In Person and Online, Convention Delegates Got it Done
April 2, 2022
April 2, 2022
For the first time since the 2019, VEA members were able to get together in person for the Union’s annual convention—well, almost. Lingering COVID cautions made the 2022 event Delegate Assembly a hybrid event, with 100-plus delegates at the Richmond Convention Center and more than 200 others attending virtually.
“It was comforting to see the familiar faces of those who have so diligently served and it was exciting to see new, energized faces, whether in person or on the screens,” says Kristina Childress of the Bedford County Education Association. “This year’s hybrid convention was also an unexpected opportunity to ease new delegates into participating.”
Her BCEA colleague Kathy Severs, one of those newbies, agrees. “I enjoyed the learning and having my vote count,” she says, “and look forward to attending the next one. It was an amazing first-time experience!”
Working together from locations around the state in a new format that was made more difficult by a first-day tornado warning interruption, delegates managed to conduct VEA’s business, approving new business items to, among other things, research improvements to the Virginia Retirement System, better equip members to help special education students, and seek legislation to fight mold problems in our school buildings. Delegates also approved a budget for the next Association year and heard analysis of the 2022 General Assembly session and its impact on public education in the commonwealth.
In his annual address to convention delegates, VEA President James Fedderman applauded educators for their outstanding dedication and extra effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrated the progress being made in achieving collective bargaining, and discussed the pressures educators have been under as schools have returned to something close to normalcy.
“Educators are not the enemy,” he said. “We must use our collective voice to say stop. We will not quit. We will teach the truth. We will continue to speak up and show up.”