These last few years have certainly put our field to the test as we have worked together and within our own communities to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As stressful as this experience has been on all of us, I am uplifted and reassured by all the ways that we have come together and worked to support each other, our communities and the families that we serve. We, as community educators, responded to this crisis as we always have, with perseverance, resilience, dedication and professionalism.
As your 2022 MCEA President, I am honored to serve alongside all of you as we continue to navigate our way through these challenging times. It has been a humbling and inspiring experience to witness the collaboration, support and leadership that our members have shown this past year. There are so many individuals who really stepped up to the plate and helped lead the way. I would especially like to recognize our past MCEA President Cory Franson, who led with great passion, empathy, and dedication. I’d also like to thank our outgoing board members for their service as well as all those who served on an MCEA committee or a conference planning committee.
The MCEA Board and Executive Office is committed to supporting and serving our membership. We will continue to focus our goals on how best to support our members and their needs. At our December board retreat, we determined three priority areas to focus on this year.
Our first priority is to finalize, approve and communicate the operation and infrastructure plan for the MCEA Executive Office. This goal was established last year and we hope to finalize the plan in 2022. The results of this goal will better position MCEA to meet the current and future needs of our organization.
The second priority is to continue supporting the recovery and growth of the community education field. We have identified several key areas of support through the membership survey as well as discussions with other members. The main focus areas will be around advocacy and funding, equity and race, professional development and staff training (orientation), and staff recruitment.
Our third priority is to implement a sustainable statewide marketing and advocacy campaign. The MCEA Marketing and Communications committee has been working hard on the ‘That’s Community Ed’ 2.0 campaign. These efforts will expand our advocacy with Legislative and state-wide leaders as well as continued resources within our local communities to advocate and promote all that community education does across our state.
I am excited about the continued growth and new opportunities that lie ahead for our association. On behalf of the board, thank you to our members for your continued engagement as we work to support all of the lifelong learners of Minnesota.
Joel Dahl, MCEA President
Director of Community Education and Services, Westonka Public Schools