2017-09-21 / News Briefs

In brief

New MEA officers take reins, embark on listening tour

EAST LANSING — This September, a new team of MEA officers have taken the helm of the state’s largest school employee union. President Paula Herbart, Vice President Chandra Madafferi and Secretary- Treasurer Brett Smith are kicking off their time in office with a statewide listening tour to hear from the experts on the front lines of public education – the dedicated teachers and school support staff working every day with Michigan’s students.

At listening tour stops held thus far, members have shared their frustrations about overuse of standardized testing, inconsistent evaluation practices, lack of adequate school funding, strains on educator household incomes, shortages of new teachers and substitutes, and the need for greater local control over public schools. But members also talked about why they do what they do – seeing the “light bulb” go off for a student who finally understands a subject they’ve struggled with, or hearing back from parents and former students about the long-term effect they’ve had on people’s lives.

Herbart is a 20-year-veteran K-12 music teacher in Macomb County’s Fraser Public Schools. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Herbart lives in Macomb County with her husband and son.

Madafferi is a high school health teacher from Oakland County’s Novi Community Schools. She earned an undergraduate degree in education at Central Michigan University. Originally from West Michigan, Madafferi lives in South Lyon with her family, where her children attend South Lyon Community Schools.

Smith has been a 5th grade teacher in Linden Community Schools since 2000. He has a degree in business finance from the University of Michigan - Flint, master’s degree from Central Michigan University, and previous experience working for General Motors and Ameritech. Smith and his wife, Tracey, have four children – two in college and two who are students at Linden Community Schools. — L.R.

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