Over 400 educators from across the state elected new officers for the 20,000-member Arizona Education Association (AEA) at the annual business meeting on May 6, 2016.
The delegates elected Mesa Education Association member Joe Thomas as president, Isaac District Education Association member Marisol Garcia as vice president, and Gilbert Education Association member Angela Philpot as Treasurer. The new slate of executive officers will take office on July 8, 2016.
Joe Thomas takes great pride in the work of the AEA and being a teacher. “When school employees come together through Association work, they are demonstrating their intent to create better public schools. The members of the Arizona Education Association lead from the values of fairness, equity, and respect.”
Thomas has been an AEA member since 1997 and in that time has served the Association in several positions, including AEA Vice President, AEA Board of Directors member, Mesa Education Association (MEA) vice-president, AEA Government Relations and Legislative Task Force chair, Finance and Revenue Committee member, and MEA site representative.
For the 19 years prior to becoming AEA President, Thomas has been a U.S. Government teacher at Skyline High School in Mesa.
Thomas believes a free public education system is important to the prosperity of our society.
“When we invest in public schools, we are reaffirming the belief that all of us are better when all of us are better.”
Thomas has served on Arizona State Board of Education Certification Advisory Committee since 2006 and was on the School District Redistricting Commission from 2005 – 2008.
Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma in 1995 and his master’s in adult education and distance learning from the University of Phoenix. Thomas was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He and his wife Valerie, a 5th-grade elementary teacher in Higley, have three children.
Marisol Garcia is an 8th grade social studies teacher at Isaac Middle School and currently serves as the Isaac District Education Association President. Angela Philpot is an Adult Education Supervisor with the Gilbert School District and a past president of the Apache Junction Education Association.