Stephanie Winkler, a fourth- and fifth-grade science teacher at Madison County’s Mayfield Elementary School, became president of KEA on June 15. She was elected by delegates to the 141st KEA Delegate Assembly on April 4, and will serve a three-year term.
Lisa Petrey-Kirk, who has taught history and social studies for 26 years at Anderson County Middle School, was elected vice president also took office on June 15.
Winkler, who earned her teaching certificate from Eastern Kentucky University in 1996 and her master’s degree in 2000, has been teaching for 16 years. She joined the KEA Student Program while she was at EKU, and served as state KEA SP president during the 1994-1995
school year. She has served as president of the Madison County EA and of KEA-Central District. She now represents her district on the KEA Board of Directors.
Becoming KEA president “has been a professional goal of mine for many years,” Winkler said, and added, “I look forward to working with all KEA members and with the people of Kentucky to accomplish the educational goals of all our students.”
Winkler said, “KEA members are the only advocates fighting every day for public school employees as well as public school children. My first priority as KEA president is to make certain that people in every community in the state recognize that KEA is the preeminent voice for public education in Kentucky.”
Her internal goals for KEA, she said, include “improving communication with members and making it more interactive. We have to make it easier for members to communicate with leadership about what is important to them.”
Petrey-Kirk is president of the Fifth District EA and a member of the KEA Board but, she said, she “didn’t join the association until a few years in” and didn’t become active until almost ten years into her teaching career. She joined when she married Walter Kirk, a classified employee of the Fayette County and Anderson County school districts and one of the organizers and early leaders of Fayette County ESPA.
“I joined because it was expected of me,” she said, “but I ‘caught the bug’ and grew to love it because of Walter.” In addition to local, district and state positions, she also has served on the NEA Resolutions Committee and as Director of the Peace and Justice Caucus for the NEA Mid-Atlantic Region.
Walter Kirk died last summer after a long battle with chronic illness. Petrey-Kirk said the last conversation they had was about her election and, “I know he’ll be beside me every step of the way.”
Winkler defeated current KEA vice president Tom Denton and former KEPAC chair Mike Ross, of Mason County EA. Petrey-Kirk defeated Rick Jones, immediate past president of Boone County EA.