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A Conversation with Kevin Vick, CEA’s New President

 

Kevin sits in his well-lit, sunny home office surrounded by abstract paintings just five days before Colorado’s primary elections. This cycle has been unprecedented in the amount of money, particularly outside money, that has been spent to influence the outcome of the elections. Lines have been drawn in the sand, and it will soon be Kevin’s job to navigate these boundaries and lead on behalf of CEA’s nearly 40,000 members. Despite the upcoming elections and the start of his first term looming closer, Kevin is unshakably passionate about advocating for educators and collectively shaping the future of what public education could look like in Colorado in the years to come.

 

The Start of a Career 

When Kevin moved to Colorado in 1993, he didn’t start out as an educator. He lived and worked in Vail managing a ski shop, enjoying the Colorado way of life. A life filled with adventure – kayaking, rock climbing, camping, skiing – but he wanted more. “I was looking for a way to have purpose and make a difference, and when I was looking for something to provide that purpose, I thought that education would be a good way to do that.” Once he decided on his path, he moved quickly to enroll in the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Teacher Education Program.

He was in his early thirties when he started his first year of teaching, and his first principal, Dr. Jill Martin, mentored him and saw in him the potential for leadership. “She had a good way of empowering educators and not getting in their way too much.” He also worked under a football coach, Mike Sirko, for six years, who “had a way of making everybody on the staff feel important and included.” And then there were his parents, both were educators themselves. His mom was his 4th-grade reading teacher in elementary school, and his dad was a speech and communications college professor.  He once took a class from his dad after he had graduated from college. “So many students of [my father] said that [my father’s] class changed their lives.” But it was not just students that Kevin wanted to impact; it was educators, too.

 

Prosperity for All 

After serving as president of the Colorado Springs Education Association for six years, Kevin was elected vice president of CEA in 2018 during the height of the #RedforEd movement. #RedforEd highlighted common problems that teachers across the country were and are facing—too-large class sizes, staffing shortages, low pay, unrealistic expectations from administration, and more. Right now, Kevin says, he sees “A system that now has impossible expectations of what educators are expected to do. Everything that gets added gets filtered down to the educators’ [workload], and that creates a system that is unsustainable.”

“I don’t want education to be seen as taking a vow of poverty or as a temporary job or as a resume-builder,” Kevin said. “ We need people in [education] who are able to have a long-term, sustainable career that they can raise a family on and have a prosperous life. The promise of America is that no matter who you are, you should be able to prosper. And we need to make sure that’s a reality in education.”

 

Vision for the Future 

Taking into account the lessons learned from his mentors and his own experience along the way, Kevin wants to lead an organization that is educator-focused. “My approach is to find as many ways as possible to facilitate and directly put the voices of educators into all of the conversations about the challenges that we’re facing in education.” Education, directly from the people who spend every day in Colorado’s schools, is key. “To the greatest extent possible, we need to try to create opportunities for partnership and collaboration; we need to try to educate our allies because our allies can’t grasp the full extent of what’s happening day-to-day in our education system. And as much as possible, help our communities understand and rally around the need for traditional public schools.”

Toward the end of his term as vice president, Kevin saw the results of a years-long campaign to buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor (B.S. Factor) to $0, a crucial step towards fully funding public education in Colorado. But it’s clear that Colorado still stands at a crucial junction when it comes to sustainably investing in public education; several ballot measures are on the horizon that will have dire repercussions for public education if passed by the voters this November.

“I see us at a crossroads right now,” Kevin said. “There are two distinct camps that are forming. One that wants to fully privatize education and move down a path that is proven to be very profitable but not good for learning. And then there’s another camp that enhances and reinforces what we have always known about the importance of a traditional public education system. Our task moving forward is to make sure that the education system that we know is valuable and much better for students.”

 

by Bethany Morris, CEA Director of Communications

 

Kevin Vick Begins First Term as President of the Colorado Education Association

Kevin Vick Begins First Term as President of the Colorado Education Association

 

Kevin Vick, former Vice President of the Colorado Education Association (CEA), has officially started his new role as president. His election marks a new chapter for CEA, which continues to advocate for the rights of students and educators throughout all four corners of the state.

Vick brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to education to his new role. With over two decades of experience in the field of education, primarily as a high school social studies teacher, Vick has demonstrated unwavering dedication to ensuring that every student in Colorado has access to quality education. Additionally, Vick served for six years as president of the Colorado Springs Education Association, where he advocated for better working conditions for his fellow educators. His leadership as Vice President of the CEA has been marked by significant achievements in securing better wages, fairer workplace conditions and a crucial first step towards a fully-funded education system in Colorado.

“I am deeply honored to start my first term as President of the Colorado Education Association. This opportunity fills me with immense pride and a profound sense of responsibility,” said Kevin Vick, an educator with 20+ years of experience and president of CEA. “I look forward to continuing our efforts to improve the learning conditions for all students in Colorado, ensuring they have the resources and support they need to succeed.

“My commitment to advocating for the rights of educators remains resolute, as I believe that empowering and supporting our educators is crucial to the success of our education system. Additionally, I am dedicated to championing public education across Colorado, working tirelessly to promote policies that create an environment where every student can thrive, and every educator is respected and valued.”

As President, Vick aims to build on this foundation, focusing on strategies to address the challenges facing educators and students in the current educational landscape. Vick’s vision for the future is one where educators’ voices are at the forefront of the conversation about education, where partnership and collaboration flow freely, where there is sustainable long-term funding for public education in Colorado, and where a career in education is not a vow of poverty, but one of prosperity.

 

By Bethany Morris, CEA Director of Communications

 

 

Colorado Education Association Applauds Primary Election Victories Amidst Dark Money Influence

The Colorado Education Association today released the following statement about the results of the 2024 primary elections:

“We extend our sincerest congratulations to Kathy Gebhardt (State Board of Education CD2), who won her race despite unprecedented amounts of corporate-backed, dark money that flooded the playing field. Gebhardt’s triumph is a testament to the power of people-powered organizing and the strength of a campaign built on genuine connections with constituents. It highlights the resilience and determination of voters to uphold democratic principles and support candidates who truly represent their interests and values.

“Mike Weissman (SD28) and Yara Zokaie (HD52) should also be commended for winning their races in districts where dark money, fueled by corporate interests, ran rampant. It’s disheartening to see the amount of money that came into play during this primary season; voters, not corporate interests with deep pockets, should be deciding who best represents the future of Colorado. We are incredibly disappointed to see so many labor and public education champions lose their elections last night because of the corporate money and influence on their races. Ensuring that elections remain fair and transparent is essential for maintaining the integrity of our democracy and empowering voters to make informed decisions about their future.

“Looking forward, we’re hopeful that these winning candidates will be champions of bettering Colorado’s education system and the broader labor movement. We look forward to working with them in subsequent sessions to pass legislation that will address the pressing needs of our students and support the rights and welfare of workers across the state,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA.

 

NEA Member Benefits – June 2024

NEA Member Benefits – June 2024

Take Advantage of Savings and Support: As many educators and support professionals wrap up the 2023-2024 school year, we want to ensure that members are aware that NEA Member Benefits is here for them year-round. 

NEA Discount Tickets 

Whether headed to the local movie theater, a big game or going on a trip, the NEA Discount Tickets Program gives members discounted access to entertainment they’re sure to enjoy. The NEA Discount Tickets Program offers exclusive entertainment deals and special discounts that are not available to the general public. 

NEA Mental Health 

NEA Member Benefits has partnered with AbleTo to offer access to a mental health app that provides evidence-backed tools for stress, anxiety, depression or whatever members are going through. Members receive 24/7 access to mental health support tools grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Using strategies like guided journaling and habit tracking, users can learn how to build resilience, cope with everyday challenges and reframe thought patterns.  

NEA Retirement Program 

Take advantage of the slower season with future planning. Members can use our self-guided planning options or work with a financial professional to plan for retirement. The NEA Retirement Program helps educators bridge the gap between what retirement requires and what is provided through pensions and Social Security. 

 

Did You Know:  

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Stay Connected: The Member Benefits team is here for you. Browse our benefits and connect with an Affiliate Relations Specialist for your MB needs.
Learn More

 

Colorado Education Association Announces Recommendations for 2024 Primary Elections

Colorado Education Association Announces Recommendations for 2024 Primary Elections

CONTACT
Bethany Morris
Colorado Education Association
bmorris@coloradoea.org
432-553-8747

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2024 

Colorado Education Association Announces Recommendations for 2024 Primary Elections 

DENVER, CO — The Colorado Education Association (CEA) today released its recommended candidates for the 2024 primary elections. After a legislative session in which the legislature took historic steps to fully fund public education by buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor to $0, CEA and its nearly 40,000 members are looking forward to continuing the momentum by electing pro-public education candidates across all four corners of the state.

“After a historic legislative session where educators showed up at the Capitol weekly to ensure that students, educators and public education were a priority this legislative session, the nearly 40,000 members of CEA are now concentrating on electing officials who are staunch supporters of public education,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “Our students and educators deserve to learn and work in schools that are adequately resourced and supported. The recent efforts to reduce the Budget Stabilization Factor were a significant initial step toward addressing the funding gaps, but this is only the beginning. We need our elected officials to boldly pursue permanent, sustainable and equitable solutions to ensure our education system is fully funded and capable of meeting the needs of future generations. This is essential for creating an environment where both students and educators can thrive and for maintaining the quality of education that our communities expect and deserve.”

CEA RECOMMENDED CANDIDATES 

State Board of Education 

  • State Board of Education CD 2: Kathy Gebhardt (D-Boulder)

  • State Board of Education CD 8: Rhonda Solis (D-Greeley)

State Legislature 

  • House District 4: Tim Hernández, CEA Member (D-Denver)

  • House District 10: Tina Mueh, CEA Member (D-Boulder)

  • House District 31: Julia Marvin (D-Thornton)

  • House District 36: Bryan Lindstrom, CEA Member (D-Aurora)

  • House District 52: Yara Zokaie (D-Fort Collins)

  • Senate District 18: Judy Amabile (D-Boulder)

  • Senate District 28: Mike Weissman (D-Aurora)

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

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