Idaho Education Association’s Delegate Assembly is a place of ideals where educators come together in solidarity to envision and work toward an education system that provides a free, equal and quality public education for every student in the state. It’s camaraderie and democratic spirit is a balm for the imperfect world in which IEA’s noble and idealistic members must teach.
The 2023 IEA Delegate Assembly, held in Boise April 21-22, saw an extraordinary number of first time delegates. And all had their specific reasons for wanting to be a delegate to IEA’s agenda-setting annual business meeting.
“I’ve always wanted to be involved in the process of making education a better place for educators,” said fifth-year educator Danny Gutierrez, a member of the Bonneville Education Association. Because of a lack of confidence as an early career educator, he resisted a deeper role in IEA until now. “I feel more confident in having a grasp on what my school needs and what my region wants.”
Aneatra Walker is a veteran educator who teaches first grade in American Falls and serves as co-president of the American Falls Education Association. Whiles she’s been engaged with IEA for years, and even served as a delegate from Idaho to the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly, she’s never been able to attend a Delegate Assembly.
“Educators and the support we have for one another is fabulous, so I’m excited to finally see it at the state level,” Walker said.
Emily Wright is a first-year member of the American Falls Education Association who is jumped right into her engagement with IEA as a delegate.
“I put my name on the ballot and no one said I couldn’t go,” she laughed.
A English/ESL teacher from American Falls, she’s an 18-year veteran of public school classrooms who became a certified educator four years ago.
“As a new teacher, I’ve come up against lots of obstacles,” Wright said. “I want to go (to DA) because I don’t feel the State of Idaho is up to par with the states around us with how they support educators. I want to be part of making the process better for new educators.”
Jacob Snarr from the Idaho Falls Education Association said he is eager to expand his knowledge of the association at the state level.
“I want to see what the process is like on the state end of the administration of the association,” he said. I’m very familiar with what happens at the local level, now I’m eager to see how its done at the state level.”
And for Elizabeth Smith, a 21 year veteran of the classroom who moved to Idaho from Texas six years ago, going to DA is about stepping up her leadership within her local and building.
“I want more of a leadership position in my school and more say in the procedures teachers are held to,” the American Falls science teacher said.