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A spark turns into a flame

Florida’s Young Remarkable Educators are doing great work in their school communities statewide.

The FYRE group at Summer Academy
The newest group of FYRE participants took part in a special weeklong session at the FEA Summer Academy, which was held this year in Daytona Beach, June 13-17.

In the fall of 2013, amid a backdrop of unyielding attacks by certain politicians on our profession and on public education, the Florida Education Association placed a renewed emphasis on finding more ways to support educators, especially those new to the profession.  With a turnover rate of 50 percent during the first five years of teaching, it was obvious that young educators needed to be supported, engaged and empowered.To create a program that could do just that, local presidents were asked to send early career teachers who had shown an interest in advocacy work to Orlando for a “Young Educators’ Cadre” meeting. Nearly two dozen people who attended the first meeting became the founding members of Florida’s Young Remarkable Educators (FYRE), a name the group chose for themselves. Since then, FYRE has spread across Florida. There are FYRE chapters in 21 counties and a total of 308 FYRE alumni.

The enthusiasm for FYRE wasn’t limited to Florida. Other NEA state affiliates saw the impact of FEA’s work to engage early career educators and created similar programs, including Ohio New Educators (ONE) and Georgia Association of Millennial Educators (GAME).

The strength of FEA’s FYRE program is based on our shared values. One of the guiding principles of FRYE is to provide the space and place for young educators to grow in the union movement.

FYRE members help out at a book giveaway in Palm Beach County
FYRE members teamed up with the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association to hold book giveaways late last year.

Each FYRE chapter is as diverse as their membership, with the autonomy to create a program that ignites their members’ creativity and enthusiasm.

To create a program that could do just that, local presidents were asked to send early career teachers who had shown an interest in advocacy work to Orlando for a “Young Educators’ Cadre” meeting. Nearly two dozen people who attended the first meeting became the founding members of Florida’s Young Remarkable Educators (FYRE), a name the group chose for themselves. 

What is FYRE?

  1. A networking group?

  2. A set of new best friends?

  3. A support system?

  4. An opportunity to find your voice?

  5. All of the above. And more.

Since then, FYRE has spread across Florida. There are FYRE chapters in 21 counties and a total of 308 FYRE alumni.

The enthusiasm for FYRE wasn’t limited to Florida. Other NEA state affiliates saw the impact of FEA’s work to engage early career educators and created similar programs, including Ohio New Educators (ONE) and Georgia Association of Millennial Educators (GAME).

The strength of FEA’s FYRE program is based on our shared values. One of the guiding principles of FRYE is to provide the space and place for young educators to grow in the union movement.

Each FYRE chapter is as diverse as their membership, with the autonomy to create a program that ignites their members’ creativity and enthusiasm.

Over the last school year, FYRE activities have included:

  • Lee County FYRE member Latonya Starks and fellow Teachers Association of Lee County member Lisa DuBrava
    Lee County FYRE member Latonya Starks, right, and fellow Teachers Association of Lee County member Lisa DuBrava get ready to roll on an early morning “Literacy Ride” last October to place crates of free books at partnering businesses throughout their county. Each crate was hung with a sign saying, “Grab a book!” The poster explains: “Teachers & Support Professionals of Lee County are committed to student literacy. We are your neighbors, we are your community partners in educating all kids by building home libraries one book at a time!” The project is ongoing, with fresh books continuing to be supplied.
    Giving back to the community. Various FYRE chapters, including Lee and Okeechobee Counties, have distributed free books to students ages prekindergarten through high school. Partnering with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and First Book, FYRE groups have hosted book distribution events open to their entire communities.
  • Growing our local unions’ strength and influence. The Brevard Federation of Teachers (BFT) FYRE chapter sent post cards to potential members highlighting how by joining members have a stronger collective voice that can help educators live better lives, so our students get the best education possible. This work supported BFT’s membership recruitment program and helped grow their membership last year. Additionally, BFT’s FYRE chapter also organized and ran the first ever focus group in Brevard County specifically for non-classroom teachers to make sure their voices are heard as well.
  • Teaching the next generation. Palm Beach County’s FYRE chapter is helping with a training that supports early career educators at this year’s new teacher orientation. They have also arranged for multiple professional development opportunities specifically for early career educators throughout the 2022-23 school year.

Even though FYRE looks different from county to county, the overarching goal remains the same now as it was back in December of 2013 when FYRE first began: to help early-career educators find their voice and encourage them to advocate for themselves, their students, their profession and public education.

Interested in joining or learning more about FYRE?

Reach out to your local union president and let them know you’re ready to join the movement that is helping early-career educators reclaim public education.

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