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March 29 2007 FEA Pacific Update

March 29, 2007

Transfer Program: If any of you has ever wondered what happens once your applications for the transfer program actually get started, you would be very impressed and humbled by the dedication of people who work there at DoDEA headquarters for you. Each year, these great DoDEA employees, stay late, research your qualifications, double check vacancies, work to place teaching couples and in general do everything possible to ensure that fairness, and the MOU prevail during the transfer round. Patti Ross, Sara Riggs, Nita Coates-Jones, Dorcas Smith, Jesse Jones, Patty Lesjak-Davis, Margaret Coppedge, Jimmy Hunt, and others work so hard to ensure that the paperwork is checked and rechecked both from the applications and from your certifications. These are truly caring and wonderful people! I cannot neglect to mention along side, our wonderful Connie Shanaghan, who brings a breathless wealth of experience and knowledge from FEA, on our transfer program. She has your concerns and your applications that you sent to her, that are rechecked with the DoDEA team to help determine exactly the details of your transfer applications. We are joined by OFT representative Connie Kowalski also. This round was as complete as I have ever seen, and this is my fifth year at observing it. I plan on returning for round two which will be for those teachers still in an excessed position.

Board Meeting: With three important events all reflected this March, the semi-annual Board meeting was very productive and also a bit sad. This meeting was filled with issues from you, Europe and Stateside teachers whose situations were discussed with DoDEA. We were visited by Anne Muse, and Taffy Corrigan, as well as Paul Wolfe, Leonard Bransford and Lenoir Graham. We also received updates and perspectives of NEA "stars" such as Steve Nousen, Mel Myler, John Wilson, Dennis Van Roekel, Lily Eskelsen, Tamara Hamilton, John Stocks, Frances Beard, Jerry Newberry...These great leaders of NEA are tremendous supporters of FEA! They listen to what our needs, problems and concerns are and share with us what they are doing for teachers' stateside as well as new initiatives and plans. I am also saddened because the two people honored at this board meeting, they will not be present at our next Board meeting. First, Sheridan Pearce, who has been our FEA President these last 6 years. He was honored with a special luncheon not only by this Board but also by NEA! Secondly, Paul Wolfe, who has been the Director of Human Resources there in headquarters for DoDEA. We also had a small ceremony and cake for him. Both men's work will long be remembered by DoDDS teachers and Association members; because their impact on the quality of our roles as teachers for DoDEA is immeasurable. We will miss them both. Good luck and many thanks to both men as they move on to new adventures!

Treasury Update: NEA has strongly recommended that all state affiliates have accountability and transparency of their treasuries. This fall a motion was passed at the board meeting that requires all FEA treasuries to be under professional management. While each local (NEATA, TEAK, and AEAO) will be locally making decisions on how money will be spent for members, the accounts will be maintained by a certified public accountant, who also maintains the overall Pacific leadership treasury as well. With accountability and transparency being so important in this day and age, the decision has been make to also transition the tasks such as the labor report, the IRS report and audits to our CPA, Walt Pikul. By ensuring that our public trust of membership money is kept in professional hands for you, you know that FEA will continue to work seamlessly for you in your issues and concerns.

Spring Break/Grades: With spring break upon us, I hope you have determined some great vacation plans either here in the Pacific or adventuring and sight seeing! Your third quarter grades hopefully will not present SIS/SMS problems, but, as always, please let us know if you encounter difficulties. Focus groups have been formed to target exactly what is needed to provide a new grading system that will meet the diverse needs of classroom teachers, specialists, nurses, counselor's and registrars, as well as administrative and managerial needs.

Lastly, VOTE! Americans have a unique privilege that allows its citizens to vote for leadership. NEA and FEA elections are ongoing in the Pacific and worldwide. Local elections for leaders by countries, elections for the NEA Representative Assembly; and FEA Officers for at large offices elections are all happening now. Please exercise your right to vote and participate in this great American right! If you didn't receive a ballot, contact your FRS.

Have a great week!
Jan