Organizing Institute

March Institute - RESCHEDULED!

Due to a snowstorm, NEARI is hosting the March Institute in May! May 11-12, 2018, at Whispering Pines Conference Center on the Alton Jones Campus. Designed to develop leaders and build power, learn strategies to strengthen your local. All Institute costs are covered by NEARI. There are two training tracks; new/emerging leaders & advanced leaders.

NEARI is hosting the Organizing Institute on May 11-12 2018, at Whispering Pines Conference Center on the URI Alton Jones Campus. The Organizing Institute is designed to help advanced and new/emerging leaders develop strategies to strengthen their locals. All costs of the Institute are covered by NEARI.

There are two tracks; one for new/emerging leaders and one for advanced leaders. 

Generally, new/emerging leaders may:

  • Have little or no organizing experience or training
  • Are new to a leadership position and/or are building representatives
  • Are ready to take the next step in union involvement.  

Advanced leaders may:

  • Have some experience and training in organizing
  • Have attended previous NEARI March Institutes or NEA's Northeast Institute
  • Have been in a union leadership position for a few years
  • Are ready to take the next steps to explore issues in more depth.  

The Institute is an overnight retreat-style learning experience. Participants will be expected to arrive Friday afternoon and stay through the last session on Saturday at 5pm. Accommodations are two attendees per room. Check-in at Whispering Pines begins at 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. 

Conference Agenda - 2018

Friday, May 11

3:00 - 5:00 pm  Check In 
5:15 - 5:45 pm  Guest Speaker: Andrea James-Gómez, RI for Community and Justice Director of Programs
  Introduced by Bob Walsh, NEARI
5:45 - 6:45 pm  Dinner 
7:00 - 8:30 pm  Power 
  We will examine local organizing and advocacy and how we use power currently. We will expand the conversation to understanding power dynamics at play on a national scale and why it is important to scale up and build power collectively outside local actions.We will also explore how members contribute to building power on an individual and local level. 
  Facilitators: Patrick Crowley, NEARI; Sarah Markey, NEARI
9:00 pm  Closing 
  Followed by Social

 

Saturday, May 12

Emerging Leaders Track:

8:00 - 8:30 am  Breakfast 
8:30 - 10:00 am  Rethinking Leadership
 
  Facilitators: Michele Ridolfi O’Neill, CT Education Assoc.; Kristin Chase, NEA East Providence Teacher Assistants; Amy Mullen, NEA Tiverton
10:15 - 11:45 am  1-on-1 Conversations
  We will explore and then practice the foundational tool of any good union leader – the one-on-one conversation. When used well, you can use this tool to recruit members to join the union, inoculate your members against misinformation put out by management, find new leaders and build a stronger more engaged membership.
  Facilitators: Mary Barden, NEARI
Vin Levcowich, NEA Chariho
12:00 - 1:00 pm   Lunch 
 1:00 - 2:30 pm Organizing Your Worksite 
  Our power comes directly from our members. To successfully build power, we must engage members and we must understand the issues our members care about.
Organizing principles are the same whether you are trying to invite potential members to join your Association, identify and develop local leaders, rally members to support demands, enlist community help for an issue, or drum up support for a political candidate or platform. In this workshop, we will talk about the critical elements of organizing and provide templates for participants to engage in their own organizing of the workplace. 
  Facilitators: Jackie Parkins, Colorado Education Association  
 2:30 - 4:00 pm  Community Outreach and Organizing
   Whether we are state employees, higher education faculty and staff, or education support professionals, there is a community that we serve. This session will explore how our relationship with community members can develop into deep organization alliances. We will define the difference between outreach and organizing, examine community organizing efforts across the country, and draw on the trainer and participant experience in the room to identify best practices for engaging allies in our fights. Participants will leave this session with a clear sense of why and how they want to engage with the community.
  Facilitators: Marcelle Grair, SEIU Local 509; Sarah Markey, NEARI
 4:00 pm Debrief 

Advanced Leaders Track:

8:30 - 10:00 am  Rethinking Leadership 
 
  Facilitators: Michele Ridolfi O’Neill, CT Education Assoc.; Kristin Chase, NEA East Providence Teacher Assistants; Amy Mullen, NEA Tiverton 
10:15 - 11:45am  How to Elect Your Boss 
  We will be looking at why it is so important to be involved in your town's politics and in electing pro-education candidates. This session will discuss tactics for getting started and following through on being a major force in a campaign to create school friendly town councils and school committees as well as identifying allies in your community. 
  Facilitators: Valarie Lawson, East Providence Education Assoc., NEARI vice president; Amanda Scott, NEA Portsmouth, NEARI Treasurer
12:00- 1:00 pm  Lunch 
 1:00 - 2:30 pm Labor, Race & Gender
   
  Facilitator: Mike Araujo, Executive Director, RI Jobs with Justice
 2:30 - 4:00 pm Community Outreach and Organizing
  Whether we are state employees, higher education faculty and staff, or education support professionals, there is a community that we serve. This session will explore how our relationship with community members can develop into deep organization alliances. We will define the difference between outreach and organizing, examine community organizing efforts across the country, and draw on the trainer and participant experience in the room to identify best practices for engaging allies in our fights. Participants will leave this session with a clear sense of why and how they want to engage with the community.
  Facilitators: Marcelle Grair, SEIU Local 509; Sarah Markey, NEARI
 4:00 pm  Debrief

 

Mike Araujo

Mike Araujo

Mike is executive director of Rhode Island Jobs with Justice. 

Mary Barden

Mary Barden

Mary is a NEARI UniServ and member of the resistance. She previously taught 8th grade social studies in North Kingstown and was president of NEANK.

Kristin Chase

Kristin Chase

Kristin is a paraprofessional at East Providence High School. She is president of EPPA, NEARI vice president K-12 ESP and a graduate of NEA Leaders for Tomorrow. 



Kristin Chase. Paraprofessional at East Providence High School,  President of EPPA, 
NEARI VP K-12 ESP,
Graduate of NEA Leaders for Tomorrow 

Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley

Referred to as “bright and blunt” by The Providence Phoenix, Pat is Assistant Executive Director/UNISERV for NEARI, the largest teachers’ union in Rhode Island. Pat once leafleted a church from the inside during a labor dispute and it was never proven in a court of law that he had anything to do with an anti-privatization strike at a school where that type of thing "might" be illegal. He once made headlines for exposing right wing Governor Don Carcieri’s failure to pay property tax on his luxury condominium in Florida and for chasing then Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee around the State during his 2006 re-election campaign in a George W. Bush mask and a flight suit. A mountain climber in in off hours, Pat enjoys frequent trips to Vermont mostly because of its proximity to the Canadian border.

Marcelle Grair

Marcelle Grair

Andrea James-Gómez

Andrea James-Gómez

Andrea is the Director of Programs at Rhode Island for Community and Justice. She came to RICJ from the Institute for Labor Studies and Research where she served as Program Director. Prior to returning to RI, she worked as a Program Director at Just Communities of Arkansas as well as an organizer around immigrant rights issues for the Arkansas United Community Coalition. She has over a decade of experience facilitating social justice workshops and dialogue. An alum of Leadership for a Future Class of 2003 and the Latina Leadership Institute Class of 2015, she considers herself a life-long learner and always seeks opportunities for growth. Andrea appreciates creating a safe space for difficult conversation and being a part of others’ journeys towards better understanding of social justice issues.
Andrea James-Gómez has been the Program Director at the Institute for Labor Studies and Research since 2015. Prior to returning to RI, she worked as a Program Director at Just Communities of Arkansas as well as an organizer around immigrant rights issues for the Arkansas United Community Coalition. She has over a decade of experience facilitating social justice workshops and dialogue. An alum of Leadership for a Future Class of 2003 and the Latina Leadership Institute Class of 2015, she considers herself a life-long learner and always seeks opportunities for growth. Andrea appreciates creating a safe space for difficult conversation and being a part of others’ journeys towards better understanding of social justice issues.

Valarie Lawson

Valarie Lawson

Val has been an educator for 27 years. She teaches history and civics at East Providence High School. Val is currently secretary of the East Providence Education Association and she has served in every role in her local union including president from 2008 to 2014. She was recently elected to her third term as vice president of NEARI. 

Val is a candidate for office; she is running for State Senate District 14 in her hometown of East Providence.

Vin Levcowich

 

Sarah Markey

Sarah Markey

Sarah has been with NEARI since August of 2016, after having been an organizer in the NEA national office for six years. Her work has included organizing early childhood teachers in Massachusetts, leading a national campaign on Time to Teach and the reduction of standardized testing in schools, and piloting Bargaining for the Common good projects where the broader community and labor come together around shared interests. She lives in Wakefield with her sons Milo and Shane and her partner Patrick.

Amy Mullen

Amy Mullen

Amy, Tiverton teacher and union rock star, has been president of her local union for as long as most members can remember. She enjoys providing training to members because no one at home ever listens to anything she has to say. As a special education teacher, Amy has the patience of a saint, although her behavior outside of the classroom is anything but saintly. Amy has served as NEARI treasurer and is currently the NEA Director for RI and is plotting to take over the world.


Jackie Parkins

Jackie Parkins

Hi - I'm Jackie, and I'm currently a UniServ Director with the Front Range UniServ Unit working mostly with classroom teachers in the Denver metro area. I grew up just outside New Haven and so I'm thrilled to come back to visit you (and my parents) in New England! I've been with the NEA family for 3-ish years, after working on the Fight for $15 campaign talking fast food workers into going on strike, working on a variety of political campaigns for candidates and issues, and I still serve on the national board of 9to5, National Association of Working Women. I'm a social worker turned professional troublemaker and I believe educators have almost unlimited power to make this world a better place, and I am honored to be someone who gets to help make that happen.

 

Michelle Ridolfi O’Neill

Michele Ridolfi O'Neill

Michele is the Connecticut Education Association's Educational Issues Specialist and State Organizer of the CEA Student (Aspiring Educators) Program. Prior to beginning her career with CEA as a UniServ Representative, she taught for almost twelve years in a Connecticut public school district, served as her local union's vice president and president, and represented her county on the CEA Board of Directors. Michele earned two separate teaching certifications while completing a double major in English and history/social science at Eastern CT State University and received her master's degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. She has delivered trainings and presentations for numerous statewide, regional, and national organizations—including Learning Forward and the National Education Association—and serves on the faculty of the Northeast Organizing Institute as well as NEA’s Training Cadre.


Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott

Amanda is an English teacher at Portsmouth High School, NEA Portsmouth President, and NEARI Region II Vice President. She is a lover of Faulkner and Victorian Gothic literature, but passionate about Freire, Shor, and all things oriented for social justice in and out of the classroom. #resist

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