Mary Lease, Wagner, SD

I am Mary Lease of Wagner EA. I have been a member of SDEA for 28 years. I had been a member of the Overseas Education Association and wanted to continue my NEA membership. I first became a member as it was a professional organization open to everyone! The best part of being a member of SDEA has been the support, not only locally and at the state level, but the network of teachers across the state who are willing to share time, information, experience, and probably best of all, their friendship.

Amy Huber, Mobridge, SD

Hello! My name is Amy Huber and I work as a custodian and a kitchen employee. I have been a member for 1 year. I really don’t know why I became a member. I think mainly that I wanted to feel like I was part of something. I have worked in a school system for 5 years and have never felt like anyone had my back. By joining SDEA, I feel like I belong, like I have a bigger purpose, even though I may not know what that is as of yet.

Tammy Adney, Harrisburg, SD

My name is Tammy Adney and I am with the Harrisburg Education Association. I teach sixth grade social studies and coach volleyball. I have been a member for the past twelve years. I joined SDEA to be a part of my professional community and to have a voice. The best part of SDEA is to see members working together for change. I also like all the opportunities that SDEA has to offer for professional development.

Stephanie Hunter, Rapid City, SD

My name is Stephanie Hunter and I am the Vice President of the Rapid City Education Association. I have been a member of SDEA for 11 years and a member of NEA for over 20 years. I joined SDEA because I firmly believe our voice as professional educators is stronger when we speak and stand together. A main benefit of being a member of SDEA is having the opportunity to meet educators across the great state of South Dakota.

Josh Thomas, Sioux Falls, SD

My name is Josh Thomas. I am a fourth grade teacher in the Sioux Falls School District. I have been a member for six years and chose the get involved right away. SDEA is filled with amazing leaders all across the state that want the best for our kids and our future. Together we can do and become more!

Darrel Anderson, Mitchell, SD

My name is Darrel Anderson. My local is the Mitchell Education Association. I teach high school mathematics at Second Chance High, an alternate high school part of the Mitchell Public Schools. I have been a member of SDEA/NEA for 34 years. I joined SDEA/NEA because as a first year teacher, I was asked by my local president and informed of why I should join. I was also encouraged by a SDSU college professor when taking my Ed Block courses. The best part of being a member is and has been the connections I have made with other educators across the state/nation and opportunities given me to be actively involved at the local, state and national levels of SDEA/NEA.

CeCe Gorder, Estelline, SD

EGL, Junior Kindergarten teacher, 1st year member as teacher, 3 years as student I joined SDEA for the professional development and to advocate for our profession. The best part about joining SDEA has been creating a network for my profession and being able to bounce ideas off one another to better our teaching.

Sarah O’Donnell, Spearfish, SD

Spearfish Education Association, Co-President, SDEA member for 7 years I come from a family of educators. I was always inspired by my mother who was a strong SDEA member. I believe strongly in what our association does. In SDEA I feel supported as a professional and gives me ways to help my colleagues and district.

Pam Oberembt, Sioux Falls, SD

I am Pam Oberembt, a high school English and Spanish teacher on full-time release as the Sioux Falls Education Association president. I've been a member of the Association since before many of you were born! I joined in college and then as a first-year teacher in 1982, first in Nebraska and then in South Dakota. Being part of the Association has grown me as a professional, as a leader, and as a person. Even more important, it has brought amazing educators into my life, for which I have been immensely enriched. Being union strong is something I am proud of personally and professionally.

Emily Harriman, Yankton, SD

My name is Emily Harriman and I have been a part of my local association in Yankton for four years. I teach 8th grade English language arts as well as a drama course. The main reason I joined SDEA is because of the strength of advocacy through an association to make a better path for every student. As I became more involved in my own local by becoming a board member and then co-president, I found a wealth of resources in my fellow colleagues as well as in other teachers and professionals throughout the state and even nationwide. Having access to so many wonderful professionals and educators to make change for our students is the best part of being a part of SDEA.