Proud to Belong

One WVEA Generation to the Next

July 11, 2022

As the 2022 school year comes to a close, the excitement grows for student teachers like Jessica Schultz who are getting ready to walk across the stage at graduation. Jessica, who is from Ohio County, will be certified to teach math grades 5-12 and media. Since Jessica received a grant through the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Program, she will be looking to obtain a teaching position within the state of West Virginia. Jessica hopes to teach in the same county as her parents. Both of her parents, Julie and Russ Schultz teach for Ohio County Schools and are also WVEA members.

(L to R) WVEA ODS Lisa Summers, Julie Schultz, Russ
Schultz, Jessica Schultz, and Stephanie Brown celebrating
at the WVEA Graduation Party/Member Benefits event.

Moreover, Julie and Russ were recently invited to the WVEA Graduation Party/Member Benefits event by their WVEA Organizational Development Specialist Lisa Summers. The event was a way for current WVEA members to touch base with the student teachers in their respective building. At the same time, their daughter Jessica also received an email invitation from her university about the event. Julie and Russ asked Jessica to attend the event so she could see what WVEA has to offer their members. Jessica then decided to attend the WVEA Graduation Party/Member Benefits event with her parents. During the event, she learned that it is good to have the security and community that WVEA provides. Jessica plans to join WVEA upon receiving a teaching position in West Virginia. By Jessica joining the WVEA, this will be the start of a new family tradition for the Schultz family.

Read more about Julie and Russ Schultz:

Julie is a chorus director, theater director, and general music teacher at her school. She has been a teacher for 12 years. “I decided to become a music teacher when I was in sixth grade. In our general music classes, our music teacher had us do so many hands-on activities! That is when I discovered my passion for music,” says Julie. Her favorite thing about teaching is when “her students have that ‘ah-ha’ moment in the music classroom. My philosophy in music education is that everyone is capable of making music! I strive to give my students every opportunity to create music. Over the past 12 years, I have done grant writing and have been able to raise more than $100,000 for my classroom and my school!” she added. Julie has been a WVEA member since 2010 when she began teaching in Ohio County. “I joined WVEA to have the security and the community that being a member of WVEA offers. WVEA has helped me in situations where representation has been needed. I have also found that being a member of WVEA is beneficial in some unexpected ways, such as discounts on hotel rooms and rental cars when we go on trips as a family,” says Julie. She found out about WVEA from her husband Russ, who has been a member of WVEA since 1997.

Russ is an art teacher and has been teaching for 27 years. He was inspired by the artwork “Night, Death, and the Devil” by Albrecht Durer when he was in the eighth grade. “The artwork is about my two biggest passions, which are art and medieval history, and I wanted to know more about it. At that second, I knew that I was going to become an art teacher!” says Russ. He learned about WVEA from a fellow teacher at Ritchie Elementary in Ohio County when he first began teaching. Both Russ and Julie agree that WVEA is definitely worth being a part of and there are so many additional benefits to being a WVEA member!

WVEA provides you the resources and opportunities you, as an educator, need to succeed, both personally and professionally. To learn more about WVEA member benefits, go to wvea.org/memberbenefits.

Do you have a story we can feature in the TODAY? Email your ideas to Julia at jveres@wvea.org.