UEA Leaders Learn Organizing Strategies at Leadership Academy


‘Excellence by Design’

UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh opened the 2012 Summer Leadership Academy by asking participants two questions:
1)  What part of union work do you like best?
   2)  What gifts do you bring to the work?

Answers included relationships, passion, strength in numbers, humor, caring, enthusiasm, fearlessness…

“What kind of association will we build with these values,” Gallagher-Fishbaugh then asked. “We must build on the foundation of values. We must have a willingness to come together to create greatness…to do this work. We cannot afford to be disconnected.”

More than 100 UEA leaders from throughout the state met for the two-day workshop June 11 and 12 at the Zermatt Resort in Midway to share ideas and improve their leadership skills. Attendees included UniServ presidents, local presidents and vice presidents, and local and UniServ executive board members, among others.

NEA staff liaison Beverly Johnson introduced a newly developed approach to dealing with complex systems. The Nine Domains ApproachSM, she said, “applies to all complex systems. It has great transferability.”

The principles apply to all systems in the natural world as well as systems created by human beings, such as teams and organizations. “The universal set of principles applies to your family, your body, your school…It will make your life better” if understood and applied, Johnson said.

“The presence or absence, the health or dysfunction of The Nine Domains is a key benchmark of the effectiveness of any system,” Johnson noted. Academy participants had an opportunity to study each of the nine domains and how they impact their association and their leadership.

For more about The Nine Domains Approach, visit

UEA Executive Director Mark Mickelsen discussed the importance of organizing within local associations. “When you share your stories and your passion, you are beginning the work of a pure organizer,” he said.

“Organizing is about engaging our members, revitalizing our locals, increasing our power, and benefiting from our vision,” said Mickelsen. He gave an overview of the different types of organizing then led provided a template for local organizing. Representatives from each UniServ worked together to create their own organizing plan to be implemented locally.

The Leadership Academy agenda included speakers, workshops, entertainment and opportunities for state, local and UniServ leaders to interact and share information. Breakout sessions Included titles ranging from Advocating Effectively for Members and Grassroots Organizing to Why We Engage Our Members in Political Action and Empowering Teachers in the Classroom.

2012 Summer Leadership Academy participant comments:

  • "Fantastic leadership academy again! I find (it) very inspiring and uplifting."
  • "As a newly elected board member, fairly new to the organization as a whole, I learned a lot. I’m all fired up!"
  • "I feel motivated to go out and improve. I wish more members from my local were here."
  • "Learned many new and important things. Very well organized and informative."
  • "Good fun…even better learning and engagement."
  • "This allowed me to begin thinking in a different way about how to “advocate” for members and how it may be harmful to the association if we do it wrong."
  • "Wow! This was a fantastic conference and helpful as well as productive."
  • "Wonderful experience. I will be back next year."
  • "It’s always energizing to come to Leadership Academy. Got some very helpful information to take back to my building, my ARs and my Executive Board."
  • "I especially loved seeing the “new” faces and beginning teachers that are becoming involved."
  • "I thought the Nine Domains Approach, organizing sessions and multigenerational association presentations prepared us well for developing an action plan."
  • "I found the Academy to be very informative and fun. I am excited to move forward into the school year with new information and a new perspective."
  • "I loved the organizing and multi-generational association presentations! They were very interesting and engaging. The dancing was incredibly fun!"

Back to News Listing