The Ohio Education Association (OEA) represents more than 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals who work in Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities to help improve public education and the lives of Ohio’s children. OEA members provide a wide range of professional education services in communities throughout the state.
Phillips joined the Ohio University Lancaster local chapter of OEA, OEA-Aspiring Educators, during her freshman year. She joined while taking her general education courses, because she wanted to learn more about her future career and gain leadership experience.
“This was the next level of leadership that I had been craving. I served as the chair-elect for the state board and president for my local board, where I attended statewide meetings to enhance aspiring educators’ experience on their campuses and in the classroom,” Phillips said. “This last year I served as the chairperson for the state board and sat on the board of directors for OEA. This allowed me to use my voice for all aspiring educators in Ohio as their delegate for the union representative assemblies and a representative on the board of directors.”
“Working with Leah as a board member of OEA Aspiring Educators has been a privilege and delight. Leah is an incredible student along with being a professional in dealing with matters with other students and the community,” said Dr. Debra Dunning, coordinator of early childhood and elementary education and associate professor of instruction. “Leah and I were able to present at a leadership conference on how we changed the leadership model of this student organization to student-led instead of being professor-led. This has allowed education students at Ohio University Lancaster to develop management and leadership skills beyond the classroom.”
The mission statement of OEA-Aspiring Educators is to “help empower teacher candidates on their educational journey in regards to the basic human domains of cognitive, emotional, social and physical areas.” This organization offers opportunities for teacher education majors to gain personal growth and professional competence through meeting with others and serving the community.
“I have been lucky enough to see what the union and organized associations can do for teachers and aspiring educators,” Phillips said. “Through my experiences, I hope to continue working with people who have the same goal for a better future.”