Mary Jane Chiles, Rapid City, SD

As a member of NEA since my college days in the late 1960’s, I never even gave it a thought when asked to join SDEAR. Just because I had retired, didn’t mean that the issues that affect our students and staff had gone away or been solved. If we all pitch in doing even one minor activity such as attending a school board meeting or emailing a legislator, it would go a long way towards solving many of these issues. I will be attending the Pre-Retired Seminar in Rapid City on March 30th. Don’t wait until the year you plan to retire to attend the Pre-Retired Seminar as there are several good ideas you can implement to make your retirement happier.

Rosalie Moore, Box Elder, SD

My name is Rosalie Moore. I am a middle school computer science teacher at Douglas School District. As a teacher committed to the profession, SDEA has provided an avenue for support and advocacy of our students and educators. As a member, I’ve been privileged to serve in local leadership positions and to grow as a teacher. When health issues threatened my career, SDEA was there for me. This year I am completing my 38th year of teaching. Because I joined as a college student, I’ve been a member more years than I’ve been teaching.

Becky Rider, Vermillion, SD

I’m Becky Rider, middle school band director in Vermillion. I am in my 29th year in the district and have been a VEA/SDEA member for all 29. I am a member because: 1. I think it’s important to participate in my professional organizations, and 2. I believe in the work SDEA does to support teachers and advance the cause of education in our state. As an association leader, I have influenced, created, and enforced policies in our negotiated agreement to the benefit of my fellow teachers. SDEA always has our backs!

Sherry Olson, Tea, SD

Hi, my name is Sherry Olson and I am in my eighth year as a TEA member teaching high school science in Tea! I was a student member at Augustana University and have continued these past 12 years of teaching. I have always felt that being a part of this professional organization is an important part of being a professional educator. Growing up in a family of educators, it was apparent to me the value of teachers working together as a unit and supporting each other. Being an active voice for teachers is important to me, and SDEA gives me more opportunities to do that. I also see our role as members as an avenue to share the positive aspects of both our profession and teachers themselves with the community.

Kerry Konda, Aberdeen, SD

Name: Kerry Konda Local: Aberdeen Education Association Position: High School Speech and Debate # yrs: 11 years Reason for joining: I wanted a seat at the table to help shape policy that affected my students, my classroom, my school district, and my community. SDEA provided me the opportunity to come to that metaphorical table on the school, district, state, national, and now global level. SDEA has allowed me to develop leadership qualities that help make our school and state better for education. In addition, being a member allowed me to apply and receive the NEA Foundation Global Fellowship that is designed to empower teachers to teach global competency and global understanding.

Kris O'Brien, Watertown, SD

Kris O’Brien is a member of the Watertown Education Association as Teacher Librarian. She has been a member of SDEA for 31 years. When asked why she joined SDEA, her answer was simple: “It never occurred to me not to be a member of my professional organization. I certainly would not go without the insurance, and it was the least I could do to support the teachers in my district. All of my role models as teachers were active WEA members who negotiated the contract for our school. The most meaningful part of belonging to SDEA, according to O’Brien, is being a part of the committee that created and now monitors the Professional Growth Rubric as a faculty evaluation tool.”

Erica Boomsma, Huron, SD

My name is Erica Boomsma, and I am a member of the SDEA. I teach 4th Grade for the Huron School District and am the 2019 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. I have had the joy of teaching students for 17 years. I joined SDEA because it’s an organization that unites teachers and advocates for teachers in our state. It also provides trainings and classes for professional growth and development. Best of all, these classes are current and up to date with the latest trends and research in education so my practices are fresh, and I can do more!

Sheila Broughton, Canton, SD

Hello! I’m Sheila Broughton, and I’m currently in my 24th year of teaching. I have been a 4th grade teacher at Lawrence Elementary in Canton for the past 16 years. I have been an SDEA member for 19 years, beginning as a student member in college at Dakota State University, and for the past 16 years as a member of the Canton Education Association. I joined SDEA because I believe in working together with other professionals to promote public education and to be a voice for my students. I also grew up in a union family. I saw the benefits that collective bargaining could produce if people were willing to join forces and work together for the common good. I have enjoyed being a member of CEA and working with my colleagues on various projects and activities throughout the years. I have also enjoyed & benefitted from the educational and leadership trainings offered through SDEA. I am a proud member and believe TOGETHER we achieve more!

Jessica Zwaschka, Spearfish, SD

Hello from Spearfish. I am Jessica Zwaschka, chemistry teacher and science department chair at Spearfish High School. As a career-long member of the Palmetto State Teacher's Association and now SDEA, I believe that it vital to be a supporter of other teachers and the profession. I first joined SEA/SDEA 21 years ago because it was important to me to be a member of my professional organization. Being a member of SEA/SDEA is way for us to be better together. In times of celebration and in times where we need support, our professional peers can be an amazing network of support. From legal advice, to political advocacy, to fighting for fair and equitable wages, we're better together.

Jodi Neugebauer, Garretson, SD

I am Jodi Neugebauer, 2nd grade teacher at Garretson Elementary. I have been a member of SDEA since college and first joined to work with kids as a college student. Since transitioning to a teacher member I have benefited from the professional development and support provided by SDEA. I enjoy trainings offered by SDEA such as instructional coaching and also have had the opportunity to work on training others through the National Board Jump Start program. When we work together and share our resources and knowledge, we grow as teachers which benefits our students the most.