To date, three Delaware educators have announced their intention to run for President of the Delaware State Education Association. All three have announced this on Facebook. I know two of them, but I haven’t met the other candidate. Two of the candidates are running on a ticket with a Vice-President candidate. Who are these brave souls?
Mike Matthews and Jackie Kook announced their joint ticket back in September. In October, Karen Crouse and Stephanie Ingram announced their run. Yesterday, Danny Rufo entered the fray announcing his run on Facebook. This will be a very big election as teachers in Delaware will face new issues and assaults from outside forces like never before.
Mike Matthews is a 4th grade teacher at Cooke Elementary School in Red Clay while his VP running mate, Jackie Kook, is a Kirk Middle School Agri-Science teacher from Christina. Matthews served as President of Red Clay’s EA while Kook serves as the VP of the Christina EA.
Karen Crouse is a financial secretary in Lake Forest and serves as the Vice-President of DSEA under current President Frederika Jenner. Stephanie Ingram is a 4th grade elementary school teacher at New Castle Elementary School in Colonial, serves as the President of the Colonial EA, and also sits on the DSEA Executive Board.
Danny Rufo is a history teacher at Delcastle Technical High School in the New Castle County V0-Tech school district and is the President of the district EA. He also sits on the Executive Board of DSEA.
In fairness to all the candidates, I will be reaching out to all of them to give them an opportunity to answer questions about issues they will face during the three-year term they could win. With Betsy DeVos (if confirmed by the U.S. Senate) becomes the next U.S. Secretary of Education, teacher unions will deal with a federal education leader who has made no secret about her loathing of the unions. As well, the Every Student Succeeds Act will usher in many changes to public education. While old issues such as teacher evaluations and accountability will still face DSEA, new problems such as student data privacy, personalized learning, competency-based education, school vouchers, and education funding will rise to the surface like never before. Never before has the teaching profession faced such an adversarial environment.
As if that wasn’t enough, a special election in the Delaware Senate has the potential of giving Republicans control of that body. That could result in Right To Work coming to Delaware which would be a major threat to all unions in The First State. Other initiatives from U.S. President Donald Trump could also affect DSEA and local education associations.
There could be other candidates joining the race. The deadline for submitting applications is December 12th*. DSEA members will be able to vote for the leadership positions between January 9th and January 23rd, 2017. Members will also be able to vote for a National Education Association Director (partial term running until 2020), eight slots for State Delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly (2 year term), and fifteen slots for the DSEA executive board (four from Kent County, three from Sussex County, and eight from New Castle County).
*This corrects a ten-minutes ago version of this article in which this blogger erroneously reported a deadline of December 16th.