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IEA Board of Directors Interim Vice-President Special Election Candidates
Jon Hawkes | Snake River Education Association
Jon Hawkes Candidate Questionnaire
How long have you been working in education?
I have been in education since the fall of 2012, so just over 10 years.
What positions of leadership have you held (elected, appointed or voluntary) at the local, region, state or national level?
I have held numerous positions of leadership throughout our organization. I have been the lead negotiator for our local since I first joined the IEA and have served as the Snake River Education Association President since 2015. I was the Region 5 President for two years and served two terms (six years) as one of the Region 5 Representatives on the IEA Board of Directors. During that time, I served on many committees, including the Member Benefits committee, Negotiations committee, Elections committee, as Co-Chair of the PCB (Policy, Constitution, and Bylaws) committee, and most relevant to the office of Vice President that I am seeking, the Budget committee.
What do you believe are the three primary responsibilities of this office?
There are many important responsibilities for the IEA Vice President, but the three primary responsibilities of the Vice President are outlined in IEA Bylaws and Policy:
-To succeed to the office of President if a vacancy exists, or act for the president when they are unable to perform their duties or are unavailable.
-To chair the Budget committee.
-To perform other duties as requested by the President of the IEA and the IEA Board of Directors.
What do you see as the greatest challenge IEA members will face in the next five years? What ideas do you have to address that challenge?
I feel that the greatest challenge that the IEA will face in the next five years is the continued politization of the work that we do. Every day is turning into more of a battle, not just in our classrooms dealing with the continued fallout from Covid and other massive student-centric issues, but also outside the classroom. The amount of disinformation that is spread about what happens in our schools, from people who lack any real evidence or first-hand experience, has been an issue ever since I first entered the classroom. But we now see a huge push by these individuals to take over local school boards, run for statewide representative positions, and pass vague and litigious legislation in a crusade to limit exposure to opinions and beliefs that they do not share, and I feel that in a traditionally conservative state like Idaho, that this trend is bound to get worse before it gets better.
I think that to address this challenge we need to continue to grow our outreach in social media, in political action, and in legislative intervention and involvement. As much as we feel disheartened by the pushback we get in situations like these, the data that I have seen shows that most parents and students support their local schools and educators. We need to continue to work to activate these supporters, to share the importance of what we do in schools and how we do it, to own all the amazing things that educators are doing throughout the state, and to confront disinformation, bigotry, fear, and hate with hard data, stability, grace, and most importantly, education.
What is your plan for increasing membership and member engagement?
I think that we have made great advances in membership recruitment and engagement the last several years with the changes that we have made to our organization’s structure and approach to the work we do. I would continue to support these programs, which the data shows are accomplishing our goals of increasing membership and engaging our members. Specifically, I would continue our emphasis on building strong local involvement and the Targeted Local campaign, the work that our PACE organization has done in elections and the IEA Lobby Day efforts, and the efforts of the Center for Teaching and Learning to support and develop our educators throughout the state.
How do you intend to communicate with members in order to keep them informed and to find out their concerns?
I tend to be very busy (as many of us are), so of course phone calls and emails would be crucial to staying in touch with our members throughout the state. I work in a four-day week school district, so I would have a lot of flexibility to attend regional trainings and meetings on the weekends to talk to members and hear their concerns. I also have admin that are very supportive of the work I already currently do in the IEA and so I would make every effort to attend all the Mini-DA’s throughout the state, as I feel like many of our member concerns and requests for action are brought forward during our Delegate Assembly process.
Provide other information you would like members to know:
I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for what you do. When I think back on all my years as a student in Idaho public schools and universities, I am amazed by the intelligent, understanding, caring professionals who guided my growth into adulthood and into this profession. Many of those individuals have no idea the impact that they had on my life, and every day in our schools presents untold opportunity to provide that guidance and stability for our students. Our work has been absurdly challenging the last few years, but as we continue to work together, I am confident that we will continue to see the results of those efforts and build the schools that our students deserve.
Deanna Didier | Lewiston Education Association