After a hiatus in 2020 and a modified event in 2021 due to COVID, a full in-person UEA Summer Leadership Academy returned in 2022, hosting about 80 association leaders from across the state. The event was held June 14 and 15 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. UEA Leadership Academy is the primary leadership development program for elected leaders in the Utah Education Association and its local associations.
Speaking at her final Leadership Academy as UEA president, Heidi Matthews opened the event with a call to become ‘Stronger Together.’ “We must fulfill the promise of public education.” she said. “To do that we need to lead with our values, including the UEA Strategic Plan, Goals and Mission.” Matthews share the UEA Board’s vision and concluded the first day with an overview of the UEA Goals.
Utah First Lady Abby Cox provided the keynote address for Day 2 of the Leadership Academy. She shared the motivation for initiating the ‘Show Up’ initiative, starting with her time as a special education teacher and volunteering for the Special Olympics. “Service is a powerful way t reconnect and uplift,” she said, noting a statewide Service Fair held on June 24. Cox explained how she wanted to expand the initiative to schools with “the goal of helping students.” As she listened to educators about how to do this, she learned “that educators are not okay.” The result was the ‘Show Up for Teachers’ event held at the Salt Palace Convention Center July 12.
Leadership Academy participants selected from 18 different workshops, based on their association position and interest. The workshops were scheduled in four different sessions throughout the two days. Workshops topics included helps for newly elected leaders, racial and social justice awareness, communicating with members and the media, running for office and influencing elections, restorative practices that work, obtaining grants to support capacity building, addressing student trauma, and tips for those attending the NEA Representative Assembly.