Dr. James Fedderman Elected President of 40,000-Member Virginia Education Association
May 8, 2020
May 8, 2020
Contact: John O’Neil, VEA Communications, at 804-775-8316
Dr. James Fedderman, a choral music teacher from Accomack County, has become the first African American male elected to lead the Virginia Education Association.
Delegates to the VEA Convention, voting by mail-in ballot due to the restriction on public gatherings, elected Fedderman to a two-year term as president beginning August 1. Fedderman has served as VEA vice president since 2016.
On the groundbreaking nature of his election, Fedderman says, “It’s a testament to the progress we’ve made as a union and to our acknowledgement of the importance of relevant, meaningful leadership. It’s long overdue and I’m very proud to have been chosen for this position.”
Fedderman welcomes the challenge of assuming the role during a time when COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges to educators. “In uncertain times, only effective and experienced leadership will demonstrate how being tested will become our testimony,” he said. “I will work tirelessly to empower every one of our members with a voice and a platform.”
Fedderman, who holds a PhD in organizational leadership from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, says helping local VEA Unions implement the new collective bargaining law for educators will be one of his top priorities.
“Collective bargaining is one of our best ways to advocate for children and for public education,” he said. “Educators deserve a seat at the table when public education policy is made, and we’ll be preparing teachers and support professionals to move into that role.”
Since the merger of the VEA and the historically black Virginia Teachers Association in 1967, VEA has had three African American women elected to the presidency, but Fedderman is the first black man elected as either vice president or president.
In other election results, convention delegates elected a new vice president and a new representative on the National Education Association’s Board of Directors.
Carol Bauer, a fourth-grade teacher from York County is the new vice president and will take office August 1. Kevin Hickerson, a middle school special education teacher from Fairfax, will represent VEA members on the NEA Board.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers in Virginia earn 32.7% less in weekly wages than other (non-teacher) college-educated workers. Virginia’s teacher wage penalty is the worst in the nation.Take Action Now