President's Farewell Address
June 8, 2020
My fellow OGEA members, I have been overwhelmed by the well wishes received over the past weeks. It is my turn to say thank you. My conversations with you, the members of OGEA, in your school sites, over the phone, at board meetings, text, and email are the conversations that kept me humbled, inspired, and motivated. Everyday I have learned from you. You made me a better President and a better person.
OGEA has been through tremendous struggles in the last 4 years and we have much to be proud of in that time as well. As each challenge presented itself I saw OGEA step up time and time again. I’ve seen boardrooms packed in ways where the maintenance crew can’t put the walls back the same way again. I’ve seen our members picketing the district office, looping around the entire building to get management’s attention. I’ve seen seas of our members in black Unity is Power, green OGEA, or Red for Ed shirts to demand our public education system get the funding and respect our students deserve.
Tough negotiations, loss of fair share (Janus v. AFSCME), declining enrollment, 2 school closures, 2 failed parcel taxes, and budget cuts. Our district and union has been through it and we will get through it, together. I would often get choked up at board meetings inspired by your passion and commitment for our students. Our district is not flawless, though it has the capacity to make the changes our profession and students need to be successful with your guidance and advocacy.
Oak Grove Educators are strong, resilient, and bold. We must continue to be so to inspire our students and communities. We must continue to speak truth to power. We must continue to advocate for what is right in our classrooms and schools. There will always be challenges, deficits, and inequities. It is our duty to advocate for what is best for our students and our profession at the local, state, and national levels.
Thank you to everyone who I had the honor to serve, represent, talk with, and support. You have contributed to my character and I am forever grateful. To our executive board, committee chairs, and site reps, thank you for your dedication and service to our great association. You are incredible and put OGEA into motion in ways I could not imagine. To our membership, times ahead will require persistence and heart. If I’ve learned anything these 4 years, it is that Oak Grove Educators are rich in both. Thank you for the opportunity to lead us.