Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Delegates from Team ISEA Gather For Lunch

Some thirty Team ISEA members are first time delegates to the 2007 NEA Representative Assembly here in Philadelphia, PA. They all came together to meet over lunch in our hotel for an orientation led by the ISEA Leadership Team .

ISEA Vice President Chris Bern (at right) led the orientation around the issues of fundraising for the NEA Fund for Children and Public Educaion, Open Hearings, the NEA Resolutions Committee, special interest caucuses, and seating on the RA floor.

NEA Director Gayle Jeffers (at left) led discussion around the issues of registration at the RA and within our Iowa delegation, she shared information around the NEA standing rules and resolutions as well as the budget, and described our state contact system.

NEA Director Jim Young (at right) spoke to the new delegates about new business items, amendments and voting, and the NEA officers and Executive Committee.

Team ISEA leaders from Marshalltown head up our Social Committee. Sally Hansen, Retired-ISEA member (on right) and Meg Sponseller (seated at left) shared with new delegates many ideas of making dinner connections, entertainment ideas, as well as where to find 7-11 stores for emergencies too.

ISEA Executive Director Jan Reinicke and I both shared in the orientation too. We are lucky to have such a great group of enthusiastic delegates who will make Team ISEA proud in the work they are about to undertake!

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

Enjoy the video that brings meaning to the song American Pie by Don McLean.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

As many of you know, one of my passions in life Knowing the NEA Representative Assembly was to be in Philadelphia, I made plans back home early in April with a handful of friends to take in a game while in the city. Last night was our night, our night out at the ballpark!

The Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Cincinnati Reds with a clear sky as the evening began. Before the game progressed too far, clouds rolled in, the sky darkened and by the 7th inning...the skies opened up. So much for the free fireworks display following the game!

Karen and Kevin Hansen made the game extra fun for our little group of Iowans by keeping us laughing. Karen is an elementary teacher/ association member in Glenwood and Kevin a teacher at Kanesville Alternative High School in Council Bluffs. Kevin is the CBEA Treasurer (my local EA!).

Long-time friends of the Hansens are Don and Kim Foth (pictured at right) teachers and association leaders in Cedar Falls.

Rounding out our Iowa delegation (from left to right) were Janet and Paul Wilson, Margaret (Cookie) Clapper and me. Janet, as you all know, is Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director and Conference Coordinator. Janet is the "go-to-person" with all the answers (and all the help) for our delegates here at the NEA-RA. Cookie is a pal from back home, an Intermediate Behavior Disorder teacher at Carter Lake Elementary in Council Bluffs.

We had a great time, but headed out at the bottom of the 9th with the score tied when the rain seemed to be coming down in buckets. Here is the story I found online that summarizes the game.

Rollins' rain-soaked single is extra nice

Shortstop's two late-game hits spark Phillies
By Stephen Fastenau /

PHILADELPHIA -- Consider it a successful tuneup.
The Phillies outlasted the Reds to win, 8-7, in 10 innings Thursday and take the series with a double-header with the Mets looming.

Jimmy Rollins capped a big night with a game-winning drive to the right-center gap to score Jayson Werth. It was Rollins fourth hit of the game. He already had singled, doubled and tripled before his final heroics.

Chase Utley enjoyed the 13th multi-homer game of his career, both two-run shots his first two at-bats The likely All-Star is hitting .439 over his last 11 games, with three home runs.
Adam Eaton was roughed up for his second consecutive outing, allowing five earned runs over six innings. But the bullpen offered some support.

Philadelphia was able to do what it couldn't on Wednesday, when the bullpen faltered and the Phillies dropped a slugfest.

Madson served up an eighth-inning home run to Alex Gonzalez, but that was it. Antonio Alfonseca pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taking the Opportunity to Enjoy Philadelphia

On Wednesday, June 27th, ISEA Executive Director Jan Reinicke and I had the morning to enjoy the sites of Philadelphia. Beginning Wednesday afternoon we both have state leader's meetings, NEA-PAC Council meeting, and much more....then our Iowa delegates begin to arrive for the 2007 NEA Representative Assembly!

We started our morning by viewing the Liberty Bell. A beautiful, air-conditioned visitor's center now houses the Liberty Bell. It is pretty magnificent to just imagine this ringing out our nation's freedom!

We next took in the first building to house the U.S. Supreme Court (here at the left) while awaiting our assigned time to visit Independence Hall.

Once in Independence Hall we heard from a National Park Service guide who gave the history of the building and important events that occured here. We were given the chance to visit two different chambers where our nation's earliest policy makers met for the Continental Congress and to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Finally, before grabbing lunch and heading back to the hotel to prepare for afternoon meetings, we enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage ride around Philadelphia's historic area. It was a rare opportunity to have some time to enjoy the city that hosts the NEA Representative Assembly. We are now "rested and ready" for the pre-meetings, caucuses, and all the expectations of the annual NEA meeting!

From National Geographic

National geographic has started the "My Wonderful World campaign". It seeks to raise interest in geography. There are fun quizzes and games. Show this site to the kids or check it out yourself.

I enjoyed this little test. When you enter the site, click on:
Test your global IQ. Then click on:

National Geographic-Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy. Very interesting.....................

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Leaders Assemble to Tackle the Issue of UniServ Governance

The 2007 ISEA Delegate Assembly directed a Task Force be appointed to look at UniServ Governance. On Thursday, June 21st leaders from across the state reported to the ISEA headquarters to begin looking at the issue. Rob Hirst (at right), School Psychologist from AEA 2-6-7 and Chair of the Executive Board's UniServ Committee, serves as chair of the UniServ Governance Task Force. Rob represents Hawkeye UniServ Unit on the ISEA Executive Board.

Gary Anhalt (at left), president of the Cedar Rapids EA and CedarWood UniServ Unit representative on the ISEA Executive Board brought local leader as well as Unit and state leader perspectives to the discussion. Gary is a full-time release president.

Mike Beranek (at right), represents Polk Suburban UniServ Unit on the ISEA Executive Board and is a long-time local leader from the West Des Moines EA, is our third ISEA Executive Board member to serve on the Task Force. Mike is a 3rd grade teacher at Western Hills Elementary in West Des Moines.

Bringing experience as both a local and Unit leader to the Task Force is Cheryl Benson (at left). Cheryl teaches at the Alternate High School in Oskaloosa and has served as president of both her local and UniServ Unit 9.

Providing experience at both the local and UniServ level is Roberta Hass (on the right in the photo). Roberta is a teacher in MFL-Marmac and serves as president of NEIEU. Pictured with Roberta is ISEA Associate Executive Director for Field Services Randy Richardson (on the left). Randy wanted everyone to know that we had a "friendly" discussion!

Bringing local leader perspective is Brenda Zahner (pictured with me). Brenda is a 6th grade teacher in Sgt. Bluff-Lutton and local EA president. In addition, Brenda serves on the Siouxland UniServ Unit Executive Board. [Okay, I cheated here....I somehow didn't get Brenda's photo taken on Thursday, so I went back to when I visited her local EA for this pic.]

With experience at all levels of the association is Randy Naber (at right), a 4th grade teacher in Muscatine and president of MississippiBend UniServ Unit.

Bringing additional balance to the UniServ Governance Task Force is Bob Gilchrist (at left) an ISEA past president from Linn Mar EA and East Central UniServ Unit and Jan Reinicke (at right) ISEA Executive Director.

The Task Force will gather again at Summer Conference for one of the breakout sessions to continue the discussion with UniServ presidents and presidents of the Large 8 Locals. All members are welcome to join in the discussion!

Following Summer Conference, the issue will be a part of the discussion at the all-staff meeting in early September. Next, discussion questions will be developed and the Task Force will ask UniServ Governance leaders to plan discussions, having their Executive Board representative report back to the board in December.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2007-2008 ISEA Leadership Team Holds Planning Retreat

On Monday and Tuesday of this week the Leadership Team of Team ISEA met in Pella at the Strawtown Inn for a two day planning session and retreat.

At the top of our agenda was planning for orientation for our eight new board members which will be held in Storm Lake prior to Summer Conference.

I led the planning sessions, everyone joining in on taking responsibilities for portions of our new board orientation. Our first board meeting for the 2007-2008 school year is the Monday (July 30) prior to Summer Conference (July 31-August 1 & 2), so our orientation will be held on Sunday afternoon (July 29) from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Vice President Chris Bern (at right) will lead portions of our training around the makeup of the board and preparation for board meetings. Chris is a Math instructor at Knoxville High School.

ISEA Executive Director Jan Reinicke (at left) will lead portions of training around "The Big Picture", fiduciary responsibilities, and Governance vs. staff roles.

ISEA Treasurer Paula Logan (at right) will lead our board orientation around the issues of meeting logistics. Paula is a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Burlington High School.

NEA Director Jim Young (at left) takes the lead in our orientation around board member attendance, the NEA perspective and understanding the Executive Board process. Jim is a 4th grade teacher in Cedar Falls.

New to our leadership team (as of July 29th) is Kathy Williams. Kathy will serve alongside Jim on the NEA Board of Directors. Kathy's role in our orientation will be to speak about their board alternate, our board policies as well as the planned board social opportunities. Kathy is a 6th grade teacher in Davenport.

Also included in our board orientation planning was Associate Executive Director for Business Services John Hanrahan (at left). John's role will be making "cents" of money for our new board members.

Associate Executive Director for Field Services Randy Richardson (at right) will lead new board members through their committee responsibilities.

We also made plans for staying connected to our board members between meetings as well as making regular contacts with our UniServ Presidents and our Large 8 Local presidents throughout the year.

Plans were reviewed for Summer Conference, plus planning strategies for implementing Team ISEA's goals for the year and much more! We have a dedicated team of leaders! Thanks team for all you continue to do as leaders on Team ISEA!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who's Her Famous Dad?

Who's her famous dad? He's in the Biz, but you know Emma's Superstar Aunt better!

Take a guess!

Quiz: Which stars do these kids call Mom & Dad?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

State Committee Chairs and Staff Liaisons Meet to Reflect and Make Plans

On Monday, June 11th, Team ISEA State Committee Chairs along with Staff Liaisons met at the ISEA office to reflect on their work from this past school year and make plans for training and the year ahead.

I led the meeting with the assistance of ISEA Vice President Chris Bern (pictured with me), ISEA Executive Director Jan Reinicke and Associate Executive Director for Field Services Randy Richardson.

We began by reflecting on this past year and our two ISEA goals of: 1)working to elect pro-public education candidates; and 2) building membership that were a part of all that we did throughout the year.

Building a Better Teaching and Learning Environment Committee leaders are (from left to right) Dave Wilkinson, Teaching and Learning Specialist; Stan Burke, Mid-Iowa UniServ Director; Bob Brown, JDC UniServ Director; and Tammy Duehr, Chair and teacher in Dubuque. They felt their greatest successes included "coming together as a committee"....having a good understanding of the work before them, the support we give to NBC candidates, and the wide-variety of relicensure course offerings.

Strengthening Local Associations Committee leaders include (from left to right) Pat Shipley, Southwest UniServ Director; and Melissa Keeney, Chair and teacher in Johnston. Other leaders that were not available for this meeting are Jean Hessburg, Communication and Membership Specialist; and Jeremy Kunz, NEIEU UniServ Director. Pat and Melissa shared success to include greater communication with UniServ and Local leaders and discussions around structure of local associations.

Building Support for Public Education Committee leaders a part of our meeting include (from left to right) Brad Hudson, ISEA Administrative Lobbyist and Cindy Carroll, Unit 2 UniServ Director. Also key to the committee (but not available today) are Kristi Keast, Chair and teacher in Mt. Vernon and Linda Schneider, Great River UniServ Director. Brad and Cindy shared that committee members started their year working to build membership and then shifted into a grassroots organizing mode for Campaign 2006. A tremendously successful Legislative Kickoff was held in January followed by the first Lobby Day in ten years--that was held in February.

Protecting Member Rights Committee members include (from left to right) Larry Stine, Chair and teacher in Estherville; Jim Crotty, South Central UniServ Director; Joann Mackin, Bargaining and Rights Specialist; and Lynette Claeys, MississippiBend UniServ Director. Leaders of this committee felt their greatest successes included having centralized information for bargaining as well as a 5% average in statewide settlement agreements.

We made plans for the dinner meeting on Monday, July 30th where we bring in all members of our state committees to dine with ISEA Executive Board members to Kickoff their training prior to Summer Conference.

Thank you Team ISEA leaders and staff for the extra effort you make every day to involve members in leadership opportunities!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

From the Des Moines Register: Play Duffy's caucus candidate quiz

Do you think you're knowledgeable on candidates that have participated in the Iowa caucuses?

See how many past presidential hopefuls you can identify by clicking "begin" below. Then scroll through the names to select your choice.
Here is one example of Brian Duffy's work!
Or check out Brian Duffy's link on the Des Moines Register site and see him at work:

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Democratic Hopefuls Address the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner

On Saturday evening, June 2nd, I represented Team ISEA at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids. It was a great opportunity to thank Iowa House and Senate members for their work on behalf of public education this legislative session as well as hear from candidates running for president.

The first to address the 1,000 gathered was U.S.Senator Tom Harkin. Senator Harkin is a real champion for workers and their families. As a member of the majority party in the U.S.Senate, Senator Harkin chairs both the Agriculture Committee and the Appropriations committee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.

Candidates running for President of the United States (in attendance) were (from left to right) top row: Senator Chris Dodd (CT); and U.S.Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY). Second row: former U.S.Senator John Edwards (NC) and Governor Bill Richardson (NM). Third row: U.S.Senator Joe Biden (DE).

It was once again a great chance to see the presidential candidates up close. Almost as important, it was an opportunity to visit more at length with key staffers of these campaigns.

I was also able to thank Iowa's freshman members of Congress, Congressman Braley and Congressman Loebsack for the difference they are making. The new majority party has really gotten down to work and made a difference for families all across the nation since taking charge in mid-January 2007!