June 1 2015 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: June 1, 2015


There has been some confusion in the field about how the pending summer break will impact the timelines of the background check process. Below are assurances provided to us by DoDEA-HQ:

  • DoDDS will continue to abide by the 30-day provision in the MOU. DoDDS, however, encourages teachers who are selected to apply for the background checks to complete the process before the summer break.
  • The 30-day time limit is not applicable during the summer. In other words, if the 30-day deadline falls into the summer break, teachers can resume and complete the process when they return from the summer break. The time limit will resume (and the clock will run again) after the summer.
  • Information already entered would not be deleted but that teachers who did not complete the process before the summer would need to have their access renewed with HR.
  • A teacher may provide DoDEA with a personal email address for the summer if s/he wishes. This is strictly voluntary and not a requirement.


You've probably seen the announcement by now from DoDEA Headquarters that both this year's DODDS Transfer Program as well as the VERA/VSIP program are officially over. Reconsideration for excessed educators is done as well. I want to again thank FEA's resident transfer guru Connie Shanaghan for her countless hours spent before, during, and after the transfer round, monitoring the process and working with management staff to generate as many placements as possible.


HT and I recently met with DoDEA Director Tom Brady to discuss current issues. The good news from the meeting is the assurance that we will have a transfer program next year. As always, guidelines and procedures will have to be negotiated, so the program may look different in the future, but it is good to know that DoDEA understands the need for a transfer program and is willing to continue it.


John Stocks, NEA's Executive Director recently visited members in the Alconbury and Lakenheath complexes. We are grateful that John was able to visit members at five schools and attend two receptions in the UK. This was John's first visit to a DoD school. We are glad that John had an opportunity to see our working conditions and educational achievements. This is just one more example of NEA's attention to our members and our issues. We are fortunate to be a part of the 3 million strong family of the NEA.


Congratulations to John Crowe, Information Specialist at Feltwell Elementary School, for being named FEA's nominee for the 2016 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. John will compete against nominees from other NEA state affiliates for this prestigious award and will be recognized at the NEA Foundation's annual awards gala, to be held in Washington DC next February. We are proud to have you represent our members in this competition, John!


If you are planning to leave the FEA (Overseas) Bargaining Unit at the end of this year, either by retiring or resigning or because you have been transferred to the Med District, be sure to file a "Goodbye Grievance" early enough so that you will have enough time to elevate it before your last day of duty. This grievance was developed by FEA UniServ Bill Freeman in order to allow FEA to represent the members after they retire or resign and to ensure their rights under the Debt Collection Act and the Negotiated Agreement. We have heard far too many stories of retirees receiving erroneous debt letters. Ask your FRS for a copy of the forms for the Goodbye Grievance as well as the Request to Elevate.


If you have an NEA/FEA pre-retired membership and are retiring at the end of this school year, please contact Nereyda Jones-Luciano in our Washington office ( to convert your pre-retired membership status to retired membership. We won't know you retired if you don't tell us!


Why is it that anonymous ICE complaints are taken seriously by our system, while valid concerns, raised by teachers, about the performance of a few administrators are dismissed and ignored? When will DoDEA understand that teachers' working conditions are kids' learning conditions, and that the working climate of our schools is an important factor in success for students?


Each year our local associations give thousands of dollars in scholarships to worthy graduates. Many locals hold auctions or other fundraisers throughout the year in order to be able to provide this valuable assistance to deserving students. This is just one more example of the countless ways our members support our students and our communities. Please be sure to publicize the great work that you do in your local/community/military press.


At this time of year, it is good to take time to reflect on the successes which you have certainly had this year…that student who made such great progress, the family you connected with, the student who thanked you for your help, all of those moments…in the rush and pressure of the school year, sometimes we don't celebrate those moments like we should. Give yourself, or a colleague, a pat on the back. Lily Eskelsen Garcia, our NEA President, says someone's importance in a school system is not based on their title, but on how many students they know by name. I couldn't agree more. DoDEA has much to be proud of, but it is not because of what someone in some far away office does, it is because of the work you and your colleagues do with students every day. You DO make a difference!


A very big congratulation goes to Crossroads Elementary School (Quantico, VA) teacher and FEA member Mary Hansen for being named DoDEA Teacher of the Year. You can view all of the DoDEA district teachers of the year by going to this page.


A reminder that the FEA Annual Membership Meeting will take place June 30 and July 1 at the B Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The meeting is open to all FEA members, Active or Retired. For more information, see the May FEA Journal recently mailed to you or contact Gary Hritz at


FEA has posted a sample article your local association can send to your base/local media later this summer about the start of the 2015-2016 school year. You can find that article by right clicking this link.


This will be the last regularly scheduled FEA President's Report of SY 14-15, though we will send out information on any breaking news as necessary. As I write, some of our DDESS schools are already out for summer vacation and school will be ending for the rest of DoDEA soon. Here's wishing all of our members a great summer! Thank you all so much for your hard work and for your support of FEA this school year. I hope you have a safe and very relaxing summer break.