Apr 12

Spotlight on Locals: Holmen Education Association

Members of the Holmen Education Association gather to accept the WEAC Strong Local Affiliate certificate from WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen.

By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, WEAC Vice President

The strength of the Holmen Education Association was obvious as a large group of members gathered at Holmen Middle School; many were proudly wearing their Holmen EA shirts, made possible through a grant from WEAC Region 4. When I interviewed HEA President Lisa Risch, she made it clear that the local association has been busy advocating for its members and finding success.

According to Lisa, “The Holmen Education Association shares positive news broadly because we know that having visibility is so important. Every month, a benefit slip is given to both members and non-members that shows both NEA and WEAC discounts in addition to sharing our local’s most recent success stories.”

Lisa meets monthly with the District Administrator to discuss topics brought forth by members. Through these conversations, the HEA has been able to enact positive change on topics like handbook language relevant to membership. The association has made steady progress on difficult issues by finding a middle ground on behalf of students.

Tracy Dobkoski, Vice President of the HEA, manages the group’s Facebook page, which most recently posted information about the National Board Certification and the supports that are available. Tracy contributed her personal experiences about what these supports have meant to her as a professional and how they have helped her be an even better educator for her students.  The HEA has also made members aware of other professional supports offered by WEAC Region 4, highlighting the course offering called Love and Logic. “We need to share all of the opportunities that are available to our HEA members.”

When I asked Lisa about her advice to other locals, she said, “Doing positive work in your community is so important. The HEA values education and giving back to our students. We typically sponsor three to four scholarships for graduating seniors, sponsor the clean-up of the local bike trail, and HEA most recently voted to donate $1,000 to the building of the Holmen Community Center.”

She also told me that they take time to bring people together not only through meetings but also through social events. “By engaging in many conversations at events and by listening to our members and potential members, we are able to get our colleagues to join with us. Our voices are being heard.”

Read all of Peggy’s ‘Spotlight On Locals’ columns at weac.org/Spotlight.