Our year starts and ends with the NEA Annual Meeting, which is always held in Washington, DC in election years. Following the NEA Annual Meeting ,three new Executive Board members were elected. They were Ryan Grant, ACE Chair, Cathy Comar, Delegate at Large, and Steve Lalonde, who became the third WEA Board Director. The WEA Eastern Council was represented by nine delegates to the NEA Convention this July.

WEA President Mary Lindquist was our guest for the first Rep Council Meeting of the 2008-2009 year. She set a tone for cautious optimism as we headed into a presidential election year, a governor running for re-election, and several open legislative seats throughout the state.

In October, the Council had the Local Leader Retreat. It was held at the Courtyard Marriott on Oct. 3 and 4th. Local presidents attended and participated in conversations about energizing and building strong locals. Mike Boyer, Sally McNair and Pat Clark trained locals in many aspects of leadership, and Phil Becker shared his plan for building locals in Fourth Corner.

March 5, 6, and 7th brought a shared Sparks event with the Spokane Education Association. There were two Cheney EA Sparks, Mandy Guske, and Crystal Clapin. Lauren Waterbury attended from East Valley. Central Valley sent Phillip Salvador, and Megan Colyar. Phillip Church came to the event from Pullman, and Mead sent June Lamberd, Tina Heimbigner, Lindsay Rockefeller, Melanie Wiser, and Angie Wittwer. Rachel Reiber, from EWU also attended Sparks. There were many energizing activities, and the Sparks were given much individual and small group attention. All seemed to enjoy different aspects of the weekend, and came away with a much different perspective on what it means to be a member of a union.

During this legislative session, the Council lobbied against the passing of Substitute House Bill 2261, which began as HB 1410/SB 5444. It continued to live on, as it morphed into other still disagreeable pieces of legislation. Although the lobby trips numbered four, it passed anyway on April 20, and was signed by the governor, with two small exceptions on May 19th, the last possible day. (exceptions were early childhood and gifted education.)

WEA-RA Grants were awarded to Endicott, Washtucna, Mead CPEA, and Harrington this year.

In April and May, Rep Council delegates brought gently used clothing that was donated to students in need of professional interview attire. Many bags and boxes were collected.

During the April Rep Council meeting, the Sparks report was given by Lauren Waterbury, Crystal Clapin, and Amanda Guske on the Feb. 5-7 Sparks training. The training was very much appreciated and enjoyed by the young council members who attended. Their report reflected their energetic thanks to the council for sponsoring the training, and their hope that this type of very personal style outreach continues.

WEA Eastern Washington was the host unit for the WEA Representative Assembly this year. The host unit had over 50 volunteers, as well as the Chairs for the Sergeant of Arms, Page and Telephone Monitors, the Hospitality Room and Information Booth at the assembly. All reports said the RA went smoothly along as planned. Judy Wooten, past council vice president did the lion’s share of the work in getting volunteers contacted, assigned and trained. There were over 60 WEA Eastern Washingon RA delegates at Luigi’s for dinner on Friday, May 15.

May 15 was the day teachers and ESP members were to receive RIF notices. By this day, 2292 teachers and 332 ESP members got notices. More ESP members may get RIF’d because their contracts are not bound by the May 15 deadline.

WEA PAC Growth – Our Council went from 12% to almost 25% during the 2008-2009 year. Several EAs had ambitious WEA PAC drives and improved their percentages greatly. Medical Lake, Riverside, and West Valley were in this camp. Others like Central V alley, Wilbur, Rosalia and Mead kept up steady growth. Having more than doubled our WEA PAC membership really shows the hard work done in the locals. It also shows that being a “player” in the political scene is crucial.

COP Grant Presentations – Morgan Jones reported on his event. It was a mini conference and career fair. Lisa Cleveland, Diana Chapman, and Dorinda Belcher discussed their grant, a family connections and planning conference. Jill Fetcho presented her Developmental Learning Center gardening project, and Dorothy Baldwin sent programs from Mead High School’s joint orchestra concert with the Whitworth orchestra, which was a fund raiser for Crosswalk.

Annual Awards

Josh Zakar (Republic EA) won the Resilience and Courage Award.

Dick O’Brien(Central Valley EA) won the Emerging Leader Award.

Becky Gonzalez (Endicott TA) won the Grace Under Fire Award.

Donivan Johnson(Selkirk EA) won the Long Distance Leadership Award.

Renee Collins (Cheney EA) won the Rising Star Award.


Josh Zakar, Republic EA with Bev Schaefer, WEA-Eastern President
Donivan Johnson, Selkirk EA
Renee Collins, Cheney EA with Bev Schaefer, WEA-Eastern President

Dick O’Brien and Becky Gonzalez were unable to receive their awards in person, but Becky’s was presented to her at RA, and Dick’s was presented by Sally McNair and Jim Fotter in his office.

Each recipient won a $25.00 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble in addition to their “gold record.”

WEALA –This year’s WEALA event will be held in Yakima. West Valley, Medical Lake, and Mead have applied for WEALA grants through the council. This year features many new offerings, and hopefully, will energize the participants, and through them the locals in Eastern Washington.