The transcript for Becca’s speech before the REA Building Representatives and Executive Board on 4-3-2017 at our monthly REA Meeting can be found below. Please feel free to contact Becca at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Thank you!
President Kennedy once said, “The time to fix the roof is before it rains.” Seeing the dark storm clouds approach prompted me to run for REA president because we need to renew a climate of strength which bolsters our association.
We can’t get through this storm with half of an umbrella. We need strong leadership to protect our members AND a member-driven union to shield us from the downpour.
Many of you might say a leader is a voice for the voiceless. Others would say a leader has proven their strength and character.
I stand before you today to say that I will listen to your ideas and concerns, and be a voice to follow-up with action, directly, transparently, with trust, respect and robust communication. Using MY strength and character, Your voice will drive the direction of the association creating a union we can all be proud of.
Throughout my career I’ve taught and led in many capacities ranging from building, district, union and community leadership. While I own these accomplishments, this speech today isn’t about my past, it is about creating a vision for OUR future. If you or members in your building are curious about my leadership experience please visit our website at highlightingmembersneeds.org .
Together, by empowering our Executive Board, bargaining team, and building reps we will develop working conditions our members want and so desperately need. Our team will answer to YOU, the members, and will make sure that district education policies are driven by YOUR voice.
Through bargaining, we will create a culture that prioritizes a healthy work-life balance and addresses teacher burnout. Our teachers are dedicated, but THEY ARE exhausted. We must recognize this and design policies that value members’ time and
is not just another thing added to teachers’ plates.
Meetings, additional hours, new initiatives…they all should be decided upon collaboratively and not create trivial work. Administrators need to be held accountable for the state’s vision of TPEP, a professional growth evaluation, so members feel supported and valued, not belittled and incompetent.
With a stronger voice and leadership, we can improve REA’s compensation and benefits which our educators in Renton clearly deserve. Policies not yet part of our contract need to be focused on. Seeking your input, in ongoing ways throughout the bargain, informs your bargaining team to better know if your interests are being met. We will advocate for member involvement in decision making around authentic assessment that informs your practice and creates a balance between teaching and testing.
Discipline issues are adding stress and workload to our members. The district must provide consistent policies and supports for teachers and their students. Bargaining language that represents your voice to these systems will decrease your frustration, while increasing teaching and learning time.
We recognize the needs of our members do not end with classroom teachers. ESA’s and specialists are a vital part of what we do for children every day. Their workloads are driving them away from Renton. AND This MUST stop.
In order for REA leadership to organize and engage members in this work, we will provide tools through 21st century 2-way communication platforms. One example of this, will include a website for members to access pertinent association documents, our contract, an events calendar, FAQs, feedback links and Association leadership contact information.
One of my core beliefs is that We ARE the union…no one person can do it all, but together we create strength and the influence over the working conditions that OUR members ought to have.
I am a leader who reaches out and includes others to share their passions, as well as their concerns. This new approach will foster an association that is strong, vibrant and engaged to better address challenges like workload, compensation and discipline.
I am more than ready to do this! Everything I have learned has prepared me for this opportunity to serve you. Your voice and YOUR expertise are pivotal to REA and the students we teach every day because together, a stronger association will shield us from the impending downpour.
I hope you will join in this shared vision. I’m Becca Ritchie and I ask you for your vote for president of REA. Thank you.