2011 board of directors candidate statements
Region 5, Southeast
Brenda W. Gorsuch
Brenda W. Gorsuch, MJE, is the current Southeast region representative on 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. Her publications have received NSPA Pacemaker and CSPA Gold and Silver Crown awards. 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 2002 Gorsuch received the JEA Distinguished Yearbook Adviser award, and in 2004 she was named the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. In addition to her other duties as a JEA regional director, Gorsuch has served on the board’s membership and membership retention committees and has assisted with the high school journalist of the year judging.
Statement of Goals:
When I first ran for regional director for Region 5, my goal was to find new ways for JEA to partner with advisers in state and regional scholastic press associations. I had served on the NCSMAA board and the SIPA executive committee, and I felt that the relationship needed to be expanded and strengthened. The serious issues facing scholastic journalism and publication advisers required a more united effort.
I believe JEA has taken significant steps toward this goal. I supported the creation of the mentoring program as one way for state and regional associations to partner with JEA, and after the mentoring program was in place, I actively worked through our state and regional organizations to bring Region 5 into the mentoring program. Currently, we have mentors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. I would like to work to identify ways to add Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida to the list.
I also supported JEA’s new membership initiative as a way for the association to work with advisers in state and regional organizations to increase membership at all levels. I am currently working with the Region 5 state directors to award the 100 free memberships I was given as well as to encourage our current members to give their free memberships to advisers who can benefit from participation in JEA. I have encouraged the Region 5 scholastic press association directors to include JEA as an option on their membership forms.
I would like to bring a JEA/NSPA convention back to the Southeast. It has been too long since the conventions in Atlanta and Nashville. I would like to work with the Florida Scholastic Press Association and the JEA membership in the Southeast to bring the convention to Orlando.
After serving on the JEA board, I am even more convinced of the importance of our organization. JEA is doing a good job, but there is much more that we could be doing. As we move through the transition to a new executive director, I would like to work with the board to develop a strategic plan to guide our future efforts. Improvements to the JEA website need to be included in that strategic plan along with expanded membership initiatives and enhanced support for teachers facing First Amendment challenges. With an increased membership, JEA can take a lead role in making sure the needs of journalism teachers and publication advisers are being met.
Jeff Moffitt, MJE, teaches journalism and advises both yearbook and newspaper at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. A graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Journalism and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education. In 2007 he was Olympia High School’s Teacher of the Year and was a JEA Rising Star and in 2010 he was A Special Recognition Adviser. He is the District 3 Director of the Florida Scholastic Press Association. His students have won top state and national honors for both publications. Moffitt uses his summers to teach at workshops and grow as an adviser and educator by working with students and colleagues. He says the best part about advising is seeing his students succeed outside of high school, regardless of their career paths.
Statement of Goals:
I attended my first JEA convention as a high school freshman. Before that I had no idea what the journalism world had to offer. I was immediately hooked. Overnight I went from someone who just wanted to “be” in the yearbook to a reporter who wanted to tell compelling stories. I distinctly remember how my perspective changed just from being surrounded by other students who were also interested in journalism.
Several years later, I attended my first convention as an adviser and discovered untapped support and camaraderie that continues to help me improve as a teacher and adviser today. These experiences make me committed to scholastic journalism and drive me to pursue a position on the JEA Board.
One of my goals is to continue to give back to scholastic journalism because it has provided me with so many opportunities. I want to see other advisers and students get involved and improve scholastic journalism throughout the country, especially in the Southeast Region. There is so much unrecognized potential in these states and I would like to help promote the excellent work that is happening here.
I also hope to see an increase in membership and a rise in the number of advisers achieving CJE and MJE status. I believe that this is one step in building more credibility in our programs as they face cutbacks. In addition, advisers that feel connected to the journalism community are more likely to continue teaching and advising, which further enriches
Region 6, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes
Meghan Percival, CJE, has advised the Clan yearbook at McLean High School in McLean, VA for 12 years. Her staffs have earned Pacemaker, Crown and Trophy Class ratings and in 2004 The Clan was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame.
She was an active member of the local committees for the JEA/NSPA Washington, DC conventions in both 2003 and 2009, serving as the local write-off co-chair in 2009. Percival has helped to update and revise the journalism and photojournalism curriculum for Fairfax County’s 26 high schools. As a teacher at summer workshops and a judge for NSPA, CSPA and state press associations, she enjoys the opportunity to work with publications staffs and to help them improve. In 2005, Percival received The Douglass S. Freemen Award from the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers in recognition of her contributions to the Commonwealth’s publications and to journalism education.
Statement of Goals:
While every publications staff is unique, we face many common challenges: keeping up with rapidly changing platforms for gathering and sharing the news, recruiting a diverse group of students for our staffs, ensuring our programs stay afloat in these tough economic times and educating administrators about student press rights. These are just a few of the obstacles that confront us as advisers. But in the midst of all these struggles, we know that the work our students do matters. And I know that our greatest resource is each other. JEA members are gifted teachers and inspiring mentors who can also be an incredible sounding board when issues arise. Being a part of JEA means being part of this incredible community.
I was very fortunate to be introduced to JEA at the start of my advising career. JEA advisers in my region and across the country offered to share classroom materials and answered questions posted to the Listserv in just minutes. They helped me to plan my first field trip to a national convention with students. The encouraged me to get my CJE. They helped me to network with advisers from around the country. They got me involved in the planning of local, state and national workshops. All of these things have made me a better teacher and adviser while also improving the learning experiences for my students. It will be my goal as a regional director of JEA to make sure all advisers in my region know about this incredible network of support and the wealth of resources available to them with their JEA membership.
With state directors, I will work to promote membership and develop programming in the region that is responsive to the needs of our members, with a particular emphasis on exploring ways we can better support student press rights. I know that I am lucky to work in a district that has an anti-Hazelwood policy and I am ready to work with others to make sure districts that currently operate as open forums continue to do so and that student journalists and their advisers who face administrative issues have the support they need.
I have received so much as a JEA member; I now look forward to the opportunity to give back.
Rod Satterthwaite is the newspaper adviser at Dexter (Mich.) High School. He is Special Projects Chairperson for the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and sits on the advisory council steering committee for The Student Press Law Center. He is also is a part-time journalism instructor at Washtenaw Community College and a teaches a master’s level course for advisers at Michigan State University. In addition he teaches at summer workshops at Michigan State, Ball State and The University of Kansas. Satterthwaite’s students have won CSPA Crowns, NSPA Pacemakers and The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He has been a teacher for 22 years and an adviser for 18.
Statement of Goals:
One of the best things I’ve done as an adviser is get involved in JEA. The opportunities it offers advisers are 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. The new free membership initiative is a great start. Once these advisers have been members for two years, however, we should continue to work to show them why they should stay JEA members.
If elected regional director, I’d also like to use this position in combination with my position as a member of the The Student Press Law Center’s Advisory Council 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.