50th Anniversary of the JCEA Contract: Part 2

Over the past 50 years JCEA has had 17 presidents and of those past presidents three became CEA Presidents, Wallace (Wally) Sherertz, Jerry Garland and Kerrie Dallman. JCEA’s rich history includes Judy English, the first female president, who held the position from 1982-1986, and Shermita West,  the first African-American (female) who was president from 1990-1994.

In 1983, under Judy English, JCEA awarded its first college scholarship to aspiring teachers. This scholarship was member driven and started by JCEA member Shirley Sternola. In 1986, the JCEA Teacher Scholarship changed its name to the JCEA Christa McAuliffe Excellence Scholarship. The name change came after the Space Shuttle Challenger was lost during launch,, when the entire crew died, including the first teacher in space,  Christa McAuliffe.

From the beginning, many of these presidents rose to the occasion to take on the challenges of their terms.  Most notable was in 1999, when Jane Goff was JCEA President. Jane had to lead our organization through its most trying time, when on April 20th, 1999 the Columbine tragedy occurred and changed our Union forever. During Jane’s term, The JCEA Excellence Fund officially became a 501c3, when educators from all over the United States donated generously to make a difference. These donations gave birth to both the Dave Sanders Educator Grant and the Excellence Fund Scholarship for aspiring teachers.

Of the 17 past JCEA Presidents, 13 JCEA Presidents are still alive. In fact, both Gene Layman, president number one, and John Nelson, president number two, are still here and active members of their communities. Sadly, Wally Sheretz, president number three; John Young, president number four; Jim Hodges, president number seven, and Judy English, president number eight, have passed way.

As the current President of JCEA, I have been fortunate to have several conversations with many of our past presidents. One of the most notable of these conversations was with Paul Schmidt, president number nine. Paul told me a story about a 1988 action, when 2000 teachers circled the Ed Center (The “Commitment Rally”) and pressured the District to come back to the bargaining table.  It was Paul’s leadership and that candle light action which caused the Jeffco School Board and superintendent to award our Union a three-year contract.

In Part 3 of this series the fight of our lives will be the topic. Stay tuned… 

Past Presidents of the Jefferson County Education Association

1967-68                Gene Layman (R-1 EA)

1968-69                John Nelson

1969-70                Wallace K. Sherertz

1970-72                John Young

1972-74                Jerry Garland

1974-78                Dick Lansford

1978-82                Jim Hodges

1982-86                Judy English

1986-90                Paul Schmidt

1990-94                Shermita West

1994-98                Ann Williams

1998-00                Jane Goff

2000-04                Dale Gatz

2004-08                Nancy Henderson, called 1-8??

2008-12                Kerrie Dallman

2012-14                Ami Prichard