PSEA is a community of education professionals who make a difference in the lives of students every day.
Phoenixville EA member John Odell is in his second successful career after 24 years with the Army.
Pennsylvania’s public schools should be the safest and healthiest places for students to learn and grow. To make sure they are, we need the most qualified teachers, teaching assistants, school nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers.
PSEA is committed to making changes aimed at protecting everyone who works and learns in our schools.
Voice: March 2017
The number of books written on the subject of leadership is massive, and you can spend a lifetime reading them. There is, however, no book, seminar or workshop that prepares someone to be the Vice President of PSEA. What I do know is being the Vice President of our union is not merely a job. It requires a strong commitment to our members, excessive hours, accepting victory and disappointment, facing predictable and unpredictable challenges, and being satisfied that you are making a difference.
I've gained a comprehensive understanding of our membership-driven organization through my day-to-day experiences working for you in Harrisburg. PSEA members expect more from us than cries of indignation over the attacks we are facing. We have an organization that will fight for us when we need to fight, and will push back when we get pushed. We need a team of officers who are experienced, competent, and respectful of our members. We succeed when our members actively participate to strengthen our voice not only in our union, but in the community, and in the political arena.
As we battle pension reform, dues deductions, evaluations, standardized tests, privatization of our public schools, and the never ending attacks on unions, we also stand up for fair and equitable funding for our schools. The debate isn't always about health insurance and wages. The conversation is about books for our students, access to the arts and world languages, safe and clean learning environments, and a minimum wage that's a living wage. We are not afraid of school vouchers because we might lose our jobs. We oppose vouchers because we understand selective enrollment, and the loss of funding to our neighborhood public schools. We oppose privatization because we understand the corporate need to profit on the backs of our workforce. We are not afraid of accountability, but believe that any school receiving tax dollars should be held to the same level of accountability as our traditional public schools. We are not afraid of standardized tests, but we know that a single test given on a single day cannot measure the success of a student, or the effectiveness of their teachers.
There is little doubt that the attacks on unions and public education will continue. Organized labor is standing together to fight those who are attempting to eliminate the public sector. My primary goal is to marshal all of our resources to meet the great task of preserving, protecting, and promoting public education.
Six years ago, I started my journey as the Treasurer of PSEA. During that campaign, I spoke of us as one union with many voices. I believed then, as I believe now, those voices are the greatest strength of this organization.
The commitment and talent of PSEA staff, leaders, and members - active and retired is a truly remarkable combination. I know that working together, we will meet the challenges ahead, and we will prevail. Our circumstances may evolve, but the passion that drives us towards success rests with our members.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. With your support, my next few years will be filled with hope, opportunity and unity.