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While paying homage to its rich history of advocacy and accomplishment on behalf of professional educators, the Idaho Education Association emphasized its vision for a bright future at the 2014 Delegate Assembly. The Boise Centre played host to 375 delegates from 52 local associations as the Annual Meeting celebrated a theme of Reaching for the Stars.
The event got off to an auspicious start as IEA President Penni Cyr unveiled a unique piece of graphic art created by iconic Idaho artist Ward Hooper. The image symbolizes the IEA’s optimism for the future of the organization and its commitment to leading the education profession for years to come.
Delegates participated by jotting down their hopes and aspirations on stars that were then displayed on a banner under the heading I See a Future… President Cyr and other speakers reinforced the message that the education profession is in great need of expertise and leadership—and that association members are distinctively qualified to provide both.
The keynote address was delivered by John Stocks, Executive Director of the National Education Association. Stocks has significant ties to Idaho, having served as a State Senator and political activist. He is married to former IEA President Connie Hutchison.
Stocks urged IEA members to embrace the concept of “institutional advocacy” and steward the education profession for the next generation. “We can no longer tolerate people who have no idea how to educate students telling us how to do our jobs,” said Stocks. “We have to be at the forefront of professional advocacy and claim it as our turf.”
That sentiment was echoed by Cyr in her address to the delegates. “As education professionals who work with students on a daily basis, we have a unique perspective on what best serves schools and students,” Cyr told delegates. “Our state is crying out for effective leadership and innovative ideas, and this is a golden opportunity for us to take full ownership of our role in setting the course for public education in Idaho.”
In keeping with the IEA’s forward-looking emphasis, the Board of Directors approved a strategic plan that will enable the association to thrive and prosper in the coming years. IEA staff will be meeting this spring to take the next steps toward implementing the strategic plan. Feedback and support from members will be key components in the effective implementation of these crucial strategies. President Cyr and Executive Director Robin Nettinga share more thoughts about the strategic plan and the future direction of the association on page two of this edition of the IEA Reporter.
Other highlights of the 2014 Annual Meeting/Delegate Assembly included remarks from Idaho Teacher of the Year Jamie Esler, campaign speeches from candidates for IEA offices, the IEA awards reception and fundraisers for the IEA Children’s Fund, including the musical stylings of members and staff in the Children’s Fund karaoke party to raise funds for needy children.