TMJH librarian elected UEA president
Park City will have strong representation on the Utah Education Association, the union that represents educators in Utah.
Heidi Matthews, library information specialist at Treasure Mountain Junior High, was elected president of the UEA last month. She earned 53.2 percent of the votes in the election, held March 24 through April 15, while her challenger, Jennifer Boehme, received 46.6 percent.
The outpouring of support from teachers around the state was gratifying, she said. She will leave TMJH to begin her new post July 15.
"It’s quite an honor to be recognized by the people who I hold in such high regard, who are working for our kids and for our education system," she said. "To be elected to be their representative and the face of the association is such an honor."
Matthews started running for the position last fall, campaigning on a platform that promised to help teachers unite so they can make their voices heard on legislative decisions that affect education. She believes there is a disconnect between legislators and educators, and she is excited to begin working toward narrowing that gap.
"As a leader, I really hope to enact that mission," she said. "Part of that is engaging more members throughout our state and really try to work collaboratively with our policy makers, governor, legislative bodies and department of education."
Another focus will be elevating the profession of teaching so people throughout the state view it as a noble calling. She said the national teacher shortage is evidence that people don’t view it as a field worth entering. Giving thanks to teachers once a year during teacher appreciation week is not enough.
"The way we make teaching look attractive again is appreciating our teachers, not just with thanks but by increasing their salaries and making the working conditions better for kids and teachers," said Matthews, who served as president of the Park City Education Association from 2009 to 2012.
Despite all that Matthews is eager to accomplish, her election does come with one bittersweet aspect. She will be leaving her post as Treasure Mountain’s librarian, a reality that is "hitting her hard."
"I’ve spent 26 years with young people, and I think that’s something that is going to take some adjustments," she said. "I might have to come back here and get a kid fix, for sure."