VVTA’s Speech for the Orientation

Fellow Educators, Support Staff and Honored Guests, I am glad to be here speaking with you today.
I would like to start by introducing you to the backbone of the union. Please stand when you are called. Our Vice President, Kayla Gleason (CHHS): Director of Secondary, Paul Nelson(LMS); Director of Elementary, Micki Gates(LES); our Treasurer, Kim DuCloux(MRES); our Secretary, Cheryl Zablow (AES); And our Members at Large, Amy Bullockus (RVHS) and Sherrie Marcinov (CHHS). Site Reps, please stand up. Friends, get to know them, they are amazing resources and integral to our union, our sites and our district, they are the conduit from our Exec Board to the rest of the membership and from our membership to our Exec Board.
This week we have welcomed over 50 new educators into our family, please make them feel welcome at your sites and support them through their first year in our profession. It is a rewarding one, but challenging, especially those first years.
Just like our new teachers, we all came to this profession to make a difference in kids’ lives. We didn’t come into education because of the money. We are here because of the students. Our unity within VVTA and our collaboration with the district gives us the security to make sure students get the resources they need to learn.
We are all educators, from the Superintendent, the administrators, the teachers and all of our classified brothers and sisters. We all create the learning environment for our students. Without all of us, they would not succeed. Our main goal needs to be to take back our profession from those who have no experience in the educational field. As educators, we sometimes fall into the trap of blaming all our troubles on those who are dismantling public education: Charters, vouchers, big business, DeVoss. However, I believe our troubles stem closer to home. We, as educators, have lost our voices. I have seen teachers who have strong, passionate voices in the island of their classrooms but remain silent when they leave the sanctity of their rooms.
We need to speak up for our profession! Our voices need to be loud, clear, and focused. When we see a kid that needs a service the school should supply our voice need to be loud, clear, and focused. When a teacher next to us needs help or has lost their way as an educator, our voices need to be loud, clear, and focused. When we know our schools are not heading in a good direction, our voices need to be loud, clear, and focused.
As a district, we are organizing credible partners in education to provide meaningful input in order to define and control our profession so that every student has the school they deserve. We all work hard to make sure all of our students have a great learning environment. We will continue to increase our voice within our profession and within the district by being involved in the Site Rep / Admin Retreat, by being a part of the Curriculum Council, and by sharing the responsibility for our Professional Development. We need to continue to ensure that every student has the school that they deserve, schools we would be proud to have our loved ones attend.
We expect that all of our students learn, all 20,000 of them. They are the responsibility of every person here today. No student should leave our district without the skills to go to college, tech school or earn a decent living. I believe their preparation for life is a RIGHT, NOT a privilege.
The way to do that is to truly work together as teams at our sites, in our associations, and across the district to assure that every one of our students succeeds. Join me in starting the school year with voices that are loud, clear and focused. Thank you for your time.
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