I have been in Montgomery since Thursday night at the AEA (Alabama Education Association) Delegate Assembly. This is where an elected group of teachers get together and decide what is needed for the education of our children and what is needed for us as teachers to prepare them. This was a bittersweet Delegate Assembly because our Executive Secretary, Dr. Paul Hubbard and our Associate Executive Secretary, Dr. Joe L. Reed are both retiring after 42 years of leading us. On Thursday night Dr. Hubbard gave his closing remarks (for the last time) and introduced Dr. Henry Mabry as his successor. On Friday morning Dr. Reed gave his final remarks and introduced his successor, Greg Graves. When the Assembly ended last night....Dr. Reed and Dr Hubbard walked out of the auditorium through a deafening applause and many tears. We are one of the most hated organizations in Alabama right now. AEA is a democratic organization and now that the state of Alabama is a Republican run state we have many enemies. Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard said a couple of days before this grand meeting that "there was a new sheriff in town" and went on to say that AEA was going down. His animosity towards our leaders is sad....mainly because AEA is more than an organization....it is individual people....it is many faces.....it is me. I joined the AEA when I was a student in college and was very active in the SAEA. When I became a teacher I joined the AEA.....for the insurance to protect me in case I was ever sued. Fifteen years ago I became involved in the organization and was amazed at what all they really were...besides insurance. Yes, AEA is a political organization.....the raises I have gotten in the past years were because they fought for me. I have enjoyed a great insurance program through PEEHIP, retirement through RSA, and many more extras. The funny thing is that people who don't belong to AEA....got these things too.....and they don't even realize it. They joined other organizations because they did not like the political part of AEA.....but yet they have still enjoyed all the things Paul Hubbard and Joe Reed fought for and got for the TEACHERS of Alabama. And now....there will be new leaders at the helm and I have to admit I am a little nervous. Since the new government administration was sworn in....we have had a yet another year of proration (I have not had a cost of living raise since 2007.)....yet my insurance costs have gone up...and will go up a bunch until I retire with the new formula. My retirement portion has increased....and at the beginning of the year I have seen a 100.00 decrease so far in my check....and as of January 1....will see an additional decrease in my check. I lacked having 25 years in so I could not retire November 1 and not be affected by the new PEEHIP divisors. Yet.....our part time representatives/senators (who work 3 months)....now all make so much more than I do (and I am a full time employee)....because they got a 64% raise. Mr. Graves and Dr. Mabry have their work cut out for them....and that is all I am going to say on this matter! Happy Friday.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.