Member Voices

Brooke McLellan, Spearfish, SD

My name is Brooke McLellan & I am a member of Spearfish local chapter for the third year. I teach K-2 Technology and STEM in my district & I love my job! This year was my first experience being a member of the local Negotiations Team and witnessing the process of advocating for my peers on this level. It is by far my favorite part of being a part of this association, because I believe we as teachers need to be a part of that decision-making process in order to be heard and make change.

Kama Konda-Varilek, Harrisburg, SD

I'm Kama Konda-Varilek from Harrisburg, SD, and for the past four years I have been a member of SDEA. I currently teach English and Speech in the Customized Learning Program at Harrisburg High School. I joined SDEA because my family of educators voiced the importance of being active within our union. The best part of being a member, so far, has been helping plan the SPARKS retreat for early career educators!

Jamie Van Winkle, Yankton, SD

My name is Jamie Van Winkle. I am a member of the Yankton Education Association. I am currently in my first year as co-president. I’ve been a member of YEA for approximately 28 years. I joined YEA to be an active member of my professional organization. The best part of being a member is being part of an organization that wants to do the best for all students in our Great State!

Abigail Benson, Yankton, SD

My name is Abigail Benson. I am an SDEA/NEA member from Yankton, SD. I love being a member of YEA and discovering ways to be active within it. Currently, I am part of our negotiation team and membership committee. I have been a member for 4 years, ever since I was hired to teach 1st grade at Lincoln Elementary. I personally feel that being a member of your local and state organizations is one of the best decisions any teacher can make. The support they offer to their members, young and old, is invaluable.

Alanna Schmeichel, Yankton, SD

My name is Alanna Schmeichel, a member in the Yankton Education Association (1st year). I teach third grade at Lincoln Elementary (1st year). I joined SDEA because I was a member in college. Becoming a member has helped me become an involved and informed employee of YSD. SDEA has also helped me to branch out and meet new people. I am proud to be an SDEA member.

Julia Schrier, Sioux Falls, SD

My name is Julia Schrier and this is my first year in the district and SFEA and my 5th year teaching. I joined SDEA because, coming from Chicago, you joined the union. I am staying in SDEA because I got involved and have seen the influence that we can have. I am chair of the Social Justice Committee in SFEA and involved in ECE work both of which I am very passionate about.

Chelsea Hauger, Yankton, SD

My name is Chelsea Hauger and I have been a member of the Yankton Education Association for five years and SDEA for six. I have taught special education across several grade levels in the Yankton School District. I became a member for the professional support and professional development opportunities available to members. I have been on the YEA board for three years and will begin my term as Co-President next year. I look forward to helping our organization grow and supporting public education and our SD educators.

Marrina Kaun, Sioux Falls, SD

My name is Marrina Kaun and I am a member of the Sioux Falls EA. I am a special education teacher in my third year. I became a member for the liability support but stayed for so much more. I have had the opportunity to grow as a person and leader with the Association. SDEA has involved me in professional development experiences that most early career educators do not get. I am honored to be a part of SDEA.

Erin Moser, Brookings, SD

Erin Moser | Brookings EA I joined ELI to gain experience and to have a greater knowledge of SDEA. Though this time involved in ELI, I have a better respect for all of those supporting our district! I hope to do the same someday!

Tina Strohschein, Brookings, SD

Tina Schrohschein • BEA • Art Teacher K–3 • 2nd year member I joined because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than my small art community.