Saturday, April 21, 2018

'No More!'--Delegates Take Stand for School Safety

Led by President Jim Livingston and Vice President James Fedderman, convention delegates chanted "No more!" after a discussion on school safety Friday. April 20 had been designated a National Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence in Schools by the NEA and other organizations, and convention delegates wanted to make a strong statement in support.

The Governor Stops By

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam visited the convention Friday, speaking to members of the VEA Fund for Children and Public Education and at the Awards Banquet. Here, he's interviewed by a local television station outside the convention hall.

VEA Honors Outstanding Educators at Banquet

Among those honored at the annual awards banquet on Friday evening were Crystal DeLong of Bedford County, who won the VEA Award for Excellence in Teaching (top) and Theresia Rollins Anderson of Fairfax, who was named VEA's Education Support Professional of the Year.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sharing Passion

Fairfax Education Association President Kevin Hickerson spoke movingly of traveling to West Virginia to support colleagues involved in that state's teacher walkout, telling delegates that those teachers "did it for all of us and our children."

VEA Honors Supportive Legislators

For courageously voting his conscience on education issues and for staunchly supporting Virginia's public schools and those who work in them, Delegate Gordon C. Helsel Jr. of Poquoson was named the VEA's Legislator of the Year. He accepted the award at Friday morning's session (above), telling Association members that no honor he's received means more to him.
          Among other General Assembly members earning VEA awards were Sen. Jennifer McCllelan and Del. Chris Hurst.

Even Downtime was Useful at Convention!

Delegates took a short break on the floor of the convention to contact legislators via cyberspace, urging them to support a budget that includes Medicaid expansion, which would not only bring healthcare to many who struggle to get it, but also free up millions for public education.

And It's a Good Time, Too!

Just ask Steve Lavery of the Pulaski County Education Association.

VEA Made Change in Richmond!

VEA's influence has grown to where the Association helps write state education policy, gets good bills rewritten to make them better, gets bad bills killed, and has a open seat at the table, Legislative Chair Sam Eure (above) told delegates in the annual Legislative Report. Eure, of the York Education Association, also noted that there at now 28 women in the General Assembly, an all-time high.

The Debate Begins

Kelly Walker, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association, moves New Business Item #1, a call for duty-free lunches for all teachers.

Your Vote Counts!

The VEA Fund for Children and Public Education was selling these t-shirts on Day Two, encouraging members to understand and exercise their important role in the progress of public education in our state.

A Special Welcome to the Rookies!

During the convention's opening session, all first-time delegates were introduced and given a rousing welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

President Livingston Urges Bold Action

Applauding the difference members' advocacy made over the last year, most notably in putting candidates friendly to public education in statewide office, President Jim Livingston also challenged delegates to help "reinvent the VEA" with bold new passion and outreach. He gave a special shout-out to first-time convention attendees and urged a new approach to recruiting young educators into the Association, asking "Are you ready to change the future?"

Virginia Education Secretary Atif Qarni, VEA Member, Fires Up Delegates

Atif Qarni, a member of the Prince William Education Association and the first classroom teacher to be appointed Virginia's Secretary of Education, fired up delegates at the convention's opening session, stressing how proud he is to be an Association member and pointing out that nothing is impossible once you've taught a class of 35 eighth-graders.
     Qarni, who came to the U.S. at age 10, credits his outstanding ESL and other teachers for his success, asked three things of delegates:

  • Contact state senators and urge them to pass a budget including Medicaid expansion, as the House of Delegates has;
  • Invite local officials into classrooms during Teacher Appreciation Week in May; and
  • Step up and fight for Governor Ralph Northam's education agenda when he proposes his first budget next year.

Open Hearings Kick Off Convention Events

Teaching exceptional children, immigration, legislation, teacher evaluation, VEA Resolutions and Budget, and human and civil rights advocacy were the subjects of open hearings Thursday afternoon before the opening of the convention, offering delegates an opportunity to discuss and offer input. Here, Christel Coman of the Campbell County Education Association takes notes during one session.

Association Members Roll into Hampton

VEA members from all over the state are starting to arrive at the Hampton Roads Convention Center for tonight's opening session of the 2018 VEA convention. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2018

We're Headed for Hampton!

Some 700 delegates, educators from across the Commonwealth, are heading for Hampton this week for the VEA convention! It will be exciting, productive, and busy, and we look forward to all that we'll accomplish there.

Stay tuned to this blog for regular updates once the gavel comes down on Thursday evening!