Midyear Leadership Conference Equips Local Leaders with Skills for Success

Building upon the momentum of the Fall Leadership Development Conference, the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) hosted its Midyear Leadership Conference on February 3, 2024. The event, held on the campus of Del-Tech Dover,  was attended by local leaders from across the state who were seeking to enhance their leadership skills, connect with peers, and gain valuable insights for navigating the challenges faced by many educators today.

The conference offered a diverse range of courses designed to attend to the needs of both new and experienced leaders. From "Organizing 101, Part 2" and "Bargaining 101" to "Talk Union to Me: Communication Tools That Increase Member Engagement" and "Know Your Rights/Know Your Contract," the curriculum provided attendees with practical tools and strategies for tackling various aspects of their leadership roles.

One of the highlights of the conference was the session "Organizing, Engaging & Mobilizing Members Through the Three Frames of Unionism," facilitated by Mary McDonald of the Collaborative Leadership Consulting Group. This interactive session explored the three core components of a strong union – bread and butter issues, teaching and learning issues, and social justice – and how leaders can effectively engage and mobilize members around these themes. McDonald also emphasized the importance of collaboration, highlighting strategies for building strong partnerships within schools, districts, and communities. 

Cassie Queen, Indian River EA’s Vice President for Paraeducators, commented she enjoyed “learning how unions could do more with working with community and within the individual schools.”

New and experienced leaders found course offerings like Bargaining 101 not only provided participants with key skills and knowledge, but also sparked interest in new ways to participate in their local association. Jason Pilgrim, Indian River Education Association Secretary and member of the DSEA Executive Board, commented “I learned that there are two types of bargaining: interest based and traditional- I had never wanted to be on bargaining teams but after this I want to!!”

Additional feedback from participants underscored the value of networking and time spent with other local leaders. Jossette Threatts, President of the Caesar Rodney Education Association, remarked "It was definitely a day well spent. I gained a lot of knowledge and amazing ideas from my union brothers and sisters." 

The Midyear Leadership Conference served as a testament to DSEA's commitment to empowering local leaders with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to effectively advocate for their members and champion quality education for students in Delaware. Participants left the event feeling equipped and inspired to tackle the challenges ahead, fostering a sense of collaboration and unity within the education community

If you are interested in becoming a local leader but aren’t sure where to start, contact your local leaders, your UniServ Director, or Kathy Dulis, DSEA’s Director of Professional and Leadership Development.