John Coneglio knows the power of CEA. In 2002, when his high school principal was unwilling to address a problem, he called upon all of his training as a Faculty Representative to address the situation.
Knowing the contract and knowing that his union would back him made a huge difference. Coneglio, also felt the power when he got involved with our anti-SB5 campaign. He was an OEA “Top 250” signature gatherer and helped get the issue on the ballot.
John also worked the phone banks and joined demonstrators at the Ohio Statehouse—and his zeal to represent you did not stop there. John recognizes the difficulties his colleagues face as legislators tinker with education policy in our state—and as CCS struggles to regain the trust of taxpayers. High school teachers, in particular, have unique stresses and responsibilities. “In 2013, I had two opportunities to lobby at the Statehouse on behalf of teachers and students,” Coneglio said. “I think it is important to promote the concerns of high school teachers.” Coneglio has been an OEA delegate since 2002 and an NEA delegate since 2008. He was elected President of CEA in the spring of 2018.
He lives in Clinton Township with his wife, Michelle, a kindergarten teacher at Clinton ES, their two daughters and “our dog who recently ate my camera.” He loves backpacking, camping and watching the Buckeyes and the Cleveland Browns. He also served as a Clinton Township Trustee.
In 2001, Phil Hayes “put his name in the hat” for a faculty representative position at Brookhaven High School. It wasn’t long before a few meetings during the month turned into a full-time occupation. Hayes emerged from Room 18 — his social studies classroom for 14 years — to serve as a committee chair, a member of the bargaining team, and a delegate to the NEA and OEA assemblies. He also put his computer skills to work as CEA’s electronic outreach coordinator.
Today, the central Ohio native, Brookhaven’s Teacher of the Year for 2001-2002, is getting ready to serve hi second term as CEA vice president, and he’s thrilled to be a leader of the state’s most progressive teachers’ association. Hayes was the first classroom teacher to testify against Senate Bill 5, and he has strong memories of those days not so long ago.
“When it came time to go to the hearing room, all of the witnesses were put in an elevator from the first floor of the statehouse to the second floor,” he said. “We had to cross the rotunda, filled to the brim with SB 5 opponents on a skywalk. When we started to walk across, they knew we were there to testify against the bill. They began to cheer. It was the most humbling and exhilarating moment I’ve ever had — a firsthand example of the power of unions. We are not to be trifled with.”
Hayes says his most important task is a simple and important one: “To represent the members to the best of my ability and to support the president of the CEA.”
Angel Dyer-Sanchez knew she wanted to teach, but almost missed the chance. Her strong bent for leadership, nurtured by 11 years of corporate work experience, placed her unintentionally at odds with her building administrator. The administrator suddenly declared Angel, who had an education degree and a reputation as a skilled educator, unfit for the job. She turned to CEA for help.
“While the administrator was trying to get me fired, my union was working successfully on my behalf to show that the administrator’s opinion of me was unfounded,” she said.
That is why Angel has been deeply involved in the Association’s work. Teaching first at Avalon, then Windsor, and now, Salem ES, where she teaches today, Dyer-Sanchez became the Senior Faculty Representative. The more she learned about CEA’s effectiveness and its vital role in protecting teachers’ rights and working cooperatively toward district reform, the more she wanted to do. Her goal was to become a District Governor. As she begins service, she urges fellow educators to get involved in the Association. CEA supports classroom protections, professional development and teacher training. And, it advocates on behalf of the district’s children and families.
At the core, is the union’s support of individual teachers who make all of it possible. “If it weren’t for the union advocating for me, I might not be a teacher today,” she said
Carla Davis isn’t one to sit on the sidelines. When the staff and administrator in her building were increasingly at odds, she stepped in. She ran for CEA Faculty Representative and won. Then she got to work, drawing in the ABC and her colleagues and team building. Now, the staff and the principal at Forest Park ES work better together. Davis, a Math CCIT at Forest Park ES, continued her CEA service as FR for another year and as alternate for four subsequent years.
When she saw that teaching rights were threatened, Davis joined the fight that defeated Senate Bill 5, working the phone bank and canvassing. She helped register people to vote and promoted pro-education candidates, starting with Obama in 2008.
Last year, the 17-year teaching veteran, whose two children attend Columbus City Schools, ran for district governor and now represents District 2. Her husband, Randy-a union member himself for many years, through his job at AT&T-is behind her all the way.
Davis says she finds power in solidarity. “When we would go to the District LA, I would meet a lot of people. I like talking to people and seeing what’s working and what we could change in our building.”
It’s also about the contract. “I came from a non-union state, Mississippi. Everything the administrators told us to do, we did,” she said. She often talks with colleagues about the importance of knowing their rights.
“A lot of times you have the contract, but you don’t really look at it,” she said. Davis encourages fellow CEA members to look in the contract book and become familiar with the hard-won rights they must protect. “Know what’s grievable,” she said.
Joe Decker grew up in Cincinnati as the child of a nurse and a teacher. Education, service, and the importance of social justice were concepts his parents modeled every day. Moving to Columbus with his wife Kristi, he supported his daughters as a volunteer when they began their education in Columbus Schools at Westgate Elementary, where Joe was PTA President, Chess Club coach, and a volunteer in the classroom. Wanting to do more, he earned his teacher’s license and returned to Columbus City Schools as an instructor in 2014 at Mifflin Middle School.
As a Social Studies teacher, Joe helps his students explore the responsibilities of citizenship in order for them to live the best possible lives as leaders of our community. Being part of a strong union is an essential part of showing that behavior to his students and protecting their interests. As teachers, we are defenders of their rights and of the workplace that our union created for us.
My name is Lisa R. Johnson. I’m married to a wonderful husband of 20 years. He is a retired Firefighter (Columbus Fire Department). We have four grown children and five grandchildren. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Master of Art Degree, and a 2nd Master of Art in Education. I’m currently pursuing my Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. A member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (Iota Nu Sigma chapter). My career: I’m a Special Education Teacher at Hamilton STEM elementary. I have the pleasure of teaching 4th, 5th, and 6 graders. I’m a proud member of Columbus Education Association (CEA) and serve on the Board of Governors. As district 4 governor, I have four goals, First, learn the contact book. This will help in addressing important issues concerning teachers. Second, make myself available to the Senior Faculty Representatives (SFR) by phone and email. Third, build relationships that will ensure confidence and moral between SFR’s, teachers and the Union. Lastly, read and stay updated on the current affairs that affect teachers in the classroom and the Teaching Profession.
District 5 Governor Jeannette Johnson
Jeannette has used CEA as a resource since she began teaching at Koebel Elementary School in 1989. When teachers there did not get all the supplies they needed, she turned to her FR and District Governor volunteered to help resolve the problem. “It was one of our big concerns, because teachers have out-of-pocket supply costs,” she said. Soon, with CEA’s help, her building received additional computers and textbooks.
Colleagues also began urging her to get more involved in the Association.
Ultimately, Johnson became an alternate Faculty Representative, and then her school’s Senior FR. Through her service, she began to learn more about the art of diplomacy. “I’ve always worked with all the administrators,” she said. “We try to take care of a lot of things in-house. It works. We have come to complete agreement and made changes. It’s all about building that relationship.”
Johnson’s dedication continued during her years teaching a variety of grade levels at Koebel, Stewart Traditional and Berwick K-8 Alternative, where she now teaches third grade. She served on many committees, including Grade Card Development, Crisis Team, Formative Assessment, and Negotiations. She currently serves on the Joint Evaluation Panel.
During the fight to defeat Senate Bill 5, Johnson was on the front lines. She was amazed how involved teachers became, bringing along their families to Statehouse rallies and putting in lots of hours beyond the school day. “It was very powerful,” she said. “Especially seeing Governor Strickland come in. It was phenomenal. This is democracy at work, when you can have that voice.”
In 2014-2015, Johnson joined the NEA’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, and was also invited to sit on a panel with the state superintendent and OEA to represent members in a statewide discussion about testing. After that, she said, “Everything just came together, and I felt I had a lot more to offer.”
As a Governor, Johnson said she enjoys educating teachers about the Association. “I tell the first-year teachers that our unions do more than grievances. There are so many ways for you to grow as an educator. You have to get involved. You have to know what’s coming. We have to have a place at the table.”
District 6 Governor Kim Ogilbee
Kim Ogilbe’s son is about to become a teacher. There is little doubt his mom will remind him how important his labor association is — especially as unions face ever-increasing criticism. Ogilbe’s own involvement in CEA changed her professional life, particularly when she saw the power of large numbers of education convening at the Ohio Statehouse to prevent a bad law, Senate Bill 5, from getting onto the books.
“I saw the need for teachers to stand together in order to help themselves and their students in what has increasingly become a hostile political environment,” Ogilbe said.
Now a District 6 CEA Governor, Ogilbe stands strong at Starling PK-8 School, where she teaches sixth-grade science and social studies. Before that, she taught at Johnson Park, Wedgewood, Mifflin and Hilltonia middle schools.
Her involvement in CEA was gradual. “You hear about CEA when you begin with the district,” she said. “Then you start to notice what CEA does. And finally, CEA was there to support me when I needed advice and support.”
Following the defeat of SB 5, Kim decided to step it up, serving as a delegate to the OEA Legislative Assembly and a Faculty Representative. “I decided it was time for me to formally give back to the people who had been there for me and to pay it forward to my son and other new teachers like him,” she said. “I had organizational skills which could assist in educating members about current events and help in coordinating responses, so I threw my hat in the ring.”
Ogilbe’s goal as a governor is to “be transparent. And by that I mean be available personally and make available to teachers information that is pertinent to them. Too often, we hear about the ‘Office.’ I want to be the face of the CEA Office to District 6 and be the window to what goes on there.”
Ogilbe and her husband, Mark, have two grown children and “grandpuppies, Blaze and Roxy.” Kim loves Little League Baseball and College Basketball. She earned her master’s degree in education Ohio State University, “so yes, I bleed scarlet-and-gray,” she said. But while she’s cheering, she doesn’t forget the reason she is involved in CEA in the first place.
“One of my proudest moments as a member of CEA happened when marching with our group during the Pride Parade in 2014. As we worked our way through the streets of Downtown, people were happy to see us. They were shouting that they loved teachers. One of my students at the time ran out into the street to hug me and tell me he loved me. I still get goosebumps! The people of Columbus and their children are what matters. Not the legislators.”
I am an alumnus of East High School (Columbus, Ohio) and advocate for public education! My own child attends public school and I have over 19 years experience as an Urban Public School Teacher.Currently, I teach Early Childhood Education to junior and senior high school students who are starting their career in this area. I am a CDA (Child Development Accreditation) Advisor and CDA Professional Development Specialist. I have mentored students in completing their professional resource portfolio for the CDA certification. This certification is recognized by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service for Preschool and Infant Toddler Teachers. I actively volunteer for FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) as a classroom Advisor, Competition Judge and Consultant. FCCLA is the optional Career Technical Student Organization that is aligned to the Early Childhood Education Career Course. I have an articulation, soon to be titled dual enrollment, with Columbus State Community College and my students who earn a C average or higher earn college credit. Lastly, I have extensive experience teaching urban youth of Columbus in Preschool, Reading Recovery, Elementary, Middle and High School settings.
District 8 Governor Cindy “CJ” Jamison
C.J. Jamison loves to perform. She appears regularly on central Ohio theatrical stages. But the stage closest to her heart is the association platform. As district governor, Jamison enjoys helping members understand the contract and take an active role in making the profession better.
“I have always been proud of the times when I have helped my members, but, like many others,my ‘aha’ moment was the defeat of Senate Bill 5. I thought, ‘Wow, look at what folks can do when they join together!” It was an amazing outpouring of so many folks.”
Jamison teaches kindergarten at Leawood Elementary School, where she has taught for 18 years. She was raised in Galloway and in the Cleveland area. She attended Heidelberg College. She had been on the job in Columbus for one year when her senior building representative asked her to run for a position.
“I remember asking her, ‘Am I being conned or flattered?’” said Jamison. “She replied with a twinkle in her eye, ‘Both!’ Well, I appreciated her honesty and since I had been raised in a strong union family (both my grandfather and uncle were dedicated members of UAW 969), I decided to run.”
Her main goal these days is more effective communication across all levels, in the buildings, offices and at meetings.
C.J. lives on the South Side with her two furry children, Midnight & Moonlight. Both cats were rescues found at Leawood. She loves theater and enjoys reading and traveling.
Traci Arway is all about making sure no one gets left behind. As a district Special Education Coordinator, she has seen how easy it is to lose sight of the umbrella of Association protection.
“We are teachers on special assignment,” she said. “Sometimes we’re in that go between role between teachers and administrators.” When she was housed at Livingston Avenue ES, Arway saw professionals
moving between buildings and struggling to build cohesive strength and certainty of their protection as CEA members. Sometimes coordinators were asked to overstep contract boundaries, and they were not sure how to say, “No.”
“For instance, we cannot be put into positions to evaluate and report on teachers,” said Arway. That’s why Arway decided to get more involved. First, she served as a Faculty Representative
of the newly-formed Special Coordinator unit. Now, as she enters her 16th year with the Columbus City Schools, she is beginning her term as District 9 Governor. Her aim is to continue the work she started.
“Being in the role of coordinator and being in District 9 is unique,” she said. “Being governor helps me advocate for all the specialists involved in the IEP process. It helps me advocate for
those people I work with every day. My goal is to continue to push the special education needs forward and continue to advocate for our profession and make sure we have a strong voice
at the table.”
Arway has taught at Livingston ES and Clearbrook MS. She comes from a union background. Her mother is a retired teacher and former OEA member. Her father, employed by the Ohio Lottery Commission, belongs to OSEA.
“I’m also a political junkie,” she said. “Being involved in CEA keeps me in the forefront.”
Arway and her husband, Kevin, a retired Whetstone High School teacher, live in northwest Columbus with their three children.
District 10 Governor Becky Coyne
Becky Coyne has developed a unique perspective during her 22 years in public education. Now in her 11th year as an art teacher at Forest Park Elementary, Coyne has seen the value of nurturing creativity in children — and the risk in forgetting how good things are in CCS. Coyne, the District 10 Visual Art Coordinator ran for District Governor to ensure art specialists continue to have a strong voice in Columbus City Schools.
Coyne, who also has taught at Reeb Elementary, used to teach in the tiny Fairbanks Local School District, which has one art teacher and one music teacher. Recent Ohio legislation to lift prescriptive arts staffing requirements raised alarm bells in districts like Fairbanks. “I thought, ‘Thank goodness we have our contract with unified arts included,’” said Coyne of CEA’s solidly negotiated agreement. “But other districts that aren’t so lucky could lose everything. I see how people are constantly afraid for their jobs. And now the Feds are mandating the arts, but Ohio changed the rules? That really stuck with me and gave me the extra push to start advocating for us.”
Coyne says she had great CEA leadership mentors. “I was lucky to be around a lot of influential people,” she said. She has served on her school’s ABC, where she learned a lot of about the power of the contract. When Anne Aeschbury, previous District 10 Governor, decided to retire, she suggested that Coyne run to succeed her.
Coyne, who lives in Westerville with husband, Chuck; daughter, Maggie, 12; and their dog, Sunny, said her hope is to continue CEA’s good work. “The unified arts are a critical part of Columbus Schools,” she said. “The departments are shining stars in our districts. We have children who are talented, far beyond what many people understand. I want to keep the arts moving forward.”
I first learned about CEA through my PAR Consultant; I was hired at the end of October in 1999 so there was no New Teacher Orientation for me! My PAR Consultant was instrumental in not only educating me about the district, but also about how CEA was there to support me. Little did I know I would need CEA a few years later. I was in a middle school with a less than stellar instructional leader. The staff filed a grievance against the principal for “lack of administrative support” and the entire staff showed up to the grievance. It was overwhelming to sit in the school library and see the entire staff come together with data, anecdotal records and personal stories showing how we were not supported by the principal. CEA was there encouraging us and leading the staff in our fight for professional treatment. A few years later, at another middle school, I was elected Senior Faculty Rep—the same year as SB5. This led to learning about leading 10-Minute Meetings and bringing the staff together to fight against the unjust and unfair anti-union law. This was the beginning of several leadership opportunities for me on the local, state and national.
Over the last twenty years, I have served in a variety of capacities. Currently, I am a Middle School Governor-at-Large and am the Vice Chair of the OEA Convention Planning Committee. I have also served as a member of the OEA Commission on Student Success which was used in the OEA-led legislation to overhaul OTES. When CEA began the first cohort for the Teacher Leader Institute (TLI) I eagerly applied. My research on Teacher-Powered Schools caught the attention of NEA and I was asked to present my TLI capstone at the NEA Leadership Summit in 2016. I have been an OEA and NEA delegate for several years. I am grateful for all the professional opportunities that have been afforded to me, and most of all, for my CEA family.
High School Governor-at-Large Megan Hinz
High School Governor -at-Large Gerry Curran
Tom Busher was a business teacher at Southeast Career Center where he instructed an accounting program for juniors and seniors. A retired member of the Association, Tom has served as Faculty Representative, ABC member and past member of the Ohio Business Teachers Association (OBTA). Tom oversees the revenue and expenditures of all CEA accounts, budgeting and is the CEA financial representative with Capital District, CEA Foundation and numerous financial organizations that conduct business with CEA.
Election Chair Neil Moore
Neil Moore takes great pride in tallying the votes after a CEA election. After years of painstakingly sorting ballots, CEA has gone paperless with this important part of the process. As a member of the committee for five years, Moore has been helping with the transition.
But it’s not just the paperwork reduction that fuels him. Moore, a Spanish teacher and an FR at Columbus Alternative High School, has been involved in CEA for four of his seven years with CCS, including serving as an FR and a Senior FR at Whetstone High School.
“It became apparent at that time that if I didn’t take on a leadership role, there would be no one to make sure the contract was being followed after the current Senior FR retired,” he said. “I have always had the kind of personality that doesn’t mind speaking truth to power and as a teacher I have always felt that it is my duty to stand up for my colleagues, for our students, and for our profession.
Moore taught for three years at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, spent two in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and three in Northern Virginia before coming to Columbus, where he also has taught at Marion-Franklin High School. Moore’s parents were Spanish teachers, too. In their day, teaching conditions were rough.
“My dad taught for 41 years, mostly in the Ohio river town of Bridgeport,” said Moore. “He became involved in his union because teachers were not being given a voice at the table. Even after the collective bargaining law was enacted, we lived paycheck to paycheck, but without the strength of union solidarity, things would have been much worse.”
As a CEA FR, Moore has stood with us at the Statehouse. He shook hands with Jesse Jackson, who came here to support our fight against SB 5, and he felt the power of education within democracy.
Within CEA, he said, “I hope to help educate association members not just about the importance of voting but also about the laws that govern the process.”
Meanwhile, he encourages younger members to get involved in all ways. “It is important to have informed and experienced association members who stay abreast of the latest legislation, who testify on our behalf, and who have our backs while we are busy in the classroom,” Moore said. “As the wave of retirees rises to tidal proportions, we desperately need younger teachers to step up and get involved.”
Moore lives in Clintonville with his wife, Kristen, their young daughter and their two dogs. The family loves to travel. Moore is an avid bird-watcher who also collects sharks’ teeth and other marine fossils from the Miocene era.