The CSA Executive Board, District Chairs, Field Directors and Assistant Field Directors attended a retreat from Friday, October 2 to Saturday, October 3 to discuss a variety of issues affecting members.
Almost one hundred CSA district chairs and field directors joined President Ernest Logan, Executive Vice President Mark Cannizzaro, First Vice President Randi Herman and other Executive Board members for the two day retreat at Staten Island's Hilton Garden Inn.
Discussion topics included labor relations, conflict resolution, a review of Executive Board election procedures, and a preview of the upcoming Annual Conference, scheduled for Nov. 14.
Activities included a succession of team workshops in which attendees developed ideas on how to implement several CSA initiatives aimed at improving member involvement with the union, supporting new members along their career paths, and helping members understand the importance of union benefits.
President Logan discussed CSA's history and how District Leaders came to be appointed rather than elected to the position.
Suggestions for improving member outreach included having Field Directors personally contact new members, creating a "buddy system" to support members. Leadership should also find a way to differentiate between support systems to better meet the diverse needs of members serving in elementary, middle and high schools.
"This is wonderful, because district chairs can really share ideas and best practices to reenergize and rejuvenate CSA," said Nancy Esposito, Assistant Director, field services for South Brooklyn. "This is really important for us, and it's really thrilling to be here and to hear all these great ideas. The leadership really comes through."
District 23 Chair Beverly Logan said "These meetings are very important, because new administrators need to know they are not alone. We want to support them professionally and emotionally to make sure they transition into the position."
Kristina Beecher, CSA Chair for District 13, made a presentation on the importance of sharing resources. "Sometimes as a new principal you might not have all the things you need," she said. "But those who have a little more have the flexibility to share, which cuts down on frustration of those who do not have and builds trust."
"We're not just here to say we're CSA," Beecher said. "There is action behind what we do."
Brooklyn South Field Director Jim Harrigan said the retreat is important because "we don't get a chance to bring the field directors together so often and we don't get a chance to brainstorm with them. President Logan is trying to get them to understand their important.
"They really are the key people out there."