As we enjoy the last few days of a beautiful Maine summer, I would like to thank the local association leaders who made the time to attend the various regional MEA trainings and membership and presidents’ meetings over the summer, as well as the local presidents who invited me to their new hire welcomes and opening day events–Lewiston EA President Allison Lytton, York TA President Bill True, Sebago East Shore President Becca Cole—or took time for me to meet with them and with members—SVISPA President Karen Crosby and Harmony EA President Ken Campbell.  I have many more locals I hope to visit in the coming months, but this has been a good start and I appreciate the chance to meet and speak with so many members!

Also, many thanks to the educators responsible for the ECET2 conferences and the Powered By event—Devan Weber, Pamela Starkey, Marielle Edgecomb, Chris Coleman, Kaitlyn Young, Jennifer Wright-Gregg, Jen Dorman, Karen MacDonald, and the teams that worked with them—all events were well-attended and had great reviews!

Local leaders are receiving guidance from MEA on implementing the many new laws that you helped to be passed during the last legislative session. Be sure to reach out to MEA with any questions so that we can ensure these positive changes are taking place as intended!

If you are interested in being one of the funded participants to attend the NEA Leadership Summit in Orlando this March, send in an application to MEA President Grace Leavitt no later than September 16th in order to be considered. 

Next month is the second National Higher Education Month and you are encouraged to take action now to support and promote accessible, affordable, high-quality public education by advocating for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act!  Take a few moments to do that now and go to:  https://educationvotes.nea.org/issue/higher-education/

Interested in pursuing National Board certification?  MEA is offering introductory sessions on September 28th in Augusta and September 29th in Bangor to answer your questions.  To register, go to the Events calendar on the MEA website:  https://maineea.org/events/2019-09/

Check out the two day conference on Early Childhood Education Birth to Age 8—October 4th and 5th: www.maineaeyc.org along with other opportunities and resources of interest for our pre-K and early elementary educators; go to https://www.naeyc.org/

If you missed it last year, there will be a showing of “No Small Matter” at the Bangor Public Library on September 25th at 5:30 p.m. 

Be watching for the registration for our MEA Fall conferences, Learning and Leading, in Hampden on October 26th and in South Portland on November 2nd.  Sessions will cover a range of topics from climate and culture and equity as well union leadership, suitable for all roles and positions!

Also be watching for information on our MEA Grants for members and local associations–applications will be available on the MEA website soon!  https://maineea.org/award-grants/

The Emera Astronomy Center at the University of Maine, Orono, offers a variety of programs and resources; check it out at: https://astro.umaine.edu/

Here is another resource of interest:  the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Water Science School: https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school

Looking for help with paying for student loans?  Contact the Horace Mann representative:   https://www.horacemann.com/ and also check out the SAVI program with NEA Member Benefits:  https://www.neamb.com

While you’re at it, check out the NEAMB contest about new registrations—register by September 30th!—go to:  https://www.neamb.com/pages/help-your-sea-win and also the California Casualty contest, too!

At the ECET2 Conference in Machias, I met retired teacher Tom Wells who has published a book that will keep you inspired about the work we do with our students entitled “Dear Mr. Wells”.  In it he reminds us of why we do what we do and the impact we have. Check it out!

The first Young Education Professionals, “YEP”, event is September 20th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Rising Tide in Portland.  For more information, go to https://maineea.org/news/networking-and-pd-for-early-career-educators/

Ready to step up and serve on an MEA Committee? This is a great way to become more involved in the Association, network with educators from around the state, and contribute to our work, all for a minimal commitment of time (just four, three or two meetings a year, depending on the committee!).  If interested, contact MEA President Grace Leavitt at gleavitt@maineea.org  Click here for a list of the committees and their descriptions.

Thinking about retiring in the next few years, or want to get a start on planning for it?  Don’t forget to sign up asap for a Pre-Retirement Seminar!  Go to https://maineea.org/events/category/pre-retirment-seminars/list/

Your MEA Board of Director will be contacting local leaders soon to ask if there are any vacancies that have not been filled in your district, and if there are any, how many and how your district is handling the situation.  Please take a few moments to respond when you hear from them.

What ideas do you have to help address the educator shortage we continue to experience in all areas of the state (and the nation!) and in all types of positions?  Please share your thoughts with me!  We must be doing more to address this now!

In closing, I’d like to congratulate the Teacher of the Year Finalists—Tom Gray at Camden Hills Regional High School, Rob Taylor at Spruce Mountain Middle School, and Heather Whitaker at Gorham Middle School–as well as all of the 2019 County Teachers of the Year on this well-deserved recognition!

And THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU as we embark on the 2019-2020 academic year and continue to do such great work for and with our students!