CEA advocates for teachers and public education. We've been a driving force in lobbying legislators
for the resources public schools need and campaigning for high standards for teachers and students.
Our proud history spans more than 150 years.
Whether it's your first time in the classroom or your sixth year, we are here with
all the resources early-career professionals need. We've got classroom management
and professional development ideas. We've got more ways to stretch your hard-earned
dollars. And we've got your back.
The Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM) is a two year induction program for
beginning teachers that includes mentorship and professional development. Beginning
teachers participating in the program are assigned a trained mentor to guide them
through developing individualized growth plans, uniquely based on their own needs as
Building Connections, Strength at CEA Summer Leadership
Carrie and Joseph Cassady (who teach in Torrington, CT and Rhode Island respectively) met at the NEA RA five
August 1, 2017
In her opening remarks at the 2017 CEA Summer Leadership Conference, President Sheila Cohen told a packed
ballroom, "All of you represent the equalizers in our society, the igniting sparks of innovation and creativity,
and the social justice warriors of our nation. You make a difference. You are teachers."
On this, day two of the annual conference, Cohen's hundreds of warriors continued enriching their professional
development for the classroom, expanding their skills on union issues, and building and renewing relationships
with their colleagues across the state—and in some cases, across the state border.
Twenty-year veteran speech and language pathologist Stacey DelGiorno, a building representative in Berlin, was
happy for the opportunity to catch up with former colleagues from Wallingford and meet new friends as well.
"I find it a great place to network and keep connecting," said DelGiorno, who is attending the Summer Leadership
Conference for the second year in a row. "Last year, I brought back a lot of valuable information to our school
on how to communicate with staff and how to hold mini meetings."
Joseph Cassady, one of nine members of NEA Rhode Island attending CEA's Summer Leadership Conference, said the
event is "an opportunity to look at the state right next door—where we are looking at the same horizon.
We've made great strides in our teacher evaluation system, which Connecticut has already accomplished. But our
pension system was ravaged. Our teachers got crushed by the new pension system." In one of the best examples of
relationship-building at Association events, Cassady met his wife, CEA member and Torrington teacher Carrie
Cassady, at the NEA RA five years ago in Chicago.
Greg Perry, who teaches at Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich, said, "I find coming here that you get
educated on the issues, you make connections, and you benefit from the fellowship."
Over the course of her decade as a teaching professional, Montville Education Association's new vice president,
Jennifer Natale, says her involvement with the union has grown, and recent threats to the profession have
redoubled her commitment to her colleagues.
"Last year, I was our local Association's membership chair. I went to the CEA RA and got more involved in the
union. I realize how important that is. We are in a fight for our profession now," Natale said, "and on the
state level, we are fighting for our retirement and against putting that responsibility—that
tax—on our towns."
Glastonbury Education Association Secretary Miles Lubben, attending the conference for the first time, said the
states he taught in previously—Arizona and Indiana—were so-called "right-to-work states," where
teacher protections were weak or nonexistent. "Now that I'm in Connecticut, I'm in a state where the union
protects teachers and where I can help my colleagues. I'm here to be more knowledgeable about how that works,
more involved, part of the process."
Third-year conference attendee Eric Bergman, a building rep in Clinton, also taught in Arizona before coming to
Connecticut 16 years ago. "It was a right-to-work state, where teachers really didn't have any rights. In
effect, Arizona had a teachers union without any teeth." Bergman described low wages and large class sizes. "I
tried everything to make it work—coaching, tutoring, waiting tables, working as an adjunct professor while
holding down a job teaching a class of anywhere from 32 to 41 students. Here in Connecticut, we have a very
strong union, and I feel privileged to be a part of it. It's vitally important that teachers get involved and
have input into policy, agenda, and goals."
Timothy Whipples, an eleven-year veteran elementary school teacher from Stonington, acknowledges that in his
first few years as a teacher he was not active in his union.
"I was just trying to survive and didn't want to seem 'political' in a job I needed." Soon, however, Whipples
realized that getting active would strengthen his position as well as his profession. "As a building rep, I want
to hear what's happening at the state level. I want to know what I'm responsible for and how I can best advocate
for my teachers. By going to meetings, I feel more informed. We just went through contract negotiations, and I
knew what was happening. I felt empowered."
Also preparing for contract negotiations is local President Greg Perry, a teacher at Integrated Day Charter
School in Norwich, one of CEA's three member charter schools.
"Summer Leadership offers great professional development. This is my third year. Last year, I did presidents'
training, which helped me get staff involved in advocating for our profession. There are things coming down the
pike from state government and the Supreme Court, but we don't always know what to do—so I'm funneling
information from these workshops, Association emails, and the CEA Advisor to my teachers. I find coming here
that you get educated on the issues, you make connections, and you benefit from the fellowship—being around
people who care about our kids and our schools."
Teachers are a selfless group who choose their profession because of a love for children and teaching, not for any expectation of accolades or honors. And that makes those times teachers are recognized and have a chance to be in the spotlight all the more special.
Once again, the Connecticut Education Foundation's Board of Directors invites you to support the Children's Fund by joining Association members and CEA staff at the 25th Annual Hands Across the Green Golf Tournament on Monday, July 15.
Teachers have a lot to say on issues from their pensions to classroom safety this legislative session, which is why local associations around Connecticut are meeting with their legislators and making their voices heard.
Speaking to hundreds of students at Harding High School in Bridgeport today, Governor Ned Lamont encouraged his audience to pursue a career in teaching and be role models for the next generation of students.
Wearing #RedForEd T-shirts, several hundred Waterbury teachers showed their strength as a union, their dedication to their profession, and their value to the community they serve when they packed a March 7 Waterbury Board of Education meeting.
Community schools, minority teacher recruitment and retention, the opportunity gap, and school literacy were just some of the issues members of the legislature's Education Committee heard public input.
"Our students would only benefit from having more opportunities to learn about the culture, struggles, and contributions of African-Americans and Latinos throughout history," Waterbury teacher Sean Mosley told the legislature's Education Committee
"Teachers become teachers because we want to help kids," says Danbury building rep Lori Woodruff. "It's the same with our union—we are here to help each other. As teachers, when we're involved with the union we can do more to help one another."
Connecticut Education Foundation's (CEF) second annual Read Across America Reading Bus Tour kicked off on February 25, featuring a customized blue bus decorated with well-known Dr. Seuss characters and outfitted with bookshelves, benches, carpeting, and hundreds of new books.
At a public hearing of the legislature's Education Committee today, classroom teachers—along with CEA leaders and staff—gave powerful testimony urging lawmakers to address the crisis of violent student behavior in rural, urban, and suburban schools throughout the state.
Teachers, CEA leaders, and staff testified before the Connecticut General Assembly's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on issues critical to teachers this legislative session. These issues included school climate, classroom safety, the persistent shortage of ethnic minority educators, and funding for public schools.
CEA supports sensible ways of assisting the state in its efforts to make up for decades of underfunding teachers' retirement, including the governor and treasurer's plan to smooth out the state's payments to the fund over a longer period of time and lower the investment earning assumption to a more realistic rate.
"We reject the idea of cutting our way to prosperity. That has never worked," said Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano. His remarks came at a press conference yesterday where members of the labor community, including CEA, called on the state to adopt a pro-growth, investment budget.
Project Oceanology and New England Science and Sailing are partnering to offer "Sound Education: Working with NGSS and STEM in Long Island Sound". This is a FREE two-day PD event from April 5 - April 6 for teachers in grades 4-12, with overnight accommodations provided in Project Oceanology's waterfront hostel.
Legislation passed late in 2015 made many "tax extenders" semi-permanent, but there are still a few esoteric items that keep everyone on tenterhooks when, as once again this year, Congress fails to pass the tax bill by the end of the year.
Marks the inauguration of a new governor and the beginning of the 2019 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. It's likely to be a busy session with many issues for legislators to tackle over these next five months.