Sunday, August 9, 2009

Year Two Begins

It hardly seems possible, but on July 31, I wound up the first year of my first term as VEA President, and on August 1, I began the second year of my first term. I spent the last week in July taking a few days to rest up from what has been a whirlwind year. I have learned much, experienced much, and wound up my first year with a deep sense of having come a long way and having much yet left to do.

I spent my few vacation days both at home and traveling. The first days of the week, I caught up on some errands that had been put off for too long. Mid-week I left home and drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for three nights in a B&B in Cape Charles, a town in our very own Northampton County. I had a most delightful time there, and I will have fond memories of the friendly people, the slow pace, my most hospitable B&B host, and acquaintances and conversations with many wonderful individuals.

On Saturday, August 1, I started something of an odyssey west across Virginia toward Norton, where I spent the night on Sunday. I met with Wise County Education Association leaders for dinner, and on Monday morning, Jim Blackburn, WCEA President and I headed for the Wise County-Wide Teachers' Meeting which was the kickoff for their 2009-2010 school year.

After I finished speaking in Wise, I started heading east, spending the night in another wonderful B&B in Marion, a small town in Smyth County. From there, on Tuesday, I drove to Floyd County in order to meet with the Deeds Campaign and to walk with Creigh Deeds, candidate for Governor of Virginia along the Main Street of Floyd, winding up at the Floyd Country Store.

From Floyd, I drove back to Wytheville, where on Wednesday morning, I met with the local leaders of VEA District 2. There were leaders attending the Activist Training from Wythe County, Tazewell County, Washington County, and Smyth County led by Smyth County Education Association President, Stephen Marion and Amherst Education Association President, Sarah Thomas.

I left Wytheville after lunch on Wednesday and drove to Mariner's Landing in Bedford County where I met briefly with the newly formed cadre of trainers trained by the Office of Teaching and Learning.

On Thursday morning, I left Mariner's Landing and drove to McLean for the Deeds/Obama/Kaine campaign event that was held at the Hilton Hotel in Tysons Corner. The VEA was able to secure tickets that allowed several leaders and staff members to attend the rally, and a few of us were even able to attend a smaller reception where we got to see the President at a slightly closer angle, and we all even got to shake his hand.

I spent the night in McLean that evening because the next day I was scheduled for a meeting with the Fairfax Education Association Board of Directors and UniServ Staff on Friday morning. After spending the day with the FEA, I drove home, tired but satisfied that I had put in an excellent first week of my second year as VEA President. I didn't add up the miles for the week, but I am guessing I put somewhere between 800 and 900 miles on the car.

As I look at the way this next week is shaping up, I know that I will be in Hampton on Monday and Loudoun on Wednesday night and Thursday. I am going to be in Portsmouth and Suffolk as well as in Page County the week after that. I am making a sincere effort to get around to as many places as I possibly can as our members get ready to go back to work for yet another school year.

And that brings me to the thought that I will sign off on.

Ours, it seems to me, is the only profession that allows our members to start fresh every single year. Even if one is on a year-round schedule, there is a demarcation that marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. It reminds me of a "do over" in a game. If we've had a not so great year, we can put it behind us and move on into a new year that is full of possibility. There is something that is very special about the first day of a new school year. It holds all sorts of promise, doesn't it?

And so, I sign off wishing you, my reader, a wonderful start to a new school year. There are going to be challenges ahead of us, but I am confident that we can meet those challenges head on knowing that we have each other and the power of the Virginia Education Association holding us up and supporting us through these difficult times.

Happy New School Year!

Until next time.

Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT
President, Virginia Education Association

P. S. The photo above is of Leonard Bumbaca, President of the Fairfax Education Association, Sandy Sullivan, President of the Loudoun Education Association, and Dominic Melito, President of the Virginia Beach Education Association who attended a reception for the Deeds/Obama/Kaine Campaign event with me at the Hilton Hotel in Tysons Corner, McLean, Virginia on August 6, 2009.

For other pictures, you may go to my Facebook Page.