2009 board of directors elections
REGION 5 / SOUTHEAST
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
Brenda Gorsuch, MJE
West Henderson High School, Hendersonville, North Carolina
Brenda W. Gorsuch, MJE , is the Southeast Region representative for the Journalism Education Association board. She has been the Wingspan newspaper adviser and journalism teacher at West Henderson High School in Hendersonville, N.C., since 1983 and the Westwind yearbook adviser since 1989. Gorsuch is active in scholastic journalism as a summer workshop presenter and convention speaker. She served four years as the chairperson of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association executive committee and two terms as president of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Advisers Association. In 2004, she was named the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Statement of Goals:
After serving on the JEA board, I am even more convinced of the importance of our organization. Through its publications, bookstore, commissions, listserv and conventions, JEA is doing an excellent job, and our new mentor program has tremendous potential to help keep good advisers in the classroom.
Of course, there is more that we could be doing. We need to find new and better ways to support journalism teachers and publication advisers while we continue to be a strong voice for the First Amendment rights of students. We need to make every effort to reach out to new advisers and convince them to join us. We have many challenges from the No Child Left Behind legislation to increasing threats of censorship to the constant pressure for ever deeper budget cuts.
Through my work with state and regional scholastic press associations, I have become convinced that JEA must take the lead role in making sure the needs of journalism teachers and publication advisers are being met. Scholastic press associations need the support of JEA from its national perspective. Finally, we must continue our efforts to convince the professional media and colleges of journalism that their support for scholastic journalism and student press rights is essential. We need to examine the association’s goals in light of the problems currently faced by the professional print media. We are well-equipped to prepare young journalists for a world of new media as well as a new generation of media consumers.
REGION 6 / MID-ATLANTIC AND GREAT LAKES
Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Loudoun Valley High School, Purcellville, Va.
Martha Akers, the 2005 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, has been advising yearbook and teaching photojournalism at Loudoun Valley High School for 29 years. Her students’ yearbooks have been recognized at the state and national levels. The Saga has received NSPA’s Pacemaker, CSPA’s Gold Crown and VHSL’s Trophy on numerous occasions. Akers, who speaks at and directs conventions and workshops nationwide, has received CSPA’s Gold Key, NSPA’s Pioneer Award, VHSL’s Lifetime Achievement Award, VHSL’s Torch Award and SIPA’s Distinguished Service Award. Most recently, she was inducted into the VHSL Hall of Fame in October 2008. She has also been inducted into OIPA’s National Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame. In 1999 she received JEA’s Distinguished Yearbook Adviser Award. A contributor to various scholastic journalism publications, Akers co-authored CSPA’s Scholastic Yearbook Fundamentals and the CSPA yearbook critique
Statement of Goals:
For over 30 years, since I was in the high school yearbook adviser’s English 8 class and volunteered to help with the eighth grade people pages in the book, scholastic journalism has been a major part of my life. Actually, at that time it was the “annual” that captured my attention and as it evolved into the journalistic products we know as yearbooks today, I grew enthusiastic over the place it can hold in student lives and in school curriculum.
That enthusiasm, combined with the character that publications students and advisers develop, and reveal, through their work and the characters the profession attracts have held my attention all of these years. As a student, and later as an adviser, working with publications in Virginia, I learned from some of the best scholastic journalism has had to offer. And the lessons extended beyond what was needed to help students create solid journalistic products. Some of the most important ones involved giving back to the scholastic journalism community, helping to keep it strong so students and advisers would continue to thrive.
Realizing that for scholastic press associations to remain strong and to thrive they need active members, I’ve committed myself to working with local, state and national scholastic press organizations as much as possible over the years. From serving on the board at Columbia Scholastic Press Association and working on Scholastic Yearbook Fundamentals, to serving on the Virginia High School League Scholastic Publications Advisory Committee and directing our state conference for approximately 10 years, I’ve represented advisers from across the country in various forums. And, if you believe I can stand for you well, then I hope to continue that work by representing you on the JEA Board.
Tom Gayda, MJE
North Central High School, Indianapolis, Ind.
Tom Gayda is the director of student publications at North Central High School in Indianapolis. In addition to advising, he writes a regular blog about First Amendment-related issues at indystar.com. Gayda is chair of JEA’s Scholastic Journalism Week and a member of JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission. He has been honored as a 2008 Graduate of the Last Decade at Ball State University, a distinguished adviser by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and Adviser of the Year by the Indiana High School Press Association. Gayda serves as editor of Blend Magazine, a publication produced in a joint effort between Ball State and NSPA geared to student journalists. Gayda has attended 27 of the last 28 JEA/NSPA conventions where he has judged at more than half of those conventions and presented or been a panel member of dozens of sessions. He has instructed at several summer workshops.
Statement of Goals:
Involvement with JEA is nothing new to me. As chair of Scholastic Journalism Week and a member of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission, I have been an active participant in an organization that is so meaningful to so many people. At this time, I would like to continue my involvement as regional director.
These are exciting and scary times in the journalism world. The professional media is suffering with the economy and forcing print publications to overhaul the way they operate. Student publications are competing with Web sites like Facebook that are forcing young journalists to figure out how to best reach their audience. JEA will soon need to address these issues as we are guaranteed to see a major evolution in our world soon. How can the organization best help advisers who will have to evolve? That’s a fun discussion I want to have.
It will also be important to remain committed to First Amendment education, be it of students, advisers, administrators or communities. An adviser protection law like California has adopted is a step in the right direction. We must take that success and find ways to replicate it across the country. No student or adviser should fear negative repercussions for practicing responsible journalism. Clearly, JEA needs to be leading the charge in standing by our advisers and helping educate those folks who do not value the First Amendment like we do.
I hope my track record speaks for itself. I am committed to scholastic journalism and helping my fellow advisers. I am willing to fight for any member as needed. I will effectively communicate with members of the region to make certain their voices are heard by the JEA board.
Dexter High School, Michigan
Rod Satterthwaite is the newspaper adviser at Dexter (Mich.) High School. He is past president of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and coordinates MIPA’s mentor program for new advisers. He also teaches a journalism course at Washtenaw Community College and a summer course for advisers at Michigan State University. In addition he teaches at MIPA and Ball State’s summer journalism workshops and is part of the SPLC’s Steering Committee. Satterthwaite’s students have won CSPA Crowns, NSPA Pacemakers and The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for distinguished reporting on the plight of the disadvantaged. He has been a teacher for 20 years and an adviser for 16.
Statement of Goals:
One of the best things I’ve done as an adviser is get involved in JEA. The opportunities it offers advisers is unmatched. So I think it’s time for me to try to give back to an organization that has given so much to me and, by extension, my students. Region 6 has strong advisers and strong journalism programs, and I would be honored to serve as its director.
One of my goals would be to try to spread the gospel of JEA to the unconverted. There are many advisers in our region who either aren’t aware of the services JEA offers or don’t think they would benefit from JEA membership. We need to increase the recruiting effort in our region to help strengthen it and JEA.
If elected regional director, I’d also like to use this position in combination with my position as a new member of the SPLC’s Steering Committee to help states in our region introduce student press freedom legislation. Strong student journalism flourishes in a free, open society and dies in a repressive atmosphere of fear. If every state in Region 6 could introduce and pass such legislation at the state level, we could take a giant step forward for our students’ freedoms and the future of scholastic journalism.