The 2022 Elaine Tzourtzouklis Service to Association Award was presented posthumously to former UEA President and Utah public school educator Pat Rusk. This award honors an individual who has provided outstanding service to the Association in the area of member advocacy, political action, leadership, collaboration and/or coalition building. The award was presented at the UEA/KeyBank Superstars in Education Banquet in June 2022 and was accepted by Pat’s husband Rich. Utah NEA Board member and Salt Lake School District educator Mike Harman presented the award and made the following comments:
“For many years Pat Rusk stood side by side with Elaine Tzourtzouklis serving public education, fighting against vouchers, standing up for our most vulnerable students, uplifting our profession and going toe-to-toe with anyone who put up barriers for all kids – all people – to learn and thrive. Pat’s influence on all of us and especially our Utah Education Association has been put into keen focus following her passing in March 2021.
“Pat served as a leader in the Jordan Education Association, as Utah Education Vice President, and then UEA President from 2002-2006. She entertained all when she drove a motorcycle across the floor of the House of Delegates – making a point about taking risks and driving the work for our students.
As UEA President and following her term, Pat served as one of the primary leaders in the collective charge against private school vouchers. She spent countless hours coordinating with education partners, strategizing, mobilizing members, collecting signatures and ultimately spearheading a citizen’s initiative to overturn the bill passed by the Utah Legislature. This legacy lives today as this year we saw the resounding defeat of the first serious voucher bill introduced in 15 years, House Bill 331.
“Pat later worked for the Utah Education Association as Eastern UniServ Director. Taking advantage of a legislative bill designed to profit private companies, Pat and the UEA Children At-Risk Foundation, CARF, created A+ Tutoring, which helped countless students and gave some extra compensation to UEA members as well.
“After her retirement, Pat again offered her time and talents as the Executive Director of CARF at a time when the foundation was struggling. She helped set a new direction for CARF and engaged new leaders in this endeavor.
“Pat was not only engaged with the Utah Education Association, but also was very involved with the Inclusion Center for Community and Justice (especially Camp Anytown), the NAACP, as well as other service-oriented groups within the community.
“Pat’s work throughout her career epitomizes “Service” not just to the association, although she certainly did that, but service to others. Others within her family, both blood and chosen, others within the profession, and others within the community. Pat lived a life of service, and we are all beneficiaries.
“Cancer took her too soon to receive this award in her lifetime. It is my honor to posthumously present the 2022 Elaine Tzourtzouklis Service to Association Award to Pat Rusk.”