CCEA is governed and directed by representatives elected by the members. Under the articles of its constitution, the Representative Council (composed of teachers selected by the members at each school) serves as CCEA's policy making body with its county-wide elected officers (Executive Board) administering the association's program activities.
Since 1957, the Collier County Education Association has served as the collective voice of Collier County's professional educators and as the community's staunchest advocate for the improvement of our district's public education system. Originally formed as an association for both teachers and administrators, CCEA began with less than 50 members paying but token dues. Today, CCEA has expanded with the growth of the school system and now represents more than 3,000 educators exclusive of administrators and supervisors. Its membership, though voluntary, annually accounts for about 75% of the total bargaining unit.
CCEA's office staff also is responsible for serving the classroom and office assistants within our school system represented by the Collier County Association of Educational Office & Classroom Assistant Personnel (CCAEOCAP). This means that the CCEA office at 6710 Lone Oak Boulevard in Naples is the service hub for more than 2,600 public school employee members in Collier County.
As the exclusive bargaining agent for all Collier County teachers and classroom-related educators, CCEA's bargaining team negotiates a comprehensive contract for its members. To the greatest extent possible, negotiations are conducted using a collaborative process with management. Our contract addresses the working conditions, professional rights, salaries and economic benefits of our members. CCEA's contract with the Collier County School Board generally is rated as one of the top five employee/employer agreements among Florida's 68 school districts. CCEA's bargaining team includes teacher members from the district’s elementary, middle and high schools, as well as the Walker Institute of Technology and alternative schools.
Research data for negotiations is collected from a wide variety of sources, including FEA, NEA, AFT and numerous professional and governmental agencies. CCEA views its members, however, as its most significant source in preparing for meaningful negotiations. Great effort is made to identify the members' needs and concerns prior to formulating contract proposals.
Employee Rights and Protection
The contract, once negotiated and ratified, represents the initial step in securing the rights of our members. Next is the administration of the contract. Without guarding the rights and privileges won at the bargaining table, a contract becomes little more than a well-organized document. Executive Director Jonathan Tuttle and Service Unit Director Lyle Farmar provide the members with professional advice and assistance in grievance processing and arbitration work. Through the association, CCEA members also have access to highly qualified, public sector labor attorneys. The level of assistance provided ranges from professional advice regarding personal leaves and preparation of assessment rejoinders to legal representation in termination cases.
Whether it be local school board members, legislators or governors, politicians control public education now more than ever. CCEA strives to build productive working relationships with our political decision makers. We also work to educate our elected officials regarding the needs of public school employees and students. We recognize the need to keep our members politically informed on matters that impact their classrooms. To that end, CCEA and CCAEOCAP have established TIGER (Together in Government & Education Reform).
TIGER participates in the political process by interviewing candidates for political office and actively campaigning for those who share our vision for public education. Annually CCEA, CCAEOCAP and TIGER send lobbyists to Tallahassee to meet with Florida’s legislators. TIGER promotes letter writing and e-mail campaigns to communicate with our elected leaders.
At the local level, members are invited to participate in TIGER’s monthly roundtable discussions with school board members and the superintendent. TIGER showcases our political action efforts with an annual legislative reception. Members are provided the opportunity to speak one-on-one with local and state government officials who participate in this forum.
TIGER relies solely on contributions from its members in order to continue political activism for public education. CCEA members are encouraged to support and participate in this vital process.
CCEA recognizes that its strength is firmly rooted in the efforts of its members who join on a voluntary basis. To maintain an informed leadership, educational opportunities are provided for our elected officers and faculty representatives. We do this through monthly meetings and in special conferences and assemblies sponsored by CCEA, FEA, NEA or AFT. Training in such areas as community relations, contract administration, negotiations, political campaigning and school improvement projects keeps CCEA a responsive and viable organization.
The Collier County Education Association understands that quality professional development and high standards are key components for teachers’ success in the classroom. CCEA has actively supported the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and Educational Research and Dissemination (ER&D).