Arizona Education Association

Summer 2016

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Page 13 of 39

14 ADVOCATE | SUMMER 2016 Around AEA O ver 400 public school employees from across the state elected new officers for the 20,000-member Arizona Education Association (AEA) at the annual business meeting on May 6, 2016. The delegates elected Mesa Educa- tion Association member Joe Thomas as president, Isaac District Education As- sociation member Marisol Garcia as Vice President, and Gilbert Education Associa- tion member Angela Philpot as Treasurer. The new slate of executive officers took office on July 8, 2016. AEA Delegate Assembly is the annual business meeting where Association lead- ers, elected by local association members, debate and vote on resolutions and new business items that determine the focus and work of the AEA. In addition to electing new officers, delegates elected a new board of directors (page 35). These board mem- bers represent different regions of the state and meet monthly to make decisions on behalf of their members at the state level. Tempe Elementary Education Associa- tion member LaTonya Jones served on the AEA Elections Committee for the first time this year, "This experience has given me a whole new perspective on being involved in the Association. It is very refreshing to see how passionate the delegates are about doing the right thing for their districts. There were campaigning, speeches, slo- gans. So, it is well worth the involvement to know that your elected delegates are working for you, for us, and for the future of our children." The two-day event was held at the Scottsdale Resort and McCormick Ranch, where 400 teachers, bus drivers, counsel- ors, and more from across Arizona came together to elect new leadership and decide on how to have the greatest impact on student learning. This year's delegates volunteered to knock on doors and call and ask colleagues to volunteer with them to get voters out to the polls this past May in an effort to pass Proposition 123 in the Special Election. Deer Valley Education Association mem- ber Alex Ettling, encourages Association members to attend Delegate Assembly, "I Arizona Delegates Elect New AEA Officers AEA President AEA Vice President Marisol Garcia is an 8th grade social studies teacher at Morris K. Udall Middle School and served as the Isaac District Education Association President prior to being elected AEA Vice President. In the ten years as a middle school teacher in the Isaac School District, she has served as Social Studies Department Chair, Student Council Sponsor, and advocated for students and families by coordinating outreach. She has served as an AEA Board Member, AEA Government Relations and Legislative Task Force Chair, Ethnic Minority Caucus Chair, Western Regional Director of NEA's Hispanic Caucus, NEA Accountability Task Force Member, and founding member of the AEA Latino Outreach Cadre. Prior to teaching, Garcia pursued a career in politics where she headed the California Governor's southern office and took a key role in planning and executing the 1998 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. In addition, she served as a White House Intern and worked with First Lady Hillary Clinton on the first universal health care initiative. Last year, Garcia was honored at a Phoenix City Council meeting by Mayor Greg Stanton with a certificate of achievement for her contributions to public education. Garcia received her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego and a teaching certificate in secondary education for social studies from San Francisco State University. Marisol was born and raised in northern California. She and her son live in Phoenix. Joe Thomas takes great pride in the work of the Arizona Educa- tion Association (AEA) and in being a teacher. "When school employees come together through Association work, they are demon- strating their intent to create better public schools. The members of the Arizona Edu- cation Association lead from the values of fairness, equity, and respect. That leadership creates better opportunities for students." In May 2016, Joe was elected the 89th President of the Arizona Education Association. In the 19 years prior to becoming AEA President, Thomas has been a public school teacher, most recently teaching US Government at Skyline High School in Mesa. Thomas believes a free public education system is important to the prosperity of our society. "When we invest in public schools, we reaffirm the belief that we all do better when we all do better." Thomas has been an active AEA member since 1997 and in that time has served the Association in several positions, most recently as the AEA Vice President. He has also served as an AEA Board of Directors Regional Director, Mesa Education Association (MEA) vice president and site representative, AEA Government Relations and Legislative Task Force chair, and AEA Finance and Revenue Committee member. Thomas also serves as a member of the Arizona State Board of Education Certification Advisory Committee and previously served on the School District Redistricting Commission from 2005 - 2008. Thomas received his Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma in 1995 and his Master's in Adult Education and Distance Learning from the University of Phoenix. He was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. Joe and his wife Valerie, a Title I Coordinator and AEA member in the Higley Unified School District, have three children.

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