Burns Heads Up OTA For 2017-18 School Year

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By TERESA HAMMOND tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com

Keith Burns isn’t new to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Now en­ter­ing his 30th year as an ed­u­ca­tor, the re­cently elected Oak­dale Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent is ready for this next task at hand. Well, as pre­pared as one can be when tak­ing on such a role.

As a past OTA Site Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, as well as mem­ber of the ne­go­ti­at­ing team, Burns was fa­mil­iar with the com­ings and go­ings of OTA, as well as the im­por­tance of teacher vol­un­teers.

“Unions are im­por­tant be­cause there’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and teach­ers,” he said. “The unions can help fa­cil­i­tate prob­lems be­tween them. Also sup­port­ing teach­ers in other ways.”

Now in his 12th year as a teacher with Oak­dale Joint Uni­fied, Burns shared he first be­came in­volved with OTA shortly after achiev­ing ten­ure with the district nine years ago. He’s been an ac­tive mem­ber ever since.

He was of­fi­cially elected into the 2017-2018 role in late May, after serv­ing sev­eral months as­sist­ing past Pres­i­dent Lance Camp­bell, who was di­ag­nosed with ALS ear­lier this year.

Dur­ing the sum­mer Burns at­tended a four-day lead­er­ship con­fer­ence hosted by Cal­i­for­nia Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. It was an ex­pe­ri­ence he de­scribed as both in­for­ma­tive as well as over­whelm­ing.

“There’s a lot of meet­ings,” Burns ac­knowl­edged of his new role. “I knew it would be busy, but I wasn’t quite aware of how busy. There’s al­most some­thing to do ev­ery day.”

The vet­eran teacher rec­og­nizes

the im­por­tance of proper com­mu­ni­ca­tion among mem­bers, as well as district ad­min­is­tra­tors. It’s a re­spon­si­bil­ity he doesn’t take lightly. He also rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of of­fer­ing fo­cus to the mem­bers as they look for­ward to mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact in their re­spec­tive roles as ed­u­ca­tors.

For the 2017-2018 school year Burns has set the fo­cus to two things: stu­dents be­ing the fo­cus of all they do and pro­fes­sion­al­ism and em­u­lat­ing this in all ar­eas of what they do.

Per­son­ally the OTA Pres­i­dent also in­tends to aid teach­ers in un­der­stand­ing many of the ben­e­fits of­fered them by the union.

“Help­ing peo­ple to un­der­stand the ben­e­fits the union brings to them,” he said of his mis­sion. “There are many peo­ple that are un­aware of those ben­e­fits.

“One of the big­gest mis­con­cep­tions, I think is that peo­ple think a union will al­ways be there,” he con­tin­ued. “A union is only there be­cause some­one stands up to be a Pres­i­dent or a site rep. So peo­ple think if I ignore it, it will still be there. That’s not re­ally true. Also a union is only as strong as its mem­bers level of par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

For­tu­nately for Burns, OTA mem­bers are both ac­tive and in­volved. Some­thing Burns sees as a true ben­e­fit to the strength of the union as well as the district over­all.

As for his 12 years as an Oak­dale ed­u­ca­tor and the dozen years he’s spent at Fair Oaks El­e­men­tary, Burns cred­its that to the peo­ple he is sur­rounded by.

“What I en­joy most is the won­der­ful peo­ple I get to work with,” he stated. “I know that sounds cliché, but it’s ab­so­lutely true.”

TERESA HAMMOND/THE LEADER

OTA Pres­i­dent and Fair Oaks sixth grade teacher Keith Burns was elected into the union po­si­tion for the 2017-18 school year.

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