged myself to focus on what

I did still have, what I could still do, and I started every night writing down at least one.” On her worst days, in pain or unable to function, she might only write down “warm house to live in” or “food in the fridge.” But the gratitude journal helped her believe things would work out. A brain injury support group and her church community gave her a place to give and receive support. To combat isolation, she tried making friendly conversation with people when she was out and about. And she found volunteer opportunities that made her feel like a teacher again—supplying books to residents of a homeless shelter once a week, mentoring a second grader at her son’s school, tutoring two students in reading, ministering to jail inmates, and helping a human trafficking survivor with English skills. Sometimes she has to cancel activities if she’s having a “bad brain day,” but people are understanding. “I’m finding new ways to be productive,” she said. “This has been quite a journey, but it’s opened up other possibilities and I feel good about it. My life has meaning and purpose again.”

What is Disability Retirement? For school employees who become disabled before reaching retirement age, two types of early retirement exist: duty and non-duty disability. Whether the disability occurred on the job or is unrelated to the workplace is the major difference between the two, according to Karen Schneider, an attorney with the White Schneider firm who represented MEA member Jennifer Gougeon-Catarino in her disability case on behalf of MEA. Either way, the standard is difficult to meet: to win, the person must be both totally and permanently disabled. “The best thing I can do is to build their medical case to a very convincing and unassailable level,” Schneider said. Schneider handles about six duty and non-duty disability retirement cases involving MEA members each year, she added, calling it “one of the great joys of my career” to represent all MEA members but especially disabled applicants. “In these cases, you’re working with an individual who is in some type of vulnerable physical or mental state, and if you can help them there is no better feeling in the world,” Schneider said.


ISSUES & ADVOCACY

Funding, Literacy Top Launch Michigan Recommendations Amid a contentious political scene nationally, a diverse group of Michigan leaders from the education, business, civic, and philanthropic realms—often at odds in the political arena—have spent the past 18 months seeking common ground on education policy. In December, the unusual coalition known as Launch Michigan released its first set of recommendations for rebuilding a public education system battered by years of underfunding and punitive accountability approaches. The phase-one agenda for 2020 includes a focus on elementary literacy and increased funding based on need, commonly referred to as weighted funding, in which all schools receive

the same base amount with additional money allocated for at-risk and underserved students. Beginning the coalition’s advocacy work with an emphasis on providing adequate and equitable resources is an important start, said MEA President Paula Herbart, a co-chair of Launch Michigan’s steering committee. “To be successful we must fund our students, we must fund our educators, and we must value and respect what they do for our economy in the state of Michigan and for the global society at large,” Herbart said. For too long, “fixes” to the education system have been mandated without the input or broad support of educators, said Doug Rothwell, a Launch

Michigan co-chair and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Launch Michigan represents a different approach,” Rothwell said. “Never before in Michigan’s history has such a diverse coalition aligned behind a common set of education improvement recommendations.” Read the full story at mea.org/ launch-recommendations.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention By Jennifer Dooley M.Ed., MAED. Sixth-grade teacher Pontiac City School District

However, even if we get the equity piece in place, there is still one big factor that makes the difference in how well students learn. Everything begins with the educator.

I am ecstatic when organizations and policy makers recommend funding schools with a weighted formula based on student needs. It is an important first step to acknowledge that not all children are the same nor are they afforded the same economic advantages.

Minority representation in the education profession is dismal, and it’s not because qualified professionals don’t exist. That situation has to change. Having educators of all ethnicities present in schools improves self-esteem, confidence and identity security for all students.

Meanwhile, though, it’s all that much more important for white educators— especially those in majority-minority schools—to examine their own biases and prejudices to enable and enhance their ability to become culturally sensitive to the needs of student learners. Educators who open themselves up to better insights and understanding about their students will be more successful and more likely to endure in the profession for years to come.

Read Jennifer’s full column at mea.org/DooleyView. 22  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020


AWARDS & HONORS

Union Leader Wins National Award As a teacher in Huron Valley over the past decade, Nick Peruski’s approach asks students in his high school business, multimedia, and web design classes to face challenges, develop and test solutions, and learn from what works and what doesn’t. “It’s so hard as a teacher because our instinct is to help kids, but when you step in to help you’re preventing a teachable moment from occurring,” he said in an interview.

At the same time, as vice-president of the Huron Valley Education Association, he worries about underfunding of public education and the resulting teacher shortage. “We need to attract talent to the field and inspire our children to consider a career in education, so that has got to change.”

Nick Peruski

For his student-centered approach, the local MEA leader was honored with a national Milken Educator Award. Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching,” the award comes with a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize and membership in the National Milken Educator Network. Peruski spent seven years as a middle school math teacher before he transitioned into his current role teaching and overseeing the district’s career and technical education (CTE) department. In his project-based business class at Lakeland High School, Peruski has students run a virtual company and manage personal finances in a simulated world. Students apply and interview for jobs, develop a product line, track sales, and process payroll. They receive virtual paychecks and learn to balance personal checkbooks while paying for rent, utilities, food

and other life necessities. They write and present business plans for competition at the state and national level, where they also design and operate a sales booth at huge student-run trade shows and compete to solve global business challenges. His multimedia class exposes kids to a range of skills in video, audio and photography. Kids whose interest is piqued in one area can move on to other programs that offer a deeper dive. As a Milken winner with a newly widened sphere of influence, Peruski will develop a platform that he’s interested in advocating about on a bigger stage. It will be tough to choose, he said. He’s passionate about CTE and creating more opportunity for young people.

But he’s also interested in advocating for greater diversity in the profession so students can see themselves reflected at school. He recently joined his district’s diversity committee several years after deciding to come out to his students by talking about his husband on the first day of school. “I wanted be an example to kids. I have students that are gay or transgender or dealing with gender issues and feeling isolated. My not talking about it was making it worse.” What he loves most about teaching is not only the fun and challenge of finding creative ways to engage kids and teach difficult content. “I like teaching them how to be tolerant of each other and kind and caring. That’s often overlooked when we’re talking about standardized tests. “Teachers have an amazing opportunity to help kids develop into good people and wellfunctioning adults.”

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AWARDS & HONORS

Caring Bus Driver Wins State Support Staff Award

Rockford bus driver Russ Clark, known for his dedication to the students with cognitive impairments who ride his bus, was recognized as the statewide Education Support Staff Professional of the Year at a surprise assembly in December. The MEA member was selected from among 250 nominees for getting to know students individually and showing them he cares. Shy and humble, the 66-year-old retired factory worker drives students with varied needs, ranging from elementary to high school age. His passengers think he’s fun. Parents say he’s patient and attuned to children’s needs. One of those parents—Beth Walla— is an MEA-member fourth-grade teacher in the district who understands that driving a bus is challenging in itself. Add in students with special needs, such as her non-verbal daughter Libby, and “It takes a special person,” she said. “He loves her like a grandpa,” Walla said. “To know when she gets on the 24  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

bus with him, she’s safe and loved and cared for and her needs are taken care of. That’s priceless.”

children have ongoing physical issues, such as seizures, which can suddenly arise.

Clark began driving a bus 10 years ago, after retiring from 32 years at a GM plant. Before marrying his wife Carla 21 years ago, he raised two daughters alone. He has always connected with kids, and children with special needs are no different to him, he said.

During an emergency, he has had to stop the bus to call 911 and contact parents. Because he knows his students well, he can recognize a problem when it’s brewing and alter his route to get a child home sooner, Rockford Transportation Director Jacquie Fase said.

“You treat them like they’re your own,” he said in an interview after the ceremony. “They have feelings. You’ve just got to listen and try to understand.” Every child on his bus gets a card and gift on their birthday and treat bags at holidays and the end of a school year. The kids on his bus enjoy listening to Clark sing along to the radio. “It makes the kids laugh, so I keep doing it,” he said. “It’s just another way to reach them.” However, every day is not filled with songs and laughter. His kids struggle with many challenges, which can lead to meltdowns. Some

“Going down the road, looking backwards in a mirror, he can tell if he’s got a kid in trouble,” Fase said. Clark seemed uncomfortable with the praise. “They’re my friends,” he said of the children. “They need a lot of attention, but they give back much more than they receive. I’m just happy they think as much of me as I think of them.” As part of the award—which made a return in 2019 thanks to a partnership with MEA, AFT Michigan, and AFSCME Council 25—MDE presented Clark with a check for $1,000.


REGION ELECTIONS

Region Election Information

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14 Election procedures required to be followed in the regions comply with relevant federal laws.

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ELIGIBLE VOTERS Voter eligibility listings will be created from information received by the MEA Membership Department from the local associations by Feb. 7, 2020 LOCALS USING PAPER BALLOTS FOR THE REGION ELECTION

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1. The region at-large election shall be conducted on March 3, 4 and 5, 2020.

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2. If your unit is not scheduled to work during the above days, the election shall be conducted on March 10, 11 and 12, 2020. 3. If inclement weather or another emergency interrupts the election listed above, it shall be on the next consecutive workday (s), but no later than March 24.

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MEA VOICE  25


REGION ELECTIONS

ABSENTEE BALLOTING

ELECTRONIC VOTING

The region at-large election is an on-site election. However, eligible voters who are not able to vote on site during the election period may notify their local association president of their need to vote by absentee ballot. The request must be in writing, include the specific reason necessitating an absentee ballot and be received no later than Feb. 21 by the local association president. Eligible voters requesting an absentee ballot and complying with the above requirements shall be mailed an absentee ballot by the local association election committee. An absentee ballot must be returned by U.S. Mail and received by the local association no later than the last day of the election. Late absentee ballots shall be unopened and set aside as void ballots.

Members of regions 2 thru 18 participate in MEA’s Online Region Elections. Get involved by voting for your MEA Board members and your Michigan and National delegates anytime between 8 a.m. Monday, March 2, and 3:59 p.m. Monday, March 16. Use your home computer, library computer or school computer (if allowed). Sign in at mymea.org/ onlinevoting and follow the prompts. If you have problems, call for help at 517-337-5440 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. After hours, leave a message and someone will get back with you as soon as possible. Members access the website using the last four digits of their Social Security number. There will

be a continuous ballot for ESP members, who will begin with the Statewide Region 50 Ballot and continue on with their region’s ballot. Positions elected by acclamation at the December Region meeting will be noted on the ballot. Online election rules and an explanation of the process will be forwarded to local presidents and Region election chairs the last week of January 2020. This information will include the procedure for members who do not wish to use the online process to request a paper ballot. The request for paper ballots from individuals or locals must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Feb. 14 to Mike Ostertag in the MEA Executive Office.

CANDIDATES IN THE MARCH REGION ELECTIONS REGION 2

Position 1-MEA Board of Director/NEA RA Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Heather Fitchpatrick, Plymouth-Canton E Position 3 -MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Jennifer Lamb, Livonia E; Cristen Belloni, Van Buren E; Renee Selix, Garden City E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Dave Daly, Wayne-Westland E; Ben Edwards, Livonia E 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Dave Daly, Wayne-Westland E; Dawn Pierz, Wyandotte E 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Jennifer Lamb, Livonia E Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR

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1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, immed. thru 3/31/21; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Tov Pauling, tov0727@gmail.com

REGION 3

Position 1-MEA Board of Director/NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jeff Condon, Adrian E Position 2-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jim Brousseau, Milan E Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Rhoshawda Miller, Ypsilanti Community E; Maria Arellano, Adrian E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Percy Brown, Ann Arbor P Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Rhoshawda Miller, Ypsilanti Community E; Charlotte Tillerson, Ypsilanti Community E; Maria Arellano, Adrian E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 5-EA NEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Rhoshawda Miller, Ypsilanti Community E; Maria Arellano, Adrian E


REGION ELECTIONS

Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Leslie Rollins, Manchester E; Allen Porter, Ann Arbor E; Maria Arellano, Adrian E; Rhoshawda Miller, Ypsilanti Community E; Charlotte Tillerson, Ypsilanti Community E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Ann Marie Borders, Ann Arbor E Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Leslie Rollins, Manchester E; Nick Marshall, Napoleon E; Jared Throneberry, Manchester E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; Tom Gunnells, Napoleon E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; NNR 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12 -EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Leslie Rollins, Manchester E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jared Throneberry, Manchester E 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR Position 13-EA NEA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Wendy Crocker, Napoleon E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immediate thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: D’Andra Clark, dandra.clark23@gmail.com

REGION 4

Position 1-MEA Board of Director/NEA RA Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR

Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20: Hope Kahler, Harper Creek E; Julie Tourjie, Calhoun ISD P Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Rachel Foreman, Harper Creek E 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Julie Tourjie, Calhoun ISD P Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Lisa Gurney, Harper Creek O 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Allan Sherwood, asherwood2@sbcglobal.net

REGION 5

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Chris Furlong, Portage E; Eursla Moore-Doyle, Kalamazoo OPT Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Mary Cooper, New Buffalo E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Kaj Holm, Galesburg-Augusta E; Elizabeth Doyle, Kalamazoo OPT 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Christine Payne, Kalamazoo E; Eursla Moore-Doyle, Kalamazoo OPT Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Robynne Lewis, Kalamazoo OPT; Kaj Holm, Galesburg-Augusta E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Laura Payne, Kalamazoo E; Elizabeth Doyle, Kalamazoo OPT

1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Randy Pomeroy, Kalamazoo E; Eursla Moore-Doyle, Kalamazoo OPT Position 5-EA NEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Mary Cooper, New Buffalo E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #6 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Keith Klann, Dowagiac Union E; Aaron Rubley, Berrien RESA E; Laura Payne, Kalamazoo E; Christine Payne, Kalamazoo E; Randy Pomeroy, Kalamazoo E; Bronson Wolfe, Mattawan E Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Rebecca Drayton, Gobles E #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Mary Cooper, New Buffalo E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Tim Wicklund, Decatur E 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Daniel McKenzie, Dowagiac Union CMT #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Bill Herod, Lake MI College M #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Jennifer Schmidkunz, Buchanan T Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR 2 positions*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, immed. thru 3/31/22; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 3/31/22; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate # 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Bill Herod, Lake MI College M 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, immed. thru 3/31/22; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 3/31/22; NNR Elections Chair: Mary Cooper, mcooper@mymea.org

REGION 6

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Maryanne Levine, Chippewa Valley E; Liza Parkinson, Utica E Position 2-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g)

MEA VOICE  27


REGION ELECTIONS

#1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jon Fielbrandt, Warren E Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Cathy Murray, Port Huron E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Karen Abella; Warren E; Kim Cook, Port Huron E; Amy Langmesser; East China E; Kelly Simko, Algonac E; Andrea Pilatowski, Utica E Position 5-EA NEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Chris Kriss, Fitzgerald E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Areej Meengs, Warren E; Karen Abella, Warren E; Kim Cook, Port Huron E; Becky Kennedy, Port Huron E; Stephanie Givinsky, LakeviewSt. Clair Shores E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Mary Sokacz, Capac E Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Krista Schneider, Lakeview-St. Clair Shores P; Lisa Dobbins, Lakeview-St. Clair Shores P; Traci Pawlak, Lakeview-St. Clair Shores P Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20, Kelly Simko, Algonac E #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; Kelly Simko, Algonac E #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Mary Sokacz, Capac E #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Lisa Luberto, Algonac E Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Heather Belesky, Memphis E Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Krista Schneider, Lakeview-St. Clair Shores P #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Lynn Butterworth, Port Huron O #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jacob Reno, Lakeview-St. Clair Shores P #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Lisa Dobbins, Lakeview St. Clair Shores P Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Traci Pawlak, Lakeview St. Clair Shores P; Linda Conley, Port Huron P #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Rayna Palmer, Port Huron O Elections Chair: Heather Schulz, hschulz28@gmail.com

28  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

REGION 7

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Deb Shoultz, Bloomfield Hills OP; Tricia Rayner, Huron Valley E Position 2-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Matt Gonzales, Royal Oak E Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Robert Gaines, Farmington OP; Jennifer Dooley, Pontiac E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Erica Davis-Hernandez, Rochester E 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 5-EA NEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jennifer Dooley, Pontiac E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Angel Bell, Farmington E; Brooke Davis, Clarkston E 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Becky Lesh, Waterford CFMT; Deb Shoultz, Bloomfield Hills OP Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Steve Sanchez, Clarkston T 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR #1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; Sherry Carpenter, Clarkston T #1 position, immed, thru 8/31/22; Sue Cox, Clarkston T Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Steve Sanchez, Clarkston T; Sherry Carpenter, Clarkston T Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Thomas Silak, northvilleea@gmail.com

REGION 8

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Lance Little, Owosso E Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Curlada Eure-Harris, LCC E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Curlada Eure-Harris, LCC E 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 5-EA NEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Curlada Eure-Harris, LCC E; Ellen Wheeler, Lansing E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Curlada Eure-Harris, LCC E 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Dawn Levey, Ovid-Elsie E Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate #2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; Marc Daly, Ovid-Elsie E; Bryan Wertz, Ovid-Elsie E 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; Teri Pete, Eaton ISD CMOP #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Theresa Collett-Such, Waverly FOP; Jeffry Wilson, LCC Part-Time O #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Liz Hubert, Eaton Rapids CFMOP 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 4 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Kelly Davis, Lansing O 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR 2 positions*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR


REGION ELECTIONS

Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Dawn Levey, dawndelightlevey@gmail.com

REGION 9

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Mary Bouwense, Grand Rapids E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Laura Morrisson, Grand Rapids E; Katie Ter Haar, Jenison E; Candy Vela, Grand Rapids E; Joe Westra, Kentwood E; Blake Mazurek, Grandville E; Joe “Jeff” Pietrowski, Grandville E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 7 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Renee Taylor, Grand Rapids E; Candy Vela, Grand Rapids E; Jayne VanderKlok, Kenowa Hills E; Laura Morrisson, Grand Rapids E; Laura McBeth, Tri County E; Lisa Honeycutt, Grand Rapids E; Cara Gardner, Grand Rapids E; Dan Slagter, Grand Rapids E; Blake Mazurek, Grandville E; Joe “Jeff” Pietrowski, Grandville E Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; Theresa Dudley, Grand Rapids O 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR 5 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, immed. thru 3/31/21; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 5 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, immed. thru 3/31/21; NNR 2 positions*, immed. thru 3/31/21; NNR Elections Chair: Joseph Guy, josephguy@ymail.com

REGION 10

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Stacey Daniels, Flushing E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Karen Christian, Flint E; Frank Burger, CarmanAinsworth E Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Felicia Naimark, Flint E; Kevyn Welter, Flushing E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Molly Maldonado, Grand Blanc E; Rebecca Barnes, Kearsley E; JoAnn Ceno-Sandlin, CarmanAinsworth E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; David Griffel, Clio E; Kevyn Welter, Flushing E 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Jerry Tkach, Mt. Morris A 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Karen Christian, kchristian@mea.org

REGION 11

Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Marci LaValley, Tuscola ISD E; Amy UrbanowskiNowak, Birch Run E; Danielle Brewer, Tuscola ISD E

Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Marci LaValley, Tuscola ISD E; Danielle Brewer, Tuscola ISD E; Christine Nerbonne, Saginaw City E; Amy Urbanowski-Nowak, Birch Run E; Amy Krug, Reese E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate #4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Jenifer Almassy, Reese E; Jason Ostrander, Ithaca E; Jane Reif, Cass City E; Toni Scribner, Vassar E #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Amy Krug, Reese E; Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Ryan Schian, Vassar E; Danielle Laming, Cass City E; Andrew Heinrich; Vassar E 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Tracy Brightman, Vassar E Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Amy Krug, Reese E; Andy Heinrich, Vassar E #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Danielle Laming, Cass City E Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Toni Scribner, tonicrandall@gmail.com

REGION 12

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Marcia Mackey, Central MI Univ E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Amy Guzman, Midland City E; Usha Chowdhary, Central MI Univ E; Tammie Lewis, Harrison E; Rick Meeth, Bay City E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Tammie Lewis, Harrison E; Usha Chowdhary, Central MI Univ E; Amy Guzman, Midland City E; Fenobia Dallas, SVSU E

MEA VOICE  29


REGION ELECTIONS

Position 7-EA/ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Tammie Lewis, Harrison E Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jenny Oster, Houghton Lake E 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; John Pakledinaz, Farwell E 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Jeff Katt, Standish-Sterling E; Daryl Phillips, Beaverton E; Julie Christensen, Beal City E Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Sherri Rowbottom, Standish-Sterling CFMOPT Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Beth Farling, Meridian CFMP; Allison Holley, Harrison CFMOPT #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Carrie Waterman, Essexville-Hampton OP; Cathy Campau, Standish-Sterling CFMOPT 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; John Pakledinaz, Farwell E #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; Jenny Oster, Houghton Lake E 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Jenny Oster, jjvandui@svsu.edu

REGION 13

Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Derek Taranko, Whitehall E 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR

30  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; Sue Federico, Reeths-Puffer OP 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Sally Purchase, sally.purchase@gmail.com

REGION 14

Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; NNR Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Conner Hubbard, Alcona E 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21; NNR 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR

Region 14 MAHE EA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Region 14 MAHE EA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Greta Brock, gbrock@mea.org

REGION 15

Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Allyson McBride-Culver, Traverse City E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Bryan Hawkins, Kalkaska E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Bryan Hawkins, Kalkaska E; Lisa Sutton, Kalkaska E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Dana Monks, Buckley E; Emily Durkin, Buckley E; Kris Baker-Donnan, Frankfort-Elberta E Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Cheri Bates, Mesick CMPT; 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Tammy Moored, Pine River CFOPT; Barry Mazurek, Glen Lake T; Sharon Wheeler, Pine River CFOPT Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Mike Zimmerman, Frankfort-Elberta E; Darcey White, Buckley E; Emily Durkin, Buckley E 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Tammy Moored, Pine River CFOPT; Cheri Bates, Mesick CMPT Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate #2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Denise Stutzman, Manton CFMOPT; Barry Mazurek, Glen Lake T #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Gail Pols, Pine River CFOPT Elections Chair: Harvey Miller, hmiller@netonecom.net

REGION 16

Position 3-MEA RA At-Large DelegateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; Rebecca Newell, DeTour E #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; Rebecca Newell, DeTour E Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g)


REGION ELECTIONS

#1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Angela Craven, Eastern UP ISD E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Randall Griffis, Tahquamenon E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Andrew Long, St. Ignace E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Stacey Downing, Tahquamenon FOPT Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Mark Hayes, Tahquamenon FOPT 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jon Olsen, St, Ignace E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20: Matt Johnson, Pickford E Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Stacey Downing, Tahquamenon FOPT Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Melissa McDowell, Eastern UP ISD CMOP 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Al Beamish, abeamish@mymea.org

REGION 17

Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Dan DeLong, Escanaba E Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateRepresenting Minority 3-1(g) #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20: Lily Anderson, Dickinson-Iron ISD E; Lisa Talon, Carney-Nadeau E Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Vicky Snyder, North Central E; Kathy Ryno, Delta-Schoolcraft ISD E; Chris Lund, DeltaSchoolcraft ISD E Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Lisa Carubini, Dickinson-Iron ISD PT; Robert Hanchek, North Central CFMOPT; Gypsia Flath, Escanaba P Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Michele Davis, North Central CFMOPT 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Theresa Hruska, Dickinson-Iron ISD E; Lisa Talon,

Carney-Nadeau E; Lily Anderson, Dickinson- Region 18 MAHE Cluster Delegate Iron ISD E #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Paul Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate LaBine, Gogebic CC E #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Nick Region 18 MAHE Cluster Alternate Gayan, Breitung Twp E 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Elections Chair: Steve Elenich, 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20: NNR selenich@copperisd.org Position 14-ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate REGION 50 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Terrie Rugg, Breitung Twp CFMOPT; Lisa Carubini, Region 50-ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate Dickinson-Iron ISD PT 4 positions, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Theresa 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Robert Dudley, Reg. 9; David Hockaday, Reg. 8; Hanchek, North Central CFMOPT Eursla Moore-Doyle, Reg. 5; Barry Mazurek, Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate Reg. 15; Andrew Pleva, Reg. 15; Marti 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Alvarez, Reg. 15; Gypsia Flath, Reg. 17; Eva #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Michele Pritchard, Reg. 9; Sue Federico, Reg. 13; Davis, North Central CFMOPT Crystal Kinard, Reg. 3; Michael Koen, Reg. 3; Elections Chair: Lisa Carubini, Lisa Watkins, Reg. 3; Sue Brandt; Reg. 8; lcarubini@gmail.com Kelly Davis, Reg. 8; Theresa Collett-Such, Reg. 8; Jacob Reno, Reg. 6; Angie Gleason, REGION 18 Reg. 6; Deb Shoultz, Reg. 7; Sue Cox, Reg. 7 Position 1-MEA Board of Directors/NEA RA Region 50-ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Gail 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20; Maki-Dalbec, Bessemer City E Theresa Dudley, Reg. 9; David Hockaday, Position 4-MEA RA At-Large AlternateReg. 8; Eursla Moore‑Doyle, Reg. 5; Barry Representing Minority 3-1(g) Mazurek, Reg. 15, Andrew Pleva, Reg. 15; Marti Alvarez, Reg. 15; Gysia Flath, Reg. 17; #1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; Eva Pritchard, Reg. 9; Sue Federico, Reg. 13; Amanda Rinkinen, Baraga Twp E Crystal Kinard, Reg. 3; Lisa Watkins, Reg. 3; Position 6-EA NEA RA At-Large AlternateJacob Reno, Reg. 6; Robert Gaines, Reg. 7; Representing Minority 3-1(g) Steve Sanchez, Reg. 7 #2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Region 50-ESP NEA RA At-Large Michelle Seppanen, L’Anse Twp E; Gail Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) Maki-Dalbec, Bessemer City E 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20; Theresa Position 8-EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate Dudley, Reg. 9; David Hockaday, Reg. 8; #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Tim Eursla Moore‑Doyle, Reg. 5; Marti Alvarez, Nelson, Ontonagon E Reg. 15; Gypsia Flath, Reg. 17; Eva Pritchard, #1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22, Alexis Reg. 9; Sue Federico, Reg. 13; Lisa Watkins, Headley, Bessemer City E Reg. 3; Theresa Collett‑Such, Reg. 8; Jacob Position 9-EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate Reno, Reg. 6; Sherry Carpenter, Reg. 7; #3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; Deb Shoultz, Reg. 7 Amanda Rinkinen, Baraga Twp E; Eric Ghiggia, West Iron County E; Heather Skulan, Wakefield-Marenisco E KEY: Position 10-ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate Elected by acclamation—denoted with “#” #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Stephen No nominations received—denoted with Elenich, Copper Country ISD CFMOPT “NNR” Position 11-ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate Minority 3-1(g) position—denoted with (*) 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR Position 12-EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate #1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20; Jennifer Rautio, Calumet E 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20; NNR 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above; NNR 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22; NNR Position 13-EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20; NNR Position 15-ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20; NNR

MEA VOICE  31


Omada program a hit with MESSA members In the year since MESSA began covering the Omada diabetes prevention and weight loss program, our members have lost an astonishing 20,000 pounds— about the same weight as a large school bus. Along the way, they’ve reduced their risk for diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions. How’d they do it? Well, the Omada program is different from other programs. Omada helps you make small, sustainable lifestyle changes in the way you eat, sleep and manage stress that add up to a big impact. There’s no calorie counting, meal plans or extreme workouts—just steady progress toward a healthier you. The Omada program is completely free—no deductible, copayments or coinsurance—for qualifying MESSA members and adult dependents who have prediabetes or are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. To see if you or your covered adult dependents qualify, visit messa.org/Omada and take a one-minute screener. If you qualify, Omada will send you a free “smart” scale that links up to your personal Omada account, which you access from a computer or smartphone. You’ll also have online access to personal health coaches, weekly lessons, supportive peer groups and more.

By Ross Wilson MESSA Executive Director

Classifieds Our ad policy, rates and schedule can be found online at mea.org/voice. The classifieds deadline for the April-May 2020 issue is March 6.

32  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

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Help with anxiety, depression, teaching stress, and relationship issues. Robert Goode, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist. Office in Grand Rapids. Visit www.goodepsych.com. MESSA, Community Blue, BCBS, Aetna. 734-223-4202.


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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Gabby Taylor, a fourth-year teacher in Ann Arbor, channels veteran educators’ frustrations in “Teachers Anthem,” a moving song she wrote and performed at a school board meeting as contract talks started. You must have a music background—the anthem is powerful. I started writing in eighth or ninth grade. I took guitar lessons. I did show choir and theater, and I directed an acapella group at U of M. At one time I thought I would make a career out of songwriting and production.

parts of speech and telling time. I do a lesson where I have the kids write a song with me about words that start with a certain letter, and they bring it up months later like, “Can we sing the F song?” My favorite thing is every year at least one student gets their parents to buy them a guitar because they think it’s cool.

How did you become a firstgrade teacher? I worked at a lot of summer camps as a counselor for sports camps and overnight camps, and it was the most sure I felt about myself. That was when I realized I can make really meaningful connections with kids.

How did you come to write “Teachers Anthem”? Our goal was to get the word out that teachers have been struggling since before I got into the profession. I’ve been talking to my colleagues for the last few years about issues surrounding pay and our frustrations with the profession, and that’s where I pulled pieces for the chorus. I don’t have a kid, but my colleagues do. I just got new tires for my car. I bought my first house this year, so a lot of parts were relevant to me. But this is a nationwide issue. I wanted this to be an anthem for all teachers.

Do you use music in your classroom? We sing songs about

One line says, “It’s been 12 long years since the pay topped out.” Has there been a salary freeze? For teachers on the top level for 12 years, their pay

is less now than 10 years ago. For others on steps, we’ve had a couple years of deductions where all the pay on the calendar drops. We’ve had years of freezes or half steps. My take-home pay has gone down the last two years. So a few months ago I created an algorithm to help people figure out how much money they’ve lost since starting their careers. Even a fourth-year teacher like me has lost $7,000. A colleague who’s been here for 12 years has lost $43,000 because of all these adjustments to our pay. A phrase echoes in the song: “The teacher is speaking/ are you listening?” What do you want the public to hear? Education is not getting the respect and attention it deserves, and as a result teachers are dropping out at an alarming rate. I have multiple friends from my School of Ed who graduated with me in 2016 and are already out of the profession. As I’ve shared this on Facebook, I get messages from them saying, “You’re right. This is why I quit a year ago.” Along with pay, what issues are driving them out? The increase in behaviors and lack of resources to help. More kids with trauma, and no full-time social workers. Not enough access to special-ed resources. Class sizes and standardized testing are increasing. My kids are six and taking standardized tests three times a year. It’s very daunting, the mountain we’re up against. What keeps you going?

 Listen to Taylor’s anthem with captioned lyrics at tinyurl.com/TeacherAnthem, and watch an MLive video of Taylor’s school board performance at tinyurl.com/SchoolBoardAnthem. 34  FEBRUARY–MARCH 2020

I still feel that same feeling I did the first summer out of college, that I’m in the right place. I’m making meaningful connections. I’ll play tag with them at recess or kickball or soccer, and I’ll show up at their games on the weekends. We have little jokes and handshakes, and we feel like a real team. It’s hard to see it every day, but I still think I’m putting more good out there than I would be somewhere else.


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Profile for MEAVoiceMag

MEA Voice Magazine - February 2020 Issue  

The MEA Voice Magazine is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association.

MEA Voice Magazine - February 2020 Issue  

The MEA Voice Magazine is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association.

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