WVEA celebrates 150th anniversary at annual meeting

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WVEA celebrates 150th anniversary at annual meeting

Delegate Assembly also elects officers, presents awards to guests
WVEA Communications Division- press release

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Education Association celebrated its 150th anniversary during its annual meeting, the Delegate Assembly, held April 15-17 in Charleston.

“On this milestone anniversary, we reflect on the everyday efforts that members of the WVEA both past and present have made to improve public education in West Virginia,” said WVEA President Dale Lee. “We look forward to another 150 years, and want a bright future with the best public schools possible for our children.

“It is obvious that our work continues, given the current state of affairs at the Legislature,” Lee said.

Before a banquet Saturday at the Charleston Marriot Town Center, delegates elected four WVEA members to three-year terms of office.

The Delegate Assembly re-elected current WVEA Treasurer Fred Farris to a new three-year term. Farris is a sixth grade math instructor at Independence Middle School in Raleigh County.       

The delegates also re-elected two current members and elected one new member to three-year terms on the WVEA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee oversees policies set by the Assembly and the new members are now serving. They are:

  • New member Jason Crouch, a classroom teacher at Ansted Middle School in Fayette County, who has been very active in local efforts to solve the county’s serious school facilities problems.

  • Re-elected member Gwendolyn Lacy, a classroom teacher at Fall River Elementary School in McDowell County.

  • Re-elected member Elliott Kendle, a classroom teacher at Paden City Elementary School in Wetzel County.     

    During the celebration banquet on Saturday, WVEA also presented former West Virginia Teacher of the Year Gail Adams with a WVEA Ermalee Boice Community Outreach Award, which is presented to a local association or a person who fosters improvements in relationships between public schools and the broader community.

    Teachers and educators should share with the public all the good things that are happening in their local schools, Adams said. She encouraged those in the audience to write op-eds to their community newspapers or even just share good news about schools on Twitter and other social media.

    “Let’s do it for our students,” she said.

    Adams is an English teacher at Wheeling Park High School in Ohio County.     

    Also, four teachers and a principal at Independence Middle School in Raleigh County received the WVEA Mary Titus/Janet Zevnik Award for Professional Courage after the teachers decided to not do roster verification, a cumbersome requirement that involved recording student data which the teachers opposed.

    In 2015, teachers Sarita Beckett, Crystal Rupe, Pam Dolinger and Fred Farris chose not to participate in roster verification, and Independence Middle School Principal Teresa Lester was supportive of their decision. All five felt pressure from administrators to change their minds, but did not.

    Beckett, for instance, disagreed with the way that roster verification could be used to track students. Farris was concerned that roster verification data could be used to place students in future classes based on a single score on the Smarter Balanced test – instead of looking at more appropriate multiple measures to gauge student achievement.

    Their objections raised numerous questions about the requirement and led to the issue of roster verification being revisited.         

    Currently the state Department of Education does not require roster verification.         

    “We did what we thought was right,” Farris said.  

    WVEA is the largest teacher organization in the state and is the state affiliate of the 3 million-member National Education Association (NEA). WVEA represents teachers, education support professionals, higher education professionals and classified staff, retirees and college students pursuing a career in education.