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
Current CEA Vice President Jeff Leake and Treasurer Tom Nicholas were voted CEA President and Vice President
at the CEA RA today.
May 19, 2018
In contested races, 428 teacher delegates elected a new president, Jeff Leake, and vice president, Tom Nicholas,
to lead the Connecticut Education Association for the next three years. The election took place on May 19 at the
170th CEA Representative Assembly (CEA RA). The president and vice president's three-year terms begin July 15.
In addition, in uncontested races, delegates elected directors to represent them on the NEA Board of Directors.
Vernon teacher David Jedidian was elected NEA director, and Tara Flaherty, a teacher at Shepaug Valley School in
Washington, was elected NEA director alternate. Their three-year terms begin September 1.
New CEA Leaders
Leake received 242 votes, to 184 votes received by challenger Robert Smoler, a math teacher and president of the
Fairfield Education Association.
Leake, who has been CEA vice president for the past six years as well as president of the Connecticut Education
Foundation, promised to continue working hard to champion public education and the teaching profession.
Vernon teacher David Jedidian was elected NEA director, and Tara Flaherty, a teacher at Shepaug Valley
School in Washington, was elected NEA director alternate.
An ardent supporter of collective bargaining rights, which increasingly have been under fire around the country,
Leake said, "Collective bargaining lifts up everyone and empowers teachers to fight for the rights of their
students and public education. We must not forget that teachers need the right to collectively negotiate for
decent, equitable pay, affordable healthcare, quality schools, and vibrant communities."
Newly elected CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas received 296 votes, to 132 votes garnered by challenger Mia Dimbo,
a Bridgeport teacher and member of CEA's Board of Directors who ran from the floor.
A Manchester social worker, Nicholas currently serves as CEA treasurer, a post he was elected to in 2012. He
also serves on numerous CEA boards and committees, and his positions have included county director, past NEA
director, and local Association president.
"With all the attacks on public education," he said, "it is crucial to continue working with legislators and the
State Department of Education to ensure adequate and equitable funding for our pubic schools."
New Business, New Budget
On this, the second day of the two-day meeting, delegates overwhelmingly adopted a new CEA budget for fiscal
year 2018-2019, with no increase in membership dues.
Delegates applauded Cohen's two terms as CEA president.
Delegates also adopted a new business item that would reconstitute a Poverty Task Fore appointed by the incoming
president to propose legislation and other appropriate steps to reduce poverty and diminish its impact on
Cohen Reflects on Career as Teacher, Education Leader
Reflecting on nearly 50 years in public education and 21 years in official roles at CEA, outgoing President
Sheila Cohen—whose term ends July 15—urged teachers to continue the fight to protect students,
public education, and the teaching profession.
Addressing delegates as CEA president for the sixth and final time, Cohen called this one of her most poignant
days, as well as one of her proudest.
Retiring CEA President Sheila Cohen was celebrated by her colleagues at the 2018 CEA RA.
"Even when faced with daunting challenges, constantly changing mandates, frustrations that can bring you to
tears, funding cuts to education, and political attacks on our profession and our union," she said, "teaching is
still the only job for me, and the best job in the world. From the time I first became your NEA Director in
1997, until today, I have never been afraid to take calculated risks and to be an outspoken advocate for our
collective bargaining rights, our professional development, social justice issues, and our political organizing.
I have been vigilant on the issue of our pensions—the benefits we were promised and have worked so hard
for—so that we can retire with dignity."
Cohen spoke about issues from testing to certification, to finally getting an assault bill passed that will
guarantee the safety of students and teachers, to the decoupling of a single standardized test score counting as
22.5% of our evaluations, to the squashing of any attempt to diminish collective bargaining in the legislature.
We knew that education cost sharing was getting the short end of the stick, and in partnership with locals,
parents, and students, we filed an injunction against a gubernatorial executive order.
Miraculously," she said with a wave of her hand, "more money appeared."
Crediting the thousands of CEA members who stood together on these and other issues—attending rallies,
providing oral and written testimony, and contacting their legislators, Cohen said, "All of you stepped up,
answered the challenges, and kept moving forward for the sake of your students, your profession, and our belief
that together we can change our public education for the better. My achievements are our achievements," said
Cohen, "and they would not have been possible without you."
She implored her colleagues to keep up the fight. "While we did not win every battle, we learned something from
each and everyone—something that helped us move forward and made us stronger for the next
battle—which always comes."
There are those, including current U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who argue that spending more on public education doesn't lead to better outcomes. School finance expert and Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker begs to differ, and he has research to back his position up.
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.