Bobby Smallman, Aberdeen, SD

I joined Aberdeen's Education Association for the protection. However, I never imagined the opportunities that would be available through our Association. Three years ago I got my start by joining the negotiations committee, now I serve on the SDEA Board of Directors. I am also the vice-president of elementary schools at the local level.

Through membership in my local Aberdeen Education Association and SDEA, I have been able to grow as a teacher, a leader, and as a person. Getting immediately involved in the work of the local association was the springboard to all the other opportunities that have been presented to me. My work at the local level has allowed to work alongside district and state leaders.

As an SDEA member, I am able to network with educators from across the state that I can rely on for help and assistance in solving problems at a local, state, and national level. Being a local and state leader allows me to give back and to support the profession of teaching and teachers.

Education is about the kids. But then, it is more than that. It is a profession that allows personal and professional growth in many aspects. Because of my involvement with my professional organization, I am better teacher, leader and citizen.