Organizing Institute 2022 - This Event Has Been Postponed

NEARI Organizing Institute 2022

Conference Agenda - 2022

Breakout Sessions - two tracks: Emerging and Advanced

Emerging Leaders Track:

9:30 am - 10:30 amOrganizing Members Using Grievances and Representation

Facilitators: Sue Warburton, NEANK; Joel Gluck, CCRI-PTFA

10:30 am - 10:45 amBreak
10:45 am - 11:45 amStrategies for Engagement

Facilitators: Mayrose Wegmann, NJEA; Rosanna Campbell, NEA Burrillville

11:45 am - 12:30 pmLunch with Dialogue Exercise facilitated by Sarah Markey, NEARI
12:30 pm - 1:00 pmClosing: Building Community Support/Building Bridges with Community Stakeholders

Facilitators: Brian Nelson, NEASK; LaToya Johnson, NEA

Advanced Leaders Track:

9:30 am - 10:30 amPicking an Issue and Escalating a Campaign

Facilitators: Mayrose Wegmann, NJEA; Peter DiPippo, DOH

10:30 am - 10:45 amBreak
10:45 am - 11:45 amLeadership Recruitment and Development

Facilitator: LaToya Johnson, NEA

11:45 am - 12:30 pmLunch with Dialogue Exercise facilitated by Sarah Markey, NEARI
12:30 pm - 1:00 pmClosing: Building Community Support/Building Bridges with Community Stakeholders

Facilitators: Brian Nelson, NEASK; LaToya Johnson, NEA


Val Lawson is a classroom teacher of U.S. history and civics at East Providence High School, she is currently serving her third term as vice president of NEARI and has served in every role in her local union including president from 2008 to 2014.

Val represents Rhode Island Senate District 14 in the General Assembly.

Mary Barden has been an assistant executive director/UniServ at NEARI since 2013. Prior to that, Mary rose through the ranks of union leadership serving as a building rep, middle level advocate, grievance chair, and local president – all at NEA North Kingstown where she taught social studies at Davisville Middle School.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Providence College, a Bachelor’s in secondary education social studies from Rhode Island College, and a Master’s in labor relations and human resources from University of Rhode Island.

On March 21 of this year, Mary was unanimously selected to be the next executive director for NEA Rhode Island. She will assume her new post on August 1.

Michael Deely is an IAF (Alinsky Institute) trained organizer. His work is based in 1:1 organizing, identifying and developing leaders through action, and connecting those leaders to build power and win.

The Buffalo Believe campaign was and is an example of Michael's work. The NYSUT staff and leaders did thousands of 1:1 meetings in an effort to throw out millionaire charter school developers from the Buffalo school board in favor of mom & pop public education advocates.

Today, in Buffalo there is no longer talk of failing schools or lazy teachers, but instead the focus is on the 24 Community Schools and the trajectory up for graduation rates and public satisfaction in our Buffalo Public Schools.

Michael has been an organizer with labor or community groups since 1989. In his last 12 years, he has managed the two WNY Regions of NYSUT using mostly his organizing hat instead of that of a bureacratic manager.

Sue Warburton is an ELL teacher at North Kingstown High School. Prior, she held multiple teaching positions: technology educator, second grade classroom teacher, and sixth grade classroom teacher.

While Sue has filled many union roles in her local, she currently is president of the NK local and serves as secretary on the NEARI Executive Board.

Dr. Joel Gluck has been active in union life for the last 15 years. As the Vice President of the CCRI PTFA, he serves as chief contract negotiator and grievance chair.

He has represented over 25 grievances and has a 100% success rate. He has negotiated 2 contracts and is in the process of negotiating a third. In addition to his work at CCRI, Joel teaches science in Cranston and has been a building delegate for many years.

He was one of the first to work on Share My Lesson, AFT’s teacher lesson plan sharing network where he reviewed hundreds of websites for inclusion in the program.

Mayrose Wegmann, an Iowa native, is an activist and lifelong organizer in the progressive movement.

Having grown up in poverty herself, she has committed her life’s work to help bring about justice legally, politically, socially, racially, and educationally for all people.

Mayrose has more than 20 years of experience as a political strategist and campaign manager. In 2016, Mayrose served as a Floor Whip at the Democratic National Convention and then went to Iowa where she was a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.

Mayrose is a graduate of the University of Iowa where she was elected as the University of Iowa’s Student Body Vice President.

Through this position, Mayrose fought to keep tuition affordable and to increase student financial aid for those most in need. In this advocacy role, she became a national spokesperson for college affordability where she contributed for CNN, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, and US News and World Report.

Mayrose currently lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her partner Conrad. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, debating politics, and exploring the world in search of the best beach.

Rosanna has served as Burrillville Teacher Association Treasurer/Secondary Vice President since 2015/16. After participating in the NEARI Organizing Institute/Northeast Institute and many NEARI/NEA conferences, she discovered a new vocation in Local Member Organizing and upon expansion, Statewide Member Organizing.

After participating in many Ed Summer programs and trainings, including Leadership for a Future in 2020, the rESPect Campaign, she worked for community partner Nonviolent Schools RI in July 2021.

In her work as an inclusion advocate, she served as school/district Sandy Hook Promise Leader and on the Governor's Gun Safety Working Group- served as panelist for New England Basecamp's Pride Panel in June of 2021.

In late July-November 2021, she helped co-coordinate the 2021 NEARI Mental Health Summit, serving with Sarah Markey and Mary Barden and now proud member of NEARI's Organizing Committee.

She is eager to present again at the NEARI Organizing Institute in 2022- which is now back in person!

Sarah Markey 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.

Dr. Brian Nelson has proudly served the role of NEA/South Kingstown president since 2018.

Brian has taught middle school mathematics for over twenty years and is currently teaching Green Architecture and Design and Modeling courses as part of the district’s Project Lead the Way program.

Brian recently presented the seminar Data Matters: Collecting and Utilizing Data with your Membership” at NEARI’s 2022 Winter Bargaining Conference.

LaToya Johnson began her career in education as an active secondary teacher in Alabama and Virginia. She was an intern with the National Education Association (NEA) Minority and Women’s Program in 2001.

She worked as a UniServ Director in South Carolina, Florida, and Maryland. She is currently an Organizational Specialist with the NEA in the Center for Organizing Affiliate Support (C4OAS).

She has recently been assigned to Zone 1 (Northeast Region) and previously worked on organizing projects for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and My School – My Voice Team.

She was most recently the staff liaison for New Local Presidents’ Training and Release Time Presidents Training, where she developed curriculum and presented information on leadership development.

She resides in GA and enjoys traveling with her son, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Peter DiPippo is the president of the 300-member, NEARI Professional Staff Association of the Rhode Island Department of Health and has served in that role throughout the pandemic.

At the Health Department, he is the Principal Investigator for multi-million-dollar public health surveillance program.

Prior to working at DOH, he worked for an international management consulting firm helping businesses identify, quantify, and solve labor-related problems.

His experience with union and non-union labor; the professions; and in Management has provided him valuable insight into labor relations tactics and strategy.

With NEARI’s support and assistance, the Local bargained the impact of the pandemic on its members and achieved over $4M in emergency compensation for over 80,000 extra hours worked during the pandemic.

Although he is a graduate of Brown University, he can still name all his K-12 teachers.