Piggott Teachers Present at NAEA

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Dr. Jon Wellman at the NAEA conference.
courtesy photo

Jon Wellman, Piggott High School alternative education teacher, and Karen Coomer, a PHS mathematics teacher, presented at the 24th annual National Alternative Education Association Conference last month.

Wellman and Coomer were among 11 Arkansas state representatives at the conference, held the first week of March in Dallas, Tex.

The theme of the conference was “Joining Hands Toward One Destiny.” For their presentation, Wellman and Coomer focused on leading and developing successful alternative schools in their presentation “Heroes of the Trade, Building State Association Support.” Their presentation concerned building relationships with state associations in order to gain support for education and students throughout alternative education.

Wellman described the experience as a process he has personally gone through to become more outgoing and confident in presenting in front of others. The experience has also deepened his appreciate for alternative education, as well as the AE students for the work they have continuously put in. He comments that alternative education is “establishing a networking community of leaders” through the alternative education system.

Coomer noted that, through conferences, they are able to learn new ideas as well as meet with a broader national group of people. She commented on the ability to gain new perspective on the education process between the states, noting it has pushed her to think outside the box to bring fresh ideas back to her classroom. She mentions that she always tries to take at least one thing away from the conferences. This time, the one thing that stuck in her mind was this quote during another speaker's presentation- “As a teacher, you are a human too. But remember, even on your worst day, you may be the best thing for a student, you may be some child's best hope.”

Coomer noted this sentiment gave both her and Wellman even more motivation to continue striving for the best for their students.

The two commended other speakers for their ability to open minds and emotions, and offer motivation to continue, “pounding the pavement,” as Coomer explains.

The meeting also had another positive, as through this experience, the two were also able to learn about other conferences which pertain to alternative education.

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