Congressman Tom Petri is the 2014 recipient of the Friend of Education Award from the Republican Educators Caucus of the National Education Association.
Petri received the award from Caucus Chairwoman Davina Keiser of California, Midwest Caucus Chairman and Green Bay teacher E-Ben Grisby, and Caucus member and Wautoma teacher Pat Schmidt. Ron Martin, vice president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, was also on hand to thank Congressman Petri for his service.
The Congressman served on education committees at the state and national level throughout his career, and said he was proud to represent the people of his District on all issues, including the important role of public schools. “I really do think there’s a national and community interest in preparing people for citizenship,” he said.
“I’m so glad you’ve been committed to education,” Grisby said in presenting Congressman Petri the award.
“I’ve always appreciated that Congressman Petri has gotten to know us,” said Schmidt, who reflected on the Congressman’s school visits and invitations to listening sessions. “That’s been wonderful to us.”
“Being a good teacher is an art, it’s not one-size-fits-all,” Congressman Petri said. He said his hopes for public education in Wisconsin include mentoring for new teachers and harnessing technology to foster stronger ties with parents. “Parental involvement makes all the difference. The question is how to make sure the community respects teachers,” he said. “That seems to be the issue.”
Stepping away from his Congressional seat, Petri will leave a legacy of respect for public education and common sense decisions. With the next Sixth Distric congressman to be determined by the results of the November 4 General Election, Petri said of whoever it is, “I hope he takes education seriously and puts the time in to understand.”