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.
Rich Roth has been an educator in Columbus City schools for over 30 years. He has taught all grade levels and subjects at the middle school level. He has taught at Hilltonia and Woodward Park. He currently teaches 7th grade math and science at Wedgewood Middle School where he has served as the SFR the past 7 years. In addition to teaching, Rich was the assistant principal at Indianola Middle School for 4 years and served as a PAR consulting teacher. He is currently a member of the PAR Panel. He is honored to be the governor of District 6.
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 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.”
“CEA” may be three letters long, but the Association’s capacity for improving classroom success is much broader. As a Middle School Governor At-Large, Cassandra Daniels shares the many educational aspects of union membership with her fellow CEA members, including opportunities to attend workshops, join committees, and seek professional guidance.
“Teachers want to know how to be successful, but often they are hesitant to ask for help. Well, we have trainers to do that. We have experts who can come into our classrooms. We have teacher leaders,” Daniels said. “The union isn’t only for when you get into trouble.”
As a governor, communication of ideas, she said, is her No. 1 priority. “With the environment we’re in now, we need to know how to communicate. It’s not just about relationships within the classroom, it’s about the relationships with the parents and the families. We have such a wide variety of students.”
Daniels, who has taught all core content areas, is currently at Champion Middle School. She knows what it’s like to keep up with constant change in diverse environments. She began teaching for the district in 2000, as a sub, and then, after receiving certification in 2002, weathered transfers and different roles, moving from Weinland Park Elementary to Franklin Middle School, the Africentric School, Indianola Middle School, and to Easthaven, Mifflin, T.O.S.A and Medina middle schools before beginning work at Champion. She and her husband, Clarence Daniels, Jr., an Africentric teacher and coach, are also parents of six children and have fostered 18 others from varying backgrounds during the past decade.
It was after she became a second-alternate FR and starting moving up in CEA service that Daniels began to see how much teaching associations really do. At professional development events, she saw association members throughout the country supporting one another through implementing facets of educational theories and practices. At an OEA Lobby Day at the Ohio Statehouse Daniels met elected representatives and shared teacher perspectives. “Then I got to go across the way and talk to the Ohio Board of Education,” she said. “It was great,” she said. “Everybody was so attentive. One of the representatives sent me a thank-you note.”
Daniels a member of the Ohio Educator Standards Board, which advises the state board. She also serves on the OEA Scholarship Foundation Board as a Director. She is trained to train members in Cultural Competency and recently received her certification as a national “True Colors” trainer. Meanwhile, she joined CEA’s Minority Involvement Program Committee and later its Economic and Social Justice Committee and learned of the many opportunities for teachers to combine their classroom knowledge with knowledge of the families they serve. She was part of the first CEA cohort participate in the NEA’s yearlong Teacher Leadership Initiative. Daniels serves on the OEA Resolutions standing committee, as well as the NEA Resolutions committee. Cassandra Daniels is ready to support her colleagues in any way that she can.
“We need to be excellent at this,” she said. “I have a phrase in my room: ‘Excellence is not an accident.’”
High School Governor-at-Large Megan Hinz
High School Governor -at-Large Gerry Curran
Budget Director Tom Busher
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.
Brittany Herb had a very unconventional approach to leadership in CEA. In 2016, she was in her eighth year teaching and decided to complete the Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) program offered through NEA. While participating in this course, she realized a harsh reality: new teachers were leaving the profession at record numbers. With the support of CEA, she was able to create a committee to help retain new educators in our district called Columbus Early Career Educators (CECE). They can be found around Columbus the last Friday of every month to offer an opportunity for educators to collaborate with other educators in years 0-10 of experience, open to all CEA members.
Throughout Brittany’s career, CEA has consistently acted in her best interest. They have supported her with disgruntled administrators on multiple occasions, as well as, in creating CECE. Brittany has marched at the State House, supported those speaking against SB 5, and spoke to city council about the importance of social emotional learning in CCS, especially after the Pandemic.
Brittany is passionate about being an educator in Columbus and is eager to create change in our broken system. She serves as our Elections Chair and has taught at Johnson Park, Sherwood, Woodward Park, Ecole Kenwood, Monroe, Buckeye, CCPSG, and Starling (she was staff reduced 4 times) but most recently she will be one of our negotiated SEL positions at Highland and Sullivant. She welcomes your questions about NEA, OEA, and CEA elections.