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FEA leadership affirmed, educators face future united

ORLANDO — Delegates to the 2021 Florida Education Association (FEA) Delegate Assembly reaffirmed the statewide union’s leadership on Friday, Oct. 15. President Andrew Spar, Vice President Carole Gauronskas and Secretary-Treasurer Nandi Riley were re-elected by acclamation at FEA’s annual conference in Orlando.

The FEA conducts an election for top positions every three years. The sitting leadership team faced no opposition in the 2021 election. The three officers emphasize unity throughout the organization, with members from all walks of life joining together to improve the lives of all students and employees in Florida’s public PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities.

“This is an extremely challenging time for public education, but the prospects of a bright and prosperous future are where our union is focused. Our members know that when we come together to advocate for Florida’s students and public schools along with our professions, we will ensure a successful future is in store for our communities, our state and our democracy.”

— President Spar

“I am truly humbled and blessed to be re-elected to serve the members of the Florida Education Association. It has been an honor and a privilege to work beside President Andrew Spar and Secretary-Treasurer Nandi Riley, and I look forward to continuing our unions’ work to support public schools. As an education staff professional, I will always remind legislators that our schools do not open without the support staff who transport, feed, educate and otherwise care for our students.”

— Vice President Gauronskas

“Together, we have the power to demand that leaders do right by all students. Joining together, we can demand that our schools have the resources to meet each student’s needs, with well-trained, supported educators, and a curriculum that helps them reshape our nation.”

— Secretary-Treasurer Riley

The educators of the FEA believe that education is a non-partisan issue. No matter where we come from, what we look like or our political affiliation, we all want Florida’s students to get a world-class education in our public schools. As a recent FEA poll showed, likely voters of both major political parties can come together in support of public schools.

State legislators from both sides of the aisle participated in the Delegate Assembly. Republican and Democratic state lawmakers joined delegates to discuss our shared goals for Florida’s students.

Delegates at the 2021 assembly voted to take action on a range of pressing issues facing Florida’s PreK-12 public schools and institutions of higher education. They committed the organization to:

  • Helping improve PreK education.
  • Developing alternatives to standardized testing for our students.
  • Expanding training opportunities for school support staff.
  • Supporting school districts penalized for trying to keep students safe.
  • Supporting academic freedom at our colleges and universities.
  • Promoting the many accomplishments and successes of Florida’s public PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities.
  • Building our statewide and local unions’ strength to advocate for students and educators.

The 2021 FEA Delegate Assembly convened Thursday at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando and continued through Saturday. The election took place Friday. In addition to the re-election of FEA officers, Caitlin Gille was elected as a National Education Association director representing Florida. Gille is an associate professor of natural sciences at Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) in Spring Hill, Fla.

Approximately 600 delegates attended the 2021 conference, which was the first in-person FEA Delegate Assembly since 2019. Covid protocols, including masking and social distancing, were in place throughout this year’s events.

For biographical information about the three FEA officers re-elected at the assembly, go to: https://feaweb.org/about-fea/officers/

CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org, (850) 201-3223

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

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