During their recent Delegate’s Assembly, NEA-New Hampshire announced the winners of the Association’s awards for 2014.
Large Local of the Year – Windham Education Association
The Large Local of the Year Award was presented to the Windham Education Association. After suffering contract rejections by voters for two straight years, the WEA banded together last May and developed a plan with support from NEA-NH to get their contract passed this March. They met regularly and worked diligently to communicate with their members and the greater community at large to get their contract passed. They designed and built a picture wall in their schools showing teachers working with students for all visitors to see. They formed a committee of educators and parents whose mission was to promote the district and proposed contract to voters. They put up lawn signs throughout town that simply stated “Education” They used social media to spread their message and stood united every Friday by wearing their local association t-shirts and greeting students and parents outside of school. This year’s large local winner, the Windham Education Association, can proudly say they have executed their plan and included everyone in their efforts and as a result their 2014 Collective Bargaining Agreement was passed by the voters.
Medium Local of the Year – Education Association of Pembroke
Like many of our locals, the Education Association of Pembroke, EAP, suffered a contract defeat in March of 2013. Instead of settling for another defeat, this year they invited NEA-NH’s Communication Director, George Strout, to conduct his M.O.M. training (Messaging, Organizing and Mobilizing) to get their contract passed this March. They formed a communications team headed by President Rebecca Butler, held regular planning and communication meetings and used every public relations tool available to them, such as an association brochure mailed out to community members, letters were sent to parents and a voter registration initiative was launched. They even provided babysitting and entertainment for children during the town meeting. All their efforts were recognized this past Saturday when their contract overwhelmingly was passed by voters.
The Small Local of the Year – Cornish Education Association
Although small in size there is strength in standing united around a cause. With 100% membership, this 11 member association held MOM training and developed a plan to get their contracted passed this past Tuesday. Their efforts centered around promoting a positive school culture and developing a better relationship with their superintendent. They did not just bring issues and complaints to their superintendent they brought ideas and solutions as well. They conducted phone banks to identified education friendly voters and wrote floor speeches for town meeting day to make sure their voices and points were heard.
The News Media Award – Advancing New Hampshire Public Education, Bill Duncan
This award recognizes an individual that consistently promotes a supportive stance on education in the media. This year NEA-NH recognized Bill Duncan, who hosts the news blog “Advancing New Hampshire Public Education.” His efforts to communicate and promote legislation and policies that improve New Hampshire public education, and oppose legislation seen as harmful, are viewed by thousands each week, including elected officials and news media outlets and reporters. His most recent work this legislative session has been defending the Common Core State Standards and anti-common core legislation.
Bill has written and posted hundreds of articles and entries on his web site, and interviewed teachers and parents across the state to gain a true perspective on the positive effect Common Core standards have on students and learning. He produced videos highlighting teachers who have worked hard to implement common core standards into their classrooms, giving them a platform to tell their stories and promote the game-changing improvement the standards represent. Bill regularly testifies at legislative hearings and writes about his experiences in an effort to educate and promote elected officials and citizens of the importance of world-class public education.
Bill believes that the best advocates for public education are public educators and he works tirelessly to be sure that our voices are heard.
2014 Friend of Education Award – Senator Jeff Woodburn
NEA-New Hampshire is honored to recognize a true champion for public education in the Granite State. Jeff Woodburn is currently serving his first term in the New Hampshire Senate. He has the distinction of having the largest legislative district in state, encompassing 27 percent of the state’s landmass, fifty-eight communities including Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, and the small, but famous town of Dixville, where, every four years at midnight, the first votes are cast in New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary.
A third-generation resident of Coos County, Sen. Woodburn has a deep understanding of rural life and people. As a result, his legislative priorities include protecting and promoting North Country values and culture and bending state government to meet the needs of rural communities and the people who live there. He has fought tirelessly to get school building aid for the schools in his district and this year was the prime sponsor of NEA-NH’s Senate Bill to reduce the probationary period for teachers from 5 years back down to 3 years for new teachers and from 3 years to 2 years for experienced educators moving districts.
Senator Woodburn has a long, varied career – as successful entrepreneur, award-winning writer and teacher and child advocate. While still in high school, he was elected to the state’s Constitutional Convention in 1984. He also served in the state House of Representatives from 1988-1990, as a top aide and campaign manager to U.S. Congressman Dick Swett from 1990-1994 and as Chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1997-99. A love for history led Senator Woodburn to start Historic Properties, an award-winning specialty real estate firm. He taught in North Country schools and has written for several newspapers. In 2012, he was honored by the New Hampshire Press Association as the columnist of the year. Presently, he writes for New Hampshire Magazine and serves as the Executive Director of the Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions.
Jo Cambell Education Support Personnel Award – Yvonne Borghetti, Salem ESP
This award is presented annually to an education support professional who has shown outstanding effort to improve the educational atmosphere in their school, local association and state association. This year’s recipient is the president of her local that encompasses 8 schools and has developed a comprehensive membership campaign over the last year to recruit new members. She also led the fight to organize members when the superintendent and school board threatened significantly cut hours to the ESP employees as a result of the affordable Care Act. She fought this cut back on two fronts; through organizing over 80 members to meet in person with the superintendent and through the legal system with our attorneys. As a result, the school district notified the ESP employees that their hours would not be cut. Salem ESP members owe a great deal to this year’s Jo Campbell Award winner, Yvonne Borghetti.
Christa McAuliffe Leadership Award – Karen Ladd, SREA
This award is presented each year to commemorate Christa McAuliffe and her dedication to education. This award is presented to an NEA-NH member who has shown the greatest contribution towards the improvement of the education atmosphere through their leadership. This year’s recipient has been a local leader who dedicated herself to the work of contract negotiations, grievance procedure, political activity and membership recruitment. She not only has been active in her local but is also an NEA-NH Field Consultant, an NEA Representative Assembly Delegate, and an active Membership Committee member. During the 2012 election Karen hit the pavement to support candidates with progressive platforms and agendas and even met up with Vice President Joe Bidden canvassing in Manchester. Her activism and insight has had a long-term impact in greatly improving the educational atmosphere in her local and at NEA-NH .
The TREA Award – Larry Ballard, AEA
The TREA Award commemorates the passage of the Collective Bargaining Law back in 1974 resulting from the Timberlane teachers strike. It is presented each year to a teacher member who has contributed to the collective bargaining process and worked successfully top advocate for members. This year’s recipient, Larry Ballard from Amherst, has worked for years with his local negotiations team to coordinate efforts to mobilize members and advocate for bargaining rights. Whether it’s signs, rallies, letters to the editor, press releases, coordinating speakers at school board meeting or social media campaigns, he has done it all. Most recently he served two years on his negotiations team working to settle a contract that balances both the interests of both teachers and the board. His is a constant advocate in the battle to protect and defend contract language and its implementation through grievances.
The Guberman Award, Benjamin Dick, MEA
In 1983, an award to commemorate Stephen Guberman, a UniServ Director of Region IV, who succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 38 was created. This award is given to a member who has made the greatest contribution to the education labor movement in New Hampshire as determined by the membership of the New Hampshire Education Staff Organization. Uniserv staff are asked to nominate candidates and the associate staff committee selects the winner.
This year’s winner is an incredible advocate for his members. Besides being an outstanding teacher, Ben embodies all the qualities we admire in a leader. He is knowledgeable about the CBA, he cares about public education and labor, and is able to achieve the best balance between the two. He is easy to work with and is always available to his members. He is extremely articulate, is able to listen to concerns, and then express them with a deep passion for teacher and student rights.
He attends the School Board meetings, even the ones that run well into the night. Ben is the face of the Manchester Education Association and is on speed dial for the Superintendent and the Mayor. It may sound strange but the relationships that he has developed over time with the stakeholders, including the Superintendent and Mayor, in the community allows the union to stand strong in the face of adversity.