The President's Post

 

Together, We Are the AEA

As my term ends, I am incredibly grateful for all of the talented, empowered and dedicated members who have worked together to ensure Arkansas educators and their students have the support they need to succeed.   

This position has taken me across the state, country and even the world to see the great work being done in classrooms and school buildings, from the Arkansas Delta all the way to Finland. I’ve taken great pleasure in sharing these experiences with our members and Arkansas lawmakers as they craft new legislation for our state.  
But it's not about me. As president, my focus was, and is always on our students, and how we can support you and your colleagues as you provide them with a quality education.
  
Over the last four years, I worked hard to establish strong relationships with our elected officials, but it was your collective voice that protected members from a catastrophic increase in health insurance premiums. Together, we have engaged the Arkansas Department of Education to improve the way TESS is applied, and we ensured ESSA, the new federal accountability framework will include educators’ input at both the state and local levels. Your voices rang loud and clear in the marble halls in Little Rock, and gave our legislators the courage to stand up to special interests attempting to dismantle public education two legislative sessions in a row.  
 
We know the well-funded campaign against public schools won’t stop. It’s more important than ever for educators to tell our stories and correct the negative narrative being pushed by school privatizers. We get up and go to work every day to ensure our students achieve. Standing strong together, and speaking up is the only way we can protect public education for Arkansas’ children.  
 
I truly appreciate everyone's hard work over these last 4 years, and I know that work will continue as we build a strong electoral strategy to hold lawmakers accountable for their decisions around education. Now is also the time for educators to add their voice as Arkansas drafts our ESSA implementation plan. I am leaving this office, but I will remain an active and engaged member of my local when I return to teach 2nd grade this Fall. I am happy to know I will have the privilege to continue to work alongside the finest educators in the nation.  
 
Join me in welcoming the upcoming leadership team: President-Elect Cathy Koehler, Vice- President Elect Mary Knight and Secretary/Treasurer Brenda Brown! Our mission is to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the state to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.  
 
Together, we are the AEA!!