Update on the TRTA 59th Annual Convention
Last week, over 1,000 public education retirees met in Houston at the Westin Galleria for the 59th Annual Texas Retired Teachers Association Convention! The convention is held in a different city each year, and serves as our opportunity to train officers and committee chairman from all 260 local units. We also conduct the statewide business of the association, including electing officers for our Board of Directors and voting on bylaws amendments.
In addition to business, attendees are also able to enjoy several enlightening activities. This year, our charitable arm, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation, aired a special video with Foundation luncheon attendees on March 26. You may have heard about TRTF’s Legacy Campaign to promote a positive image of public education in Texas. Many TRTA members have donated generously to this program. Now, all of our members can view the first of many projects to be conceived from this initiative.
Please share this video with everyone you know: friends, family, and active teachers! Above all else, TRTF values public education and those who dedicate their lives to this noble endeavor. We hope the general public may view this video and feel the same appreciation that we do.
The TRTA Legislative Luncheon at Convention was a huge success with over 530 TRTA members in attendance with several hundred others watching the event in an overflow room. A panel of legislators that included State Senator John Whitmire and State Representatives Alma Allen, Larry Gonzales and Dan Huberty answered questions posed by Tim Lee about funding the retirement system and attacks from outside groups that oppose the defined benefit plan.
Officers for the TRTA Board of Directors were elected. Taking office on July 1, 2012 will be President Maridell Fryar, First Vice-President Francis Plemmons, Second Vice-President Nancy Byler and Secretary/Treasurer Don Vardeman. Herbert Norris will continue to serve on the board as Immediate Past President after his presidency concludes on June 30.
Mary Jane Hamilton, who served as Second Vice-President for the past two years, resigned her position effective March 28 to join the TRTA staff. Ms. Hamilton will manage the TRTA schedule and plan major events, such as next year’s Convention in Corpus Christi. Her new title is Coordinator for Programs and Initiatives. We are happy to welcome her to the team!
The TRTA House of Delegates discussed and voted upon several bylaws amendments. Amendment 2 passed, allowing officers elected to the TRTA Board of Directors to serve two-year terms. Previously, officers served one-year terms with elections held every year. This change will take effect July 2014. A new business item introduced from the floor of the House of Delegates also passed, making the Local Unit Support Committee a permanent standing committee. No other amendments passed, though Amendment 7 to combine three standing committees was referred to the board for further study.
TRTA appreciates the dedication of our delegates. Your participation in this convention was vital and productive. We also want to give a special thank you to the volunteers of District 4 who hosted the convention. Their tremendous energy and organizational skills made everything operate smoothly!
Next year’s Convention in Corpus Christi marks TRTA’S 60th birthday and will occur April 9-12, 2013. TRTA looks forward to working closely with District 2 in planning this milestone event!