Hello to all of my friends, colleagues, and fellow educators.
As you may be aware, you have selected me for the sixth time to attend the National Education Association Representative Assembly. The first time that I attended, the venue was in Washington D.C. back in 2008. As you may recall, I was selected to attend after I was RIFed from my teaching position in Millville for the second time. When I was hired as an 8th Grade Civics & Inclusion Teacher in Bridgeton the following September, I’d been awakened professionally and politically. I was ready to take on new endeavors. Since then, I have attended the NEA RA in Chicago (2011) and the NEA RA in Washington D.C. again (2012). Two years ago, I was fortunately enough to attend the NEA RA in Atlanta (2013). And last year I was your delegate to the Denver NEA RA. With each opportunity, I advocate for you and our colleagues.
Besides representing the professional issues that we as educators face, I’ve been networking with educators across the nation. I’ve developed a sufficient knowledge of the issues that our fellow educators are dealing with in various regions. I’ve also become proficient at conveying our needs and concerns through social media. I’ll be tweeting live from Orlando this year. Connected to many of you through Facebook and Twitter already, I’d like to take my interactions with you to another level. Hashtagging is where it’s at this year. It has proven very effective in rallying educators and confronting our legislators in Trenton with the impending pension crisis.
A little humor helps sometimes…
Each time that I am asked to represent New Jersey, Cumberland County, Millville, or Bridgeton at the Representative Assembly I am required to make a mandatory $180 political action committee (PAC) contribution. I am encouraged, of course, to raise more. This year, I was challenged to raise $200 or more. The PAC gives the organization lobbying power which is necessary to ensure our voices are heard.
In years past, I’ve asked you to help me raise these funds. Not this year! Although I still have to meet my $200 goal, many of you have offered without the request. Thank you! A generous offer from Rossi Honda of Vineland will allow me to defray some of my cost too.
This year I ask for your prayers. My colleague Larry Blake and I will be driving the entire trip to Orlando. Rather than flying, driving will offer us time for fellowship as we transcend the east coast. We will be meeting plenty of interesting folks along the way, and we will be sharing our concerns as we look for answers. It’s a long trip! But we’ve been called to make it. Prayers for a swift and safe journey is all that we ask. Can you help us?
I will be posting to Twitter (@ocelot74) and Facebook (New Jersey Teachers Unite) every step of the way to Orlando. I’ll be using #neara15 and#RossiHonda2NEAra to keep you informed. As we arrive in the “Happiest City on Earth” we’d like your support and most importantly your prayers…as we remain focused on the fundamentals of quality education.
Thanks for your support,
NEA Representative Assembly 2015
P.S. If you haven’t already checked out our “teacher idea exchanges” pages, click on the links below: https://www.facebook.com/groups/260709270637998/