Geis takes over as union president


Connor George

Geis poses for a picture. Geis was made president of the AAEA this year after the former president left.

Myah Lear, Reporter

Physics teacher Jason Geis took on the role of President of the Altoona Area Education Association (AAEA) earlier this year.

After being in the union for 12 years, Geis took over as president after former president Douglas Rosenberry resigned and left the district.

“I was vice president for eight years; I started off this term as vice president as well,” Geis said. “Then our president, Mr. Rosenberry, got a job working for Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and then because of the way the organization works, when the president moves on I assumed the title for the rest of this term.”

On top of being a teacher, he has responsibilities for the association.

“I run all of the meetings and things for the association; but more importantly, I am the contact person with teacher issues and the administration,” Geis said. “For example, if some teachers have a concern with something, they, instead of all the teachers going over and telling to the superintendent, would bring those concerns to me, and then I set up a meeting with the superintendent and discuss the issue with them. We can reach a mutual agreement on how to handle it….I am also involved in negotiating new contracts so when you get hired on a job you get hired under a certain contract and every so many years, we renegotiate that contract….My main thing is just being aware of issues that teachers are having then discussing those issues with administration and trying to reach a mutual understanding. Sometimes if we don’t reach an understanding, and if it comes to that, my job as president becomes a legal one in the sense that there is a legal process called a grievance process. It eventually goes to court to decide who’s right.”

Geis gets some time during school to do AAEA work as president.

“I have one period at the end of the day that is my association time, and that’s when we try to schedule any meetings with the administration,” Geis said.

Geis has expressed feelings that the job took some getting used to.

“I am a lot busier than I was,” Geis said. “There is a lot going on and it takes up a lot of time, but I’ve figured that out now so now it’s not as bad but the first couple of months we were pretty hectic trying to figure everything out.”

Geis has stated that he has goals he wants to achieve before the end of his term.

“My goals for this year are to get a contract ratified with something everyone can agree on and just to continue to make the union strong,” Geis said.

Geis has put time into preparing for his position.

“…As I said, I was vice president for eight years,” Geis said. “I have been involved with the union for twelve years now, so it’s mostly just through experiences and trainings. I go to a lot of trainings; I have a training coming up in Philadelphia.”

While preparing to become president and while being president, Geis has had a few people he considered mentors.

“Working under Mr. Rosenberry was big, and he was definitely a mentor,” Geis said. “Someone else I rely on greatly is Dr. Mike Lehmier; he’s the expert, so If I ever get a question that I’m not sure of, I get on the phone and ask Dr. Lehmier, ‘hey what do you think about this?’ and he gives me good advice.”

Since Geis was brought on after the previous president left, his current term will end in June.

“I am finishing up this term because, as I said, I was vice president and then when Mr. Rosenberry left, I was made president,” Geis said. “There is an election this April, and the way the election works is anyone that is interested can put their name in to be a candidate and once we have candidates to be president, there is an election online where everyone in the union can vote. It’s a majority vote. If I were to be reelected, or someone else would be elected, their term would officially start June 1. I will finish out the school year and the new person will come on in June.”