June 10, 2014 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members Worldwide
From: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: June 10, 2014

DoDEA announced late last week that the Excess Placement Program has come to an end and that no further VERA or VSIP offers will be made. It was a very long and difficult process this year and I want to thank FEA's Director of Administration, Connie Shanaghan, for all of her work monitoring the placement program to make sure our members received full and proper consideration.

Earlier this week, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel spoke to members in England and helped to honor retirees of the Lakenheath Education Association. Dennis has visited our schools around the world on numerous occasions, but this is one of the very last school visits of Dennis' tenure as NEA President. Dennis has been a great friend to FEA and has been instrumental in seeking support for our members on issues like the proposed furlough earlier this year, the RAND transfer study, and countless other issues. He truly has been there for us when we have needed him and he will be missed. FEA extends our thanks to Dennis and wishes him well in his retirement.

Later this week, HT and I will meet with Mr. Brady to discuss current issues. FEA would like to thank Mr. Brady for making the effort to travel to so many schools and to speak with so many Association leaders, teachers, parents and community members. It is great for our leadership to be in the schools and to hear from those "in the trenches."

Don't forget, if you're in Denver this summer, the FEA Annual Membership Meeting will take place June 30 and July 1 at The Curtis hotel in downtown Denver. The meeting is open to ANY FEA member, Active or Retired. Contact Gary Hritz at if you need more information. Also, the NEA Representative Assembly will take place at the Colorado Convention Center July 1-6.

FEA is fortunate to have thousands of outstanding members. I wanted to point out a couple of recognitions recently bestowed upon two of our members, both of whom are located at Fort Bragg:
Mary Ellen Cravotta, Information Specialist at Irwin Elementary School, was recently named one of three Volunteers of the Year for the national RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program.
Grace Merkle, president of the Fort Bragg Association of Educators, was recently named recipient of the 2014 FEA Award for Membership Organizing. Grace will be presented with her award at the upcoming FEA Annual Membership Meeting in Denver.
Congratulations to you both for these well-deserved honors!

I know it is WAY too early to think about next school year, but….on the FEA website is a "Back to School" article you can adapt for use in your local community papers. Here is a chance to start off the school year by reaching out to your community and letting them know of the good work our schools are doing. Most community papers have advanced deadlines for submission so be sure to submit early. You can access the article in Word format here. Be sure to customize the artitcle where indicated by adding the name of your local district/community.

Many thanks to those members who have served as FRS's/FR's, Building Reps, or who have held other offices, and also to those who have "stepped up" to the job for next year. I would also like to thank each and every FEA member. FEA really is the "sum of its parts" and our strength is in our members. Thank you for your support and participation. Together we are stronger; together, along with NEA, we can effectively advocate for our members and our students.

In addition, I want to thank outgoing FEA leaders Terry Arvidson and Debra Degalis for their service as Area Directors for Stateside and the Pacific, respectively. Both have done an outstanding job and have a long history of leadership within the Association throughout their DoDEA careers. We will miss you both!

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. You DO make a difference.

To those of you who are retiring or otherwise leaving DoDEA: thank you for a job very well done and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. To those who, like me, will be returning next school year: have a safe, relaxing and fun summer break. Next year will certainly bring new challenges. Use the summer to recharge and relax and, as you do every year, come back ready to provide a world-class education to our students.

If you are retiring from DoDEA and have previously paid for an FEA/NEA pre-retired membership, please send a brief email to Nereyda Jones in the FEA Washington office (, notifying her of your retirement date, so that she can activate your retired membership. We will not know that you have retired unless you inform us.

The best way to find out about breaking news, both throughout the summer and during the school year, is to sign up for FEA's listserv.

Many of our Stateside schools have finished their school year already. The rest of our schools worldwide will be wrapping things up shortly. I wish all FEA members and all DoDEA students (as well as their parents) and staff a very safe, happy, and relaxing summer break. See you in School Year 2014-2015!