Sunday, August 1, 2010

A New Term, A New Executive Director and a New Beginning for the VEA

It 's hard to believe that it has been over a month since I last wrote on this blog, but then, July was a busy, busy month.

VEA delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly in New Orleans began the month of July in the Big Easy. I personally traveled down only a couple of days after my last posting.

The RA was a rousing success, and we all came home on or around the 7th of July, but within just a few days, I was off again for Minneapolis for a meeting of state officers who belong to a subsidiary NEA organization known as NCSEA.

I left that conference early in order to get back to Richmond for the Legislative Committee meeting which we held with our newly elected and appointed committee members on July 19.

The next few days took me to Washington, DC where I participated in a G27 meeting that included NEA officers, executive directors and others who are trying to conceptualize what the future of the NEA in our ever changing world might be as we adapt to the ever changing political and policy climate in our country.

And then, finally and at last, I took a few days of much needed--and I would like to think well deserved--vacation. I traveled to beautiful Laguna Beach, California for just a few days of R&R which did the trick. I am back and rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle my second term and my third year in office as the president of the VEA.

This is a particularly exciting time for me and for the VEA because tomorrow morning, we will be welcoming on board our new VEA Executive Director, Philip Forgit.

Philip was hired just a month ago when the VEA Board of Directors voted to accept the recommendation of the Search Committee that screened and interviewed a number of highly qualified candidates but selected Philip for the job.

Philip has a number of unique qualities and experiences that make him the right man for the job as Executive Director for the VEA at this time in our history. I won't go into his resume here, but there is an introduction to him with information about his background that is available on our website at

I am very excited about the new possibilities that lie ahead of the VEA in spite of the many challenges that are also before us. The economy continues to be problematic, and the impact of that on our members and our membership are not to be ignored. But in response to our concerns about our members and their well being as well as our commitment to our organization, we have deployed two expert membership organizing specialists--Doris Boitnott and Robin Gardner--whose sole job will be to help locals get organized so that when new crises and challenges hit, we are ready to meet them head on with a well organized response.

The past two years have certainly offered challenges to me as the VEA president, both personal and professional. Some of those challenges I anticipated. Many of them, I admit, I did not. Some of them, I also sadly admit, I haven't met as well as I would like.

Having said that, however, this is a time of renewal, rebirth, and rejuvenation for the VEA. I firmly believe that and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to take the VEA into a future that restores hope and pride in our profession by our members and shores up the chinks in the walls that have been created in our school systems as they have struggled to meet their many fiscal and financial challenges.

As I begin my new--and final--term in office, I remind myself of my personal and professional mission. While I am in this position, it is my job to promote the education profession, fight to preserve public education for the future of a democratic nation of well informed citizens, and to advocate for the children that we teach--every single day. I have been striving to meet that mission for the past two years and I plan to continue it through the next two.

Until next time.