L to R: Tama Meyers (NIEARC), McKenna Strolberg, Danika Moore, Cherise Hensley-Jenkins, Laura Ochoa, Heather Corey (IGNITE), Brittany Horrell (IGNITE), Danielle Ettinger, Matt Lattuada, Bradley Peterson, Jan Studer (NIEARC), Scout Larson
A dozen up-and-coming leaders in the Idaho Education Association gathered at a North Idaho retreat over the weekend for three days of professional development, comradery and learning about the IEA.
The gathering is one of several SPARKS conferences held throughout the year by the IEA and was facilitated by IEA President Layne McInelly and National Education Association Director Peggy Hoy.
SPARKS is an all-expenses-paid retreat especially tailored for IEA members with less than eight years of classroom experience to discuss top-of-mind issues. Topics can be anything from professional development to planning for retirement. This gathering gives participants time to come together to share, learn, have fun, and build a learning community.
“It felt good to be around the energy of other educators and to collaborate and learn from each other,” said McInelly. “The enthusiasm and energy were awesome. It was nice to have that community again.”
Attendees were nominated educators from local education associations in IEA’s Region 1 & 2 in North Idaho. Held at Lutherhaven Camp in Coeur d’Alene, it was the first in-person SPARKS gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics of exploration included background on the IEA, teacher self-care, classroom management technology and included a visit and discussion with members of Ithe North Idaho Education Association Retired Chapter (NIEARC) visited to chat about the IEA and give advice.
Alumni of SPARKS — affectionately known as Sparkees — are eligible to join IGNITE, IEA’s educator mentor network, and be involved in planning future SPARKS retreats.
Watch our Working for You email for details on coming SPARKS retreats in other regions. In interested in participating in SPARKS in your region, please contact your IEA region director.