Backbone of the Association Through Good Times and Bad
The impact that Robin Nettinga has had on the Idaho Education Association, its professional educator members and students throughout Idaho cannot be overstated. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude for the dedication, distinction and passion with which she has served during her career. I personally extend to Robin a profound thank you for everything she has done as my partner in leading the IEA. We are so much richer for having had Robin in our lives, and wish her the very best in her retirement.
–Penni Cyr, IEA President
It is time. When I joined the IEA staff in 2001, I could not have contemplated uttering those three words. But, I once read that you never really leave a place or person you love. Part of them you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind. This perfectly expresses how I feel as I pen this open letter to you announcing my intent to retire from the IEA effective January 2017.
Author Willa Cather once wrote, “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” I have learned a great deal over my years with the IEA, and certainly in the past eight years—during both turbulent and tranquil times.
When I became the executive director in August 2008, we could not have predicted that we would soon be navigating our way through the worst economic disaster our nation had faced since the Great Depression.
We could not have predicted that the outcome of the 2010 elections would signal a years-long, vociferous attack on the union movement across the country, even in the some of the most stalwart union states.
Nor could we have predicted that Idaho would find itself caught in the maelstrom.
We could not have predicted that we would spend nearly two years fighting what sometimes felt like insurmountable odds to save our students, our communities, our profession and our union from these vile attacks. At the time, we could not have forecast the thousands of Idaho parents and teachers who would step forward to help.
Nor could we have predicted that with their help we would make state history by overturning some of the most damaging laws educators and our union have ever faced. Our political victory was not the “happily ever after” ending of fairytales; but, that feat gave us confidence that we could successfully win those contests that were sure to arise in the future.
What I admire most about the IEA is that we are much like the reed in Aesop’s fable that bends to the force of the wind. Once the storm has passed, the reed stands strong again. We’ve done so since 1892, and I have every confidence that the IEA will continue to grow and thrive for the next 125 years…and beyond.
Thank you for entrusting me with the management of our beloved organization. I am proud to have been a part of our many victories and accomplishments over the course of my career.
If I could create the perfect ending to my time with the IEA, we would have had fewer struggles and greater and more frequent successes. But, I know our most difficult challenges taught us important lessons that will serve to make a stronger, more resilient organization.
I am blessed to have had the abundance of opportunities to meet and learn from some of the most amazing educators in the country. I am gratified for the chances I’ve had to work side by side with you to improve the teaching profession and our association.
My association family is made up of the most inspiring and committed people I will ever meet. I leave my service with a heart overflowing with admiration and the deepest respect for you. I rejoice in the many friendships I’ve made and I await with anticipation the next chapter in IEA’s history.