Linda Sieck, a 26-year teaching veteran was recently elected as Shawnee Mission NEA president.
She replaces Nancy Fritz, who is retiring in June after working 32 years for the district. Fritz encouraged Sieck to run for the position.
“She just believes in the school district and believes in teachers,” Fritz said. “She comes from the same frame of thought that I have.”
Fritz said Sieck is an excellent communicator and has a genuine passion for Shawnee Mission.
“She doesn’t hesitate to speak up and that’s good,” Fritz said.
Sieck has served on the Shawnee Mission NEA executive board for several years. She’s worked on contract negotiations and has learned to express her opinion as well as represent the opinions of others.
“I think that I can be an effective voice for the teachers in our district,” she said.
Sieck has been a teacher for 26 years including 23 at Shawnee Mission. She and her three children all graduated from SM East. Her mother, Mary Plumer Longley, was a nurse at SM North and SM South.
Sieck believes her experience in the classroom and on the executive board have prepared her for the role.
“I’m excited to work with Dr. Hinson and several new administrators. I feel like I’ve always been an advocate for children at the building level,” she said, adding that she’s ready to “to continue the collaborative relationship that Nancy has built and help to be a problem solver.”
Her only drawback in applying for the position was that it meant she had to leave her classroom at SM East.
“I just love that job,” she said.
The new position comes with immediate challenges including budget cuts, several new administrative changes and the on-going one-to-one MacBook roll-out.
While she acknowledged that budget cuts will be difficult, Sieck said she’s encouraged by the strong community and district support to preserve programs.
“It’s a desire and commitment of the people in our community to really support, in many ways, the best education and best schools they can,” she said. “I think in light of everything that’s going on in Topeka that that is very encouraging and strengthening for someone that our community is such a strong supporter of schools.”