MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Our Members Are Our Greatest Strength
We were on track in 2019-2020 to have one of the greatest years in our organization’s history.
Membership was up. Our on-demand learning portal that provides online professional learning and
development, which is available FREE for our members, has exploded. Most classes on the portal are
TASL accredited for administrators. We also made a great impact in the legal arena for our members.
Our advocacy efforts were unrivaled; we were in the background successfully advocating for a $117
million raise in instructional wages. We were addressing classroom behavior issues with several
legislative items. We were in the middle of a groundbreaking literacy initiative. We were moving
forward on certification issues. We were even working on some federal education issues. As we held
our breath, the world suddenly stood still.
an unprecedented global
health crisis to our state and
nation. More than that, our
communities will also likely
see a tidal wave of unemployment claims and face economic issues that may bring challenges for
many years. In Tennessee, we also had to deal with a tornado that impacted numerous counties,
including Putnam, Union, Wilson, Davidson, and Smith. We are reminded to look beyond our pain,
to see the pain of others.
Our strength lies not in who we
are, but rather in who you are.
I have now heard many people say this has been the worst year of their lives. That may well be accurate.
America has certainly had some difficult years in our history. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King,
Jr. was assassinated. That year has also been called one of the most turbulent in American history. The
tempestuousness of the 1960s had reached a boiling point, and it exploded in 1968. Robert Kennedy
suggested, “it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move
in.” Kennedy himself was shot and killed in June 1968.
What kind of nation are we? What direction do we want to move in? Perhaps every generation of
Americans has to answer that for themselves.
Kennedy offered this advice: “what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love
and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice
toward those who still suffer within our country.” I agree with Kennedy.
Expressing compassion defines what is best in each of us. If we lose
our compassion, we lose part of what makes us uniquely human. As an
organization, our strength lies not in who we are, but rather in who you
are. Our members are our greatest strength.
As an organization, Professional Educators of Tennessee has to be there
for our members at their time of greatest need. For the immediate future,
we have to put a spotlight on real problems faced by real people in a
real crisis. Let us know how you are
doing, and let us go to work for you
in this crisis and the next.