10 CEA ADVISOR SUMMER 2019 SUPPORTING NEW ADDITIONS TO CEA’S TEAM—UNISERV REPS IN YOUR CORNER CEA has hired three talented UniServ Representatives to advocate at the local level for improved teaching and learning conditions and provide teachers with professional advice related to on-the-job concerns. Sue Fulleton , who represents Unit 16, has worked as both a CEA UniServ Representative and director of affiliate services and member development. Prior to joining CEA, she was an elementary and special education teacher in South Dakota and Nebraska, where she also held positions as the Nebraska State Education Association’s program director for teacher rights, program director for professional practice, and UniServ director, testifying before state agencies and legislative bodies, negotiating contracts and filing grievances on behalf of members, and serving on salary initiative committees. Fulleton earned her master’s degree in special education from Western Illinois University and her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska. She now represents Canaan, Cornwall, Kent, Litchfield, New Milford, North Canaan, Region 1 (Housatonic Valley), Region 6 (Wamago), Region 12 (Shepaug Valley), Region 14 (Nonnewaug), Salisbury, and Sharon. “I can think of no other contribution more valuable than working with CEA educators in this time of challenge and opportunity,” she says. Donald Jones , who begins on August 1, is a UniServ Rep and labor law attorney with more than 20 years’ experience. His expertise lies in union contract negotiation and enforcement, union organizing, development, and leadership training, legal arbitration and mediation, and employee representation in the public sector. A graduate of Washington State University and the University of Sue Fulleton Donald Jones Oregon School of Law, Jones has held positions as assistant attorney general for the State of Montana, staff attorney for Disability Rights Montana, and field consultant/ director of members’ rights at the Montana Federation of Public Employees. In leadership roles with the Montana School Boards Association and the Helena School Board, he has helped increase teacher pay as well as funding for schools, all-day kindergarten, and teacher retirement. “I am ready to provide outstanding UniServ representation for the Connecticut Education Association,” says Jones, who will represent Unit 5 districts CES, Milford, Stratford, and Trumbull. J. David Eng-Wong , who begins on September 3, joins CEA after 23 years as a labor relations representative for the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), where he led negotiations teams, litigated arbitrations and public employment law issues, led organizing campaigns, conducted training, and planned conferences. He earned his master’s degree in labor relations from UMass Amherst. Eng-Wong represents the Unit 4 school districts of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, and Wilton. “As we have approached the post- Janus landscape,” he says, “I have focused on developing robust internal organizing campaigns and union structures to allow local unions to effectively address members’ concerns and provide a structure to push back against potential anti-union campaigns.” J. David Eng-Wong CEA Communications took home eight national awards at the 2019 State Education Association Communicators (SEAComm) Conference. Earning the prestigious Award of Excellence in Category 2 (Medium Size Association) was the Association’s flagship publication, CEA Advisor , which was named best newspaper for the fifth consecutive year. Also in first place were the CEA Advisor May 2018 cover story “Education’s Rotten Apples” about corporate interests masquerading as education advocates (best investigative reporting), CEAgo (best constituent newsletter), and Membership Matters brochure (best membership materials). Awards of Distinction in Category 2 also went to CEA for best advertising campaign, “Connecticut Public School Teachers: Uniting Us Every Day”—a multimedia initiative that included television, radio, and online messaging—as well as the Spanish-language video Maestros de la Escuelas Publicas de Connecticut , which was an integral part of the NEA-funded campaign. The CEA Advisor was also recognized with Awards of Distinction for best editorial layout, as well as best feature story, “CEA Teachers Spread the Word about Free Dental Clinic.” “I am so proud of the work that our Communications Department does every day for Connecticut’s teachers,” says CEA’s communications director, Nancy Andrews, who accepted the awards at this year’s SEAComm Conference in Austin, Texas. “Our team was recognized for all their hard work, and despite being up against some tough competition from states with big #RedforEd strikes—such as West Virginia, Colorado, and Arizona—CEA’s efforts and achievements shined through.” Connecticut Has a New Commissioner of Education New Commissioner of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona and CEA President Jeff Leake Dr. Miguel Cardona, assistant superintendent of schools for teaching and learning in Meriden, has been recommended by the State Board of Education to serve as the next commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education. Cardona, a former fourth grade teacher who is bilingual, has served alongside CEA leaders on several statewide committees. “The Connecticut Education Association applauds the appointment of Dr. Miguel Cardona as Connecticut’s Education Commissioner,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “We have worked with Dr. Cardona in our efforts to establish cultures of professional learning and support in our local districts. Our experience with him indicates that he will be an energetic, progressive, and collaborative leader, sensitive to the needs of urban districts and students but mindful of the needs of all of Connecticut’s students and districts. We are looking forward to working with him to achieve equity and excellence for all Connecticut students by reducing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in all of Connecticut’s school districts.” “It is an honor to have been nominated to serve in this position, and I am humbled by the opportunity to work with my fellow teachers and leaders on creating the best and most effective educational system for our state’s students as possible,” Cardona said. “Through a collective effort between everyone who has involvement in our schools, I believe we can make a positive impact on graduation rates, further close achievement gaps, and ensure that all students have increased access to the opportunities and advantages they need to achieve success in life.” Cardona went to public school in Meriden, as did his parents, and he now has two children who attend the city’s schools. He has worked in Meriden his entire career, first as a teacher and principal before being named the district’s performance evaluation specialist. He became assistant superintendent in 2015. Cardona holds a B.A. in education from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree, 6th year certificate, and Ed.D. from UConn. He currently serves as adjunct faculty in the UConn Administrator Preparation Program. Cardona’s nomination now goes to the General Assembly for approval. He will begin serving as commissioner-designate on August 7. CEA WINS MULTIPLE COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS Congressman Courtney’s Bill to Repeal Health Care Tax Passes House The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted 419-6 to approve Congressman Joe Courtney’s Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019. This bill would do away with a looming tax on higher-cost health care plans that would disproportionately affect those in high cost of living areas and groups with higher percentages of women, people with families, and older employees. Courtney understands the tax would cut needed benefits for Connecticut’s dedicated teachers and has been working for a decade to abolish it. “Teachers have continued to accept salary freezes and cuts in order to save their health care coverage,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “This tax would be devastating for educators, and we thank Congressman Courtney for his advocacy.” Courtney’s legislation is supported by a broad coalition of labor, employer, and patient advocate groups, including CEA. The bill must go before the Senate for a vote before it becomes law. CEA Communications graphic designer Sandy Cassineri, director Nancy Andrews, CEA Advisor editor Lesia Winiarskyj, and new media coordinator Laurel Killough.