BETRAYED by Gilbert Education Association President

Explosive information posted on the Arizona Education Association Facebook page by Gilbert Public Schools Board Member Staci Burk showing that Diane Drazinski, president of the Gilbert Education Association, the collective bargaining organization, betrayed this GEA member. Screenshot here and here.  Screenshots provided by attorney Kevin Koelbel. Text of two posts appear below [emphasis added]:

Speaking of these laws to protect teachers, what is a teacher to do if the Education Association does not only fail to protect and advocate for the laws being applied as written, but instead directly acts to oppose the member teacher?

As a GUSD Governing Board Member I find myself confused and saddened, but mostly appalled by the actions of the current Gilbert Education Association President. This week the governing board in a 4-1 vote issued a statement of charges against a Gilbert teacher. I cast the dissenting vote, indicating that I did not believe based on the information presented that there was sufficient grounds for dismissal of the teacher.

The following night at a community budget meeting the GEA President pulled me aside to express her concern about my vote asserting that the administration was appropriate in suggesting to the board that the teacher be dismissed from employment. She went on to say that she thought the teacher was a "great teacher, just not suitable for the Gilbert environment." She stated, "I know she is one of our members and it seems strange that I would talk about one of our own this way..." I cut her off at this point and stated that I should not be discussing the matter with her because should this teacher appeal the board decision, I needed to protect the process by not engaging in ex-parte communications.

I spoke with a teacher awhile ago that said to me in his district an association president continually supported the administration and within a couple years was promoted to an administrative position. I was told it is not uncommon for association leadership to sell out members this way for their own career gains. Could this be accurate?

It is very important to me that teachers are supported and not only have a voice in education policymaking, but also to have their due process rights protected when it comes to something as serious as the dismissal of a certificated teacher. During the board meeting, I vigorously advocated that the procedure and due process rights of this teacher be protected. These actions of mine are 'concerning' to this association president? What is this about? I am confused.

Does the AEA support this type of behavior from its local leadership? Are the local leaders using their positions to simply to move up the career ladder rather than supporting its membership? Is this a culture within the AEA or an isolated incident?

*****

Speaking of opposing the anti labor bill, as a GUSD Governing Board Member I find myself confused and saddened, but mostly appalled by the actions of the current Gilbert Education Association President. This week the governing board in a 4-...1 vote issued a statement of charges against a Gilbert teacher. I cast the dissenting vote, indicating that I did not believe based on the information presented that there was sufficient grounds for dismissal of the teacher.

The following night at a community budget meeting the GEA President pulled me aside to express her concern about my vote asserting that the administration was appropriate in suggesting to the board that the teacher be dismissed from employment. She went on to say that she thought the teacher was a "great teacher, just not suitable for the Gilbert environment." She stated, "I know she is one of our members and it seems strange that I would talk about one of our own this way..." I cut her off at this point and stated that I should not be discussing the matter with her because should this teacher appeal the board decision, I needed to protect the process by not engaging in ex-parte communications.

I spoke with a teacher awhile ago that said to me in his district an association president continually supported the administration and within a couple years was promoted to an administrative position. I was told it is not uncommon for association leadership to sell out members this way for their own career gains. Could this be accurate?

It is very important to me that teachers are supported and not only have a voice in education policymaking, but also to have their due process rights protected when it comes to something as serious as the dismissal of a certificated teacher. During the board meeting, I vigorously advocated that the procedure and due process rights of this teacher be protected. These actions of mine are 'concerning' to this association president? What is this about? I am confused.

Does the AEA support this type of behavior from its local leadership? Are the local leaders using their positions to simply to move up the career ladder rather than supporting its membership? Is this a culture within the AEA or an isolated incident?


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