Concepts that provide critical fuel for professional educators, inspiring, educating and activating; were reinforced as the central theme of the 2016 Idaho Education Association Delegate Assembly and Annual Meeting. Held at the Boise Centre April 22-23, the 124th convening of this great event featured a spirited and productive group of 366 delegates making key decisions about the future of the association.
Inspiration is found in many places, both expected and unlikely, and it permeated the atmosphere of Delegate Assembly. IEA President Penni Cyr and Executive Director Robin Nettinga used their leadership address as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on a handful of IEA members who personify inspiration. Levi Cavener from the Vallivue Education Association, Kelly Aiken (Coeur d’Alene), Sherri Burke (Middleton), Jeni Fereday (Moscow), and Rob Orsini (Jefferson County) were all singled out for recognition and applauded by the assembled delegates.
Another highlight of the event was the rousing address delivered by the keynote speaker, Dr. Kevin Gilbert. Channeling his roots growing up in the deep south and his experiences as a member of the National Education Association’s Executive Council and the NEA’s school to prison pipeline task force, Gilbert’s up-tempo speech brought into focus the sensitive issues of institutional racism and social justice.
A popular and important part of the Delegate Assembly each year is the Children’s Fund auction, and 2016 was no exception. A multitude of items, large and small, were up for bid in the silent auction, and the generosity of IEA members was incredible. Becky Gibson’s cash contribution on behalf of her late father, former IEA President Bob Day, was one of several donations made in remembrance of family members or friends who have recently passed away. The final tabulation for funds raised at Delegate Assembly was $20,429, bringing the total Children’s Fund contributions for this year to an amazing $58,267. For more information on the IEA Children’s Fund, including how to donate, visit http://idahoea.org/parents-community/iea-childrens-fund/.
Befitting a large organization that places a high value on the democratic process, there was considerable debate and discussion about a number of issues and new business items. Three noteworthy developments were approved by the delegates and will be implemented by IEA leadership and staff.
- The 2019 Delegate Assembly will take place in Coeur d’Alene. This is a one-time relocation designed to bolster membership efforts and generate publicity for the IEA in North Idaho.
- An ESP-specific Sparks training for early career educators will be developed for 2016-17.
- The IEA will work to inform the NEA and other states about the importance of the Blaine amendments, which prohibit direct government aid to schools that have a religious affiliation.