I first became involved with CUE only a few short years ago. At the time, I was still teaching in my special day class (special education classroom) and had seen a post on social media that CUE Los Angeles was having their affiliate board nominations. Again, at the time, I was still a newbie to social media and Twitter – but I had been noticing a trend: special education representation seriously lacked. I wasn’t seeing many special education teachers on social media…I was seeing even fewer at the conferences I attended…and even fewer than that being vocal about the world that is special education. I knew I wanted to change that.

So, I decided to “run” for the CUELA Board of Directors. I had no idea really what I was getting myself into – I just knew that I wanted to get involved, promote change, and get people talking. I wasn’t able to make it to Spring CUE 2018 for the live 60-second “candidate speech” I had to give about why I wanted to be on the board, I had to tape myself and submit a video (that would then be shown to the affiliate members). I probably taped myself 50 times before I was finally ok enough with the final version – which, admittedly, was NOT perfect.

I was notified a short time after Spring CUE that my nomination had been accepted and voted on and that I was one of three new board members to CUELA.

Since Summer 2018, I have served on the CUE Los Angeles Board of Directors. I’ve used my skills to help in my current role as their Communications Editor, helping connect the work we do with our affiliate members and the larger CUE community. Community outreach remains central to what we do as a local affiliate. 

Much of the affiliates’ work remains behind-the-scenes. Those that attend the affiliates’ annual conferences, PD opportunities, or CoffeeCUEs are often unaware of all the planning, preparation and “CUE magic” that goes into pulling these events off without a hitch.

Jason Seliskar, CUE’s Director of Affiliate Engagement, works closely with the affiliate leaders – supporting them with resources CUE provides for them, leadership and event planning – and is seen across the state at annual affiliate events, supporting his teams. Seliskar has worked in his current role for three years and works with the affiliates, making sure that affiliates’ voices are heard and are supported under CUE’s new Strategic Plan.

Seliskar states this of his work with the affiliates, “Our affiliates and their leadership plan events, workshops, socials, and other engaging opportunities for you to attend all year long. They meet monthly either in the evenings or on weekends in various locations to strategically plan the needs of their members. Most importantly, this is where you connect with like-minded educators, friends alike that fill your bucket and inspire you.”

Affiliates also have a direct line to the broader CUE organization through the CUE Board of Directors. Each affiliate is assigned a liaison – a Board Member that works directly with their assigned affiliate groups throughout the year – and is another step in the process of making sure the affiliates feel supported by the organization. 

One of our current Board Members, Veronica Godinez, a principal for Pomona Unified School District, offers her support and guidance to the CUE Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley CUE affiliates. She states, “I enjoy serving on the CUE Board of Directors. It allows me to directly connect with our members and serve a passionate group of educators.”

Jon Corippo, CUE’s Chief Learning Officer, in conjunction with CUE staff, works closely with the affiliates in bringing CUE to more educators. He says this of the affiliate groups:

“CUE Affiliates are where SO many teachers maximize their impact – it’s beautiful because it’s like a perfectly balanced give-take relationship; the more you give the more you get! CUE Affiliates allow educators (teachers and admins) to design professional learning and events that feed their souls, creating and customizing events outside the normal boundaries of their workplace. And CUE members are all the better for it.”

CUE has become so much more than just an EdTech organization for me. The affiliate leaders, my fellow CUELA Board of Directors, CUE staff, our liaison, and the wonderful educators that I have met through the affiliate events and conferences are more than just acquaintances – they are my PLN, my EdTech peeps, my family. Through them and with them, I feel that we have the power to influence change in our classrooms, at our schools, and beyond. 

For more information on how to get involved with your local affiliate, visit the CUE Affiliates page at: https://cue.org/affiliates/

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.