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Voices: Meet the new CEA president

Kerrie Dallman, the new president of the Colorado Education Association, shares her vision of what it will take to truly support teachers in the classroom.

Hello, I’m Kerrie Dallman, a social studies teacher at Pomona High School in Arvada, and now the proud president of the Colorado Education Association. It’s a great honor for me to lead the state’s oldest and largest professional association of educators. In the months ahead, I look forward to sharing with you the important work we do to build up the teaching profession and fill every public school with competent, caring educators so every student thrives.

CEA is made up of nearly 40,000 qualified and dedicated teachers and education support professionals who care deeply about the success of every child. We are the respected voice in our schools, in our districts, at the state board and at the Capitol, advocating for quality teaching, shared accountability for student learning and increased investments to public education.

Achieving our goal of putting an effective teacher in every classroom starts with a fair, comprehensive evaluation system that enhances teacher practice and advances student learning. I was given the wonderful opportunity to sit on the State Council for Educator Effectiveness – one of three CEA members who addressed teachers’ rights in the new educator evaluation system. We were able to draft 60 recommendations to create solid evaluation rubrics and a clear vision for implementing Senate Bill 10-191, all adopted by the State Board of Education and passed by the Legislature.

Keys to educator effectiveness

There’s still much work to do as the new educator evaluations go through pilot programs, but we are committed to delivering a fair evaluation system to our schools, one that assesses multiple measures of student learning, and improves teachers and principals through meaningful, growth-producing feedback. CEA’s promise to our members is that we will be the subject matter experts in the SB 191 law, and through our teaching and learning department and local associations, show our members how to survive and thrive in the new evaluation system.

Helping our teachers improve their craft demonstrates our belief that shared accountability improves our schools. Providing every child a world-class education requires more from all of us, including:

  • Teachers and support staff who create opportunities for academic success in a culture of learning.
  • Parents and families who instill values of respect, responsibility and love for learning.
  • Students who come to school ready to learn and try hard to succeed.
  • Business leaders who publicly endorse the benefits of a high-quality public education.
  • Elected officials who give our schools the resources they need to provide a state-of-the-art education for every student.

Fiscal reform of the state’s school finance system is CEA’s top priority. Our members believe great economies start with great education, and that properly resourcing our schools will prepare our students to compete and succeed in a global economy. Our collective commitment to examine and confront the funding issues facing public education today is the key to creating a healthy, dynamic Colorado economy for their future.

Together, we face enormous challenges. During the economic downturn, Colorado slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from public education, and our state is funding public education a $1 billion dollars short of the level voters approved with a constitutional amendment in 2000. Public investment in our schools isn’t meeting student needs, and that has long-term, negative implications for our economy.

Funding levels must be strong, sustainable and equitable, so every student has a safe and secure learning environment with qualified, committed educators. That’s why our members unite to form the loudest voice in Colorado calling for increased investment and a forward-thinking approach to school finance.

We can’t succeed in isolation. Coloradans are counting on all education stakeholders to work together, to build positive relationships and to collaborate for the greatest possible gains in student learning and educator excellence. CEA’s promise to Colorado is that we will work collectively to provide the best public education for every student.

We are the teachers and support staff on the front lines of education every day. We invite you to join us in delivering Colorado’s promise to give every student a quality education in a great public school. Together, we can further our state’s standing as an excellent place in which to live, learn, work and raise a family.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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