By Curt Yeomans
Clayton County Education Association President Sid Chapman now has another hat to wear as a representative of educators. He became the Georgia Association of Educators' new vice president this week.
Chapman was sworn in, along with the group's other new officers, during a Georgia delegate breakfast at a convention for the association's parent group, the National Education Association, in New Orleans, on Tuesday.
GAE is the state-wide parent group of the Clayton County Education Association.
In addition to Chapman, GAE's new president, Calvine Rollins (from Decatur County), and its new secretary-treasurer, Charlotte Booker (from Rockdale County), were also sworn in, on Tuesday.
They were elected to their posts during GAE's Representative Assembly, in Atlanta, in April, according to Chapman. State officers serve two-year terms and are limited to only serving two terms in a particular office, he said.
He added that his swearing in was "exciting and humbling," but he is turning his attention toward improving education -- while wearing both of his hats. "I look forward to continuing to help improve education in Clayton County, and across the state," he said.
According to Chapman, by serving as a state-wide officer, he now becomes an ex-officio member of GAE's 14 standing committees, as well as any adjunct committees that are created during his tenure. In short, he will have a voice in any issue the state-wide educators' association takes up between now and 2012.
The big issue he said the group will need to address over the next few years will be education funding. Recently, local school systems have had to cut their budgets, causing many districts to lay off employees, as state officials have cut education funding as part of several rounds of budget cuts.
Chapman said he, Rollins and other GAE leaders, and members, will likely spend a lot of time at the state capitol, lobbying for increases in education funding. "We have a lot of work to do," he said. "Working to get more funding for education in the General Assembly is going to probably be the biggest issue we tackle in the next few years."
Chapman has been an educator in Clayton County since 1996. He has been CCEA's president since 2002. He said he is officially a social studies teacher at Morrow High School, although he is on "release" status, while he serves as CCEA's president. He said CCEA, in turn, re-imburses the school system for his salary and benefits.
For now, Chapman said he intends to stay on as CCEA's president, noting that it does not demand nearly as much time from a person as the state-wide president's position.
He said he has previously juggled his responsibilities as CCEA president with serving on GAE's board of directors -- from 2005 to 2009. He was able to fill both positions then, he said, and believes serving as GAE vice president will not be any different.
Rollins said she is looking forward to working with Chapman, and new Secretary-Treasurer Booker to tackle issues facing educators in Georgia. She said she previously worked with Chapman on GAE's Credentials and Elections Committee, and sees his familiarity with that area as one of his strengths.
"I think he's going to be a great asset, as well as our new secretary-treasurer," Rollins said. "I think we're going to make a great team."
Additionally, NEA has announced that, during its convention, former CCEA and GAE President Jeff Hubbard was elected to fill the administrator at-large seat on the national group's board of directors.
Clayton County Bus Driver James Ojeda was elected to be the education support professional at-large alternate for the national governing board, according to NEA's web site.