Photo Credit: Darren Draper
This has been stewing in ScribeFire for awhile, and I guess it is time to post it. Having seen Brian’s call for a vote, I decided to be more open in my request to become the TCEA Area 7 Director and offer a few thoughts.
I shared in an earlier post that I was asked at an SOS-SIG meeting recently why I wanted to spend my personal time working on the board of TCEA. I expressed a few of my thoughts with him and the group, and his reply was that at least I was passionate about it. That is the key, I think. Passionate. You have to be passionate about the change you want to bring about. People see through ulterior motives, but passion is obvious and productive. Seeing as the three most popular posts on my blog right now all relate to the direction TCEA, TEA, and TETN are headed, I think my passion is obvious. What shold be known is that I do not just gripe. I back it up with action. My face is seen many times at the Capitol during the legislative session both walking the halls to talk with legislators (not just mine) and in committee meetings testifying on behalf of public education in Texas. I visit them between sessions as well to inform them and to be informed by them. Wait until the legislative session starts up here in Texas. You’ll see more than one post updating the progress of legislation and the political process from this educator’s point of view. 😉
Over the summer I began reading a new book, Influencer. A number of items it discusses as vital to the process of change are discussed throughout, but two stick out in my mind: surpass your limits and change the environment. They are two key elements needed in TCEA to advance it toward the goal of being THE premier technology association. The great thing about pushing the limits is learning from the failures. The successes take care of themselves. If we create an environment where our leaders feel safe in trying new things, we will grow as a collaborative organization. If TCEA grows, Texas educators and students benefit tremendously.
I encourage you to go back and read my posts on the direction I feel TCEA and our state should be taking in the very near future. You will find them here and here
and pretty much any other post on this blog. If you need to know who I am a little more, read through the archives. Google me and read my work elsewhere. Follow me on Twitter. Read through the comments on this blog to see I do practice the art of discussion with folks that visit me here. Email me. Call me. Know that it is always a two way street to make progress. I want to be a part of that progress. But, for a short list of priorities of things I think should be reviewed, consider this:
- By-Laws – The current set are outdated and full of holes. It is hard for an executive director and board of directors to govern like that.
- Transparency – TCEA has a site. Use it to post minutes, audio files, budget, or other supporting files to let the members see inside the system itself. Communication is key!
- Elections – There are a number of issues here, but let’s say the by-laws can fix most of them. Again, transparency is imperative.
- SIGs – Why we have SIGs is beyond me. I love them and find them very helpful to me as an educator, but TCEA does not take advantage of them. SIGs dangle out in the wilderness with little to no connection to the organization as a whole. Why TCEA does not utilize the vast resources and talent found in the membership of these groups is puzzling. Why the leadership fails to join in the conversations found on the list serves leaves me wondering if the SIGs are just spinning their wheels. Read Miguel’s post about one such recent example.
- Website – Wow. There is just so much here. Let’s just say there needs to be a direction for the best utilization of this resource that opens up more to the members to collaborate, gather information, and become truly a part of the organization. If it means leaving expensive software and hardware and a move to opensource, then it needs to be considered. Consider the VAST amount of support offered via the SOS-SIG. Let’s not run this like a choked-down school network. Collaborate. Get input. Make progress. Be transparent. Practice what we preach to our members. Be forward thinking. Be subscribable. Be visible.
- BOD Meetings – This really falls in line with the transparency item above. Not much is known about how, how often, or when these occur because the information from them is simply not available. There should be open mic times that do NOT require any approval process. Give a twenty-four hour notice to reserve a three-five minute block of time at any board meeting, and that should be adequate. Why should the board have the authority to turn down the request at a regular meeting? The list goes on.
- Legislative Advocacy – This is one of the most important as TCEA is the ONLY organization in Texas to solely represent students and teachers in tech funding, initiatives, and policy. Recently, there was an advocacy committee formed. Can we post their positions on current issues? How were those created? Who was a part of that process? Who is the point person in TCEA for the legislature to talk to? How were these people trained about the political process? How will they interact with Capitol decision makers? When will they interact with Capitol decision makers? How/when will they report back to the members to gather support for current issues? We need a voice in Austin. We need an experienced, focused voice in Austin. Does this become the job of the new executive director? If so, it should be a key element of the interview process. No time for OJT.
- Area Leadership and Organization – The by-laws list information for this, but where does one find the actual make-up of these area groups? Is it even being done in any Area? Is it optional? Mandatory? It needs to be clear and followed or take it out. We want to collaborate with other districts in other areas. Contacts are crucial to make that work.
- Executive Director – This decision can set the direction of our organization immediately and long-term. A full board (read as vacancies filled) should set aside time to discover the mission, goals, and tenets of TCEA and purpose them into the driving direction of the search for the next ED of TCEA. Start the conversation virtually if need be. Keep it private so board members feel safe in throwing all ideas on the table without repurcussion. Mold those ideas into a finished product only after meeting in person and creating a unified front. Until those things are done, interviews should not be held nor a new leader chosen.
- Fiduciary Duty – Learn it. Live it. Love it.
If you are a member of TCEA and considering voting in Area 7, I would appreciate your vote. Click HERE to go to the voting site. Remember to choose Area 7. Voting closes Novemeber 17th. If you are not a member and are interested in joining TCEA, click here. Regardless of the outcome of the election, I will work where I’m allowed to help move some of these items forward in the hopes of improving the organization as a whole.
And now a plug for my buddy, Brian. If you live in Area 19, please consider voting for him. He’s a good guy with great intentions. We need more people like him on the board.
Can you hear the passion in my writing?