Penni Cyr Says Thank You and Farewell, Looks at the Future of the IEA
After six always exhilarating, alternatingly rewarding and frustrating years as IEA President, Penni Cyr is retiring this summer. Before she heads off into the sunset (in an RV with her husband) and dotes on her first grandchild, she looks back at the accomplishments of the Association and forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
Congratulations IEA! Despite obstacles and challenges, IEA members have been more focused than ever on our strategic priorities. Our new Mission and Vision have paved the way for our association to reach for the stars. You created a roadmap for the IEA to focus on a future that unites IEA members across Idaho to uphold a public education system that prepares every child to succeed.
These past six years have not been easy; nothing about these times is easy. I began my six-year term as IEA President during the most tumultuous time in IEA’s 122-year history with the passage of the Luna Laws. It was harrowing, but through your dedication and hard work, we overcame the tyranny of the Luna Laws and celebrated a victory for public education…and made history by repealing Props 1, 2 and 3.
And recently, IEA members made their voices heard on the controversial tiered certification proposal where teachers could have lost their teaching license based on a single evaluation. Over a 1000 members attended hearings that winter – we packed the house! And after many iterations, the reworked bill addressed each of the concerns raised.
Maintain your vigilance in advocating for public education; the fights will continue. Your endurance and persistence will be tested in future years with voucher bills, certification questions, funding and more. Remember, all the wins, all the battles, all the organizing, help us build the capacity of the IEA, which we will need to draw upon like a battery for a very long time.
Even with all the issues and assaults on public education, we’ve focused on what we had to do to make the IEA stronger. I urge you to continue to turn to each other, build closer relationships, remain loyal, and maintain confidence in those elected to lead. Because of you, we will endure through difficult times.
What great work we have done together over the past six years! Your IEA board and other leaders have demonstrated progress, persistence, and resilience in leading this organization. I commend the leadership of our board of directors who have dealt with extreme funding issues, but have continued through determination and grit to make sure our members receive the benefits, training, and support needed.
Even while the IEA’s strategic program budget was cut drastically, the IEA board continued to find ways to bring professional development to members, to grow our membership by supporting Targeted Locals, to train and professionalize IEA Trainers who are now in high demand around the state to provide training on behavioral management, student learning objectives, Master Teacher Premium portfolios and more. IEA and IDLA are partnering to offer online professional development through the IEA’s very own digital portal and our trainers are currently building these online classes. We revitalized SPARKS for new educators for support in their early teaching years. And, we are standing up for our students as we work toward racial justice and equity in education in Idaho. Celebrate this really difficult work.
And we are growing! Because you are engaged in deep listening and are responding to what our members and potential members want and need, we are growing. Keep it up! Hold those one-on-one conversations; engage members; talk with everyone and listen to what they need.
These and other examples provide just a snap shot of our amazing work over the past six years. Amazing grace under fire, real leadership under great adversity, and your undivided strength will continue to bring you success. The IEA is vigilant, united and prepared to stand against those who oppose public education and the success of our students. Thank you for the honor of serving as your president for the past six years. I could not imagine doing anything else. Carry on!