left to right Shirley Weldon, Secretary, Paulette Jones, Assistant Treasurer, Helen Zappia, Treasurer, Lisa Morgan, 2nd VP, Claudette B. Woodard, 1st VP, Davide Schutten, President
ODE Mission Statement
To be the leader in providing information, training, representation and support services for students, parents, teachers and Educational Support Personnel (bus drivers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, lunch room workers, etc.) in order to produce a stronger and more effective school system.
The Organization of DeKalb Educators (ODE) is the local affiliate of the Georgia Association of Educators and the National Education Association.
ODE was founded in 1974 after DeKalb County School System administrators put intense pressure on members of the DeKalb Association of Educators (DAE) to disaffiliate from GAE and the NEA. DAE is now a member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. (PAGE) ODE was then founded as the local affiliate of GAE and NEA.
When ODE was first founded, its members were harassed and threatened by DCSS administrators. A small group of educators kept ODE’s torch burning for many years. At one point ODE membership dwindled to 25 brave souls. In 1994, when ODE had 455 members, a dynamic membership plan was developed by ODE officers Jackie Henry, Rosilind Taylor and Helen Zappia along with Pete Toggerson, then the ODE Uniserv Director, and Arden Shumaker (now retired) of the NEA Collective Bargaining Office.
Within one year ODE experienced a dramatic 45% membership growth. Membership has grown steadily for the past seven years. Today we represent approximately 1,700 DeKalb County School System employees including teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, cafeteria workers and administrators. We are now the largest local teachers’ organization in Georgia. We are the Leading Voice for Public Education in DeKalb County, Advocating Excellence in DeKalb Public Schools.
2001 has been an amazing year for ODE. We successfully lobbied the DeKalb Board of Education to give teachers and school based administrators full credit on the salary schedule for previous experience, as well as adding a step to the certified teachers’ salary schedule. The DeKalb Board of Education adopted a Sick Leave Bank and Adoption Policy for Employees after many years of lobbying by ODE. ODE was the only organization to speak in favor of increasing the 2001-2002 salary increase from 3.5% to bothered to send leaders to speak on behalf of employees.) Superintendent Dr. James R. attempt to alleviate the critical shortage of substitute teachers. ODE is the Voice of DeKalb’s Educators. We lobby tirelessly for improved teaching and learning conditions.
Community Involvement and Outreach
ODE is also involved extensively in the community. ODE is an active member of Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE), the local affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundations. ABLE is composed of 25 area churches and ODE, working together to bring about dramatic improvements in the quality of life in DeKalb County, Fulton County and the City of Atlanta. ODE also belongs to the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and actively participates in Rep. Stan Watson’s influential House District 70 Advisory Council. We are the only DeKalb County professional education organization to interview and endorse DeKalb County legislative candidates.
Our outreach programs include the Levi A. Simon III Scholarships, Read Across America, The DeKalb Storytelling and Literacy Project, Parental Involvement Project, Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, PeachSeed Storytelling Festival and Conference for Young Tellers and Through the Arts We Teach.
ODE is a vibrant and dynamic school and community based professional education organization dedicated to improving education in the DeKalb County School System as well as improving the overall quality of life in DeKalb County. If you are a DeKalb County School System employee, consider becoming a member today!