CEA Advisor: May-June 2018

MAY - JUNE 2018 CEA ADVISOR 9 REPRESENTING SOLIDARITY, FORWARD THINKING KEY MESSAGES AT CEA RA BRIDGEPORT STRIKE REMEMBERED Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) President and NEA Director Gary Peluchette, together with BEA Vice President Ana Batista and a proud Bridgeport delegation, stood at the CEA RA to commemorate the anniversary of the teachers’ strike in that city 40 years ago this month. To a standing ovation, they presented a framed listing of the names of all 274 striking teachers who were jailed during that historic movement. It will be displayed at CEA’s Hartford office, and a copy hangs at BEA’s office as well. Surviving strikers each received their own framed copy at a commemorative dinner earlier in May. (See story, page 5.) LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS INDIVIDUALS HONORED FOR OUTREACH, COMMUNICATIONS Good communication is essential to keeping teachers informed about everything from professional development opportunities to what’s happening in the community and at the Capitol. Each year, CEA’s Public Relations Commission recognizes local Associations that go the extra mile in reaching out to their members through their websites and newsletters. Meet this year’s winners. WEBSITE AWARDS • First Place : West Hartford Education Association, Shannon McNeice • First Place – New Entry: Westport Education Association, John Horrigan • Second Place: Suffield Education Association, Mark Janick • Second Place – New Entry: Torrington Education Association, William Siss • Third Place: East Hartford Education Association, Jill McNulty • Third Place – New Entry: Waterbury Teachers Association, Raymond Santovasi NEWSLETTER AWARDS • First Place, Category 4 (301-450 members) NHEA News – North Haven Education Association, Krista Kaplan, Editor • First Place, Category 5 (locals with more than 450 members) WHEA World – West Hartford Education Association, Joyce Bogdan, Editor • Second Place, Category 5 WTA Newsletter – Waterbury Teachers Association, Raymond Santovasi, Editor THOMAS P. MONDANI CEA FRIEND OF EDUCATION AWARD Todd Ingersoll, 2018 winner The most prestigious of CEA’s awards, the Thomas P. Mondani CEA Friend of Education Award recognizes an individual or group outside of education for outstanding efforts on behalf of teachers, students, or public education. This year’s honor went to Todd Ingersoll, CEO and president of Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, nominated by Keli Solomon, a social studies teacher and member of the New Milford Education Association. Every month, Ingersoll donates the use of a courtesy car to one special teacher from the New Milford Public Schools, as well as a teacher from Bethel. For years, he has donated generously to Connecticut’s public school students and teachers, giving away hundreds of laptops to high schools in at least nine different towns and contributing funds for teachers to purchase classroom supplies. Ingersoll was unable to attend the awards ceremony. CEA SALUTES AWARD Emily Hulevitch, Enfield Teachers’ Association, 2018 winner This year’s CEA Salutes Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals or organizations to public education, went to Enfield first- grade teacher Emily Hulevitch, who was nominated by fellow elementary school teacher Michele Wilcox. “Emily’s desire to lend a hand wherever needed means she is frequently out in her community, giving to the soup kitchen on behalf of her local Association and serving coffee and cake to Enfield senior citizens, snow cones and cotton candy to its youngest citizens, and warm beverages to veterans at various town events,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen, presenting the award. Hulevitch has also helped organize a book drive and Family Engagement Day in Enfield, as well as purchased a library of rich early education literature and donated $200 toward the construction of a playground for young children. “Emily Hulevitch, CEA salutes you!” said Cohen. Remembering the 10 teachers and students who lost their lives in the then-latest school shooting, at Santa Fe High School in Texas, CEA Executive Director Donald Williams noted that 22 separate school shootings have been reported so far this year in the U.S. “We cannot normalize this in our country,” he urged nearly 500 teachers gathered for the Connecticut Education Association Representative Assembly (CEA RA), the Association’s highest policymaking body. Pointing out Connecticut’s leadership on the issue of gun safety legislation in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, he also noted the strong rights and freedoms Connecticut teachers enjoy. “We may take for granted the ability to bargain for good wages, benefits, working conditions, and the many freedoms that teachers fought for in cities such as Bridgeport 40 years ago,” he said. But he urged CEA members to look at what is happening in other states, where teachers’ voices at the table have been taken away and the only option is to strike, often without pay and at the risk of being jailed. “There are those who want to turn the teaching profession in Connecticut into a similar revolving door of low-paid jobs,” he said, touching on various harmful proposals that were brought before the 2018 General Assembly. “Those proposals in Connecticut were defeated, and CEA staff and members were successful at protecting teachers’ rights.” A shining example Also addressing the crowd was Missouri NEA President Charles Smith, who shared the story of his state, which has become a right-to-work state and is now, in his words, in “the worst of times.” With an upcoming vote that could overturn the decision to make Missouri a right-to-work state, Smith vowed that his association will continue to vigorously fight for students and the teaching profession. “CEA, you have been a watchtower for students and public education,” he said, urging members to “continue to make Connecticut a shining example for this nation.” CEA Executive Director Donald Williams CEA President Sheila Cohen presents Emily Hulevitch with the CEA Salutes award. Accepting newsletter and website awards are Mark Janick, Jill McNulty, Tom Marak (on behalf of Krista Kaplan), Joyce Bogdan, Theresa McKeown (on behalf of Shannon McNeice), and Michael McCotter and Carrie Cassady (on behalf of William Siss). Waterbury Teachers Association President Kevin Egan accepts the WTA Newsletter award on behalf of Raymond Santovasi. John Horrigan accepts the first- place website award for a new entry by the Westport Education Association. Missouri NEA President Charles Smith