The ATPE Floyd Trimble Local Unit of the Year Award acknowledges local units’ efforts and accomplishments during the year. This year’s winners were honored during the virtual 2020 ATPE Summit.
Region 7’s Nacogdoches ATPE won the Local Unit of the Year Award for Local Units with 201–500 Members
, and 2019-20 President Roya Dinbali, a forensic science teacher at Nacogdoches High School, spoke to ATPE about how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted her local unit’s engagement and the most important thing educators can do for their profession.
How long have you been an ATPE member? Why did you choose ATPE?
I have no idea, but hopefully as long as I’ve been teaching! Why ATPE? Actually, I was bullied by a co-worker, and then my mentor teacher suggested that I should join ATPE or some other teacher organization. Once it was brought to my attention that I should join an organization, I did some research into different ones, and I saw all the benefits ATPE had to offer, plus the unsurpassed legal protection.* My choice was clear, and I obviously chose ATPE.
How has the pandemic shifted your role as an ATPE volunteer or as a local unit? Are there any recruiting strategies you’d like to share?
With the pandemic, my local unit officers and I have had to develop new, innovative ways to reach out to old members and to try to recruit new ones. As for myself, I am better at speaking to individuals in person because I am able to connect and explain in detail how ATPE is the best and clear choice. Also, I can share stories and have a Q&A session. Typically, my officers would have helped with signing up people as I spoke. But this year was definitely different, so we evolved.
Our new strategies included giving more promotional gifts with information attached about how important it is to have ATPE on your side and all the information you need to get signed up. We did participate in the new-teacher orientation by setting up a table full of information on joining ATPE, and we had a crew there to answer questions and help new teachers enroll. Another promotion we decided to do was at convocation. Even though it was done virtually, we still offered a door prize for one of the drawings that took place. The following couple of months, we did more promotional items and outreach, with flyers and gifts for all the campuses and various departments within our district. In August, we did Band-Aids with mini handouts that included an application along with a cute note to get us started. In September, we distributed water bottles with ATPE Koozies. We placed a flyer and mini newsletters that contained all the important enrollment information. We took all these goodies to each of the campuses and departments. We are continually trying to make every attempt to enroll new memberships. We are hoping these attempts to reach out to existing members and new members will generate an awareness of our commitment to be the best. We just want everyone to feel our presence even through these extremely difficult times. We are their voice.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love my KIDS. I love seeing them succeed, grow, learn, and overcome their challenges. No matter what they have been enduring or have endured in their past, I see them trying to be successful. Their willingness to explore and open their minds. I love when they come back to visit and tell me their stories. I also love how they keep in touch with me and how we’ve made a bond. This allows me to keep encouraging them throughout their journey of life. That’s when I know I’ve made a difference, not only academically, but also as someone who will continue to cheer them along the way.
What is the most important thing Texas educators can do for their profession?
VOTE! Get people in office who understand the importance of a solid education and the true expenses it takes for a student to succeed, not only funding athletics, but also ALL courses of study, and realizing the out-of-pocket cost teachers face and making those financial adjustments. Voting in the right and qualified candidates is the key to a successful district.
Share something fun about yourself.
I’m a perfectionist (yes, those of you who know me laugh because it’s a million times true). I take a great deal of pride into anything I get involved in or am a part of. I enjoy having success and helping those achieve it as well.
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*Eligibility, terms, conditions, and limitations apply. Visit atpe.org/protection to view important disclosures and complete details of the insurance policy. Staff attorney services are provided separate from the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Program.