Eau Claire middle school teacher Ron Martin has been elected president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the largest organization for educators in the state. And Marshfield High School English teacher Peggy Wirtz-Olsen has been elected WEAC Vice President.
As president, Martin will represent members of the state association – including preK-12 teachers, education support professionals, technical college instructors, aspiring educators in university programs and retired educators. The election took place over the weekend during the 94th WEAC Representative Assembly.
Martin, a social studies teacher and former president of the Eau Claire Association of Educators, has been an educator for more than 20 years. He is currently serving as WEAC Vice President and previously served as WEAC Secretary-Treasurer. He succeeds Racine teacher Betsy Kippers, who is retiring.
Martin is a longtime student council advisor for Eau Claire’s South Middle School and was the Altoona High School head volleyball coach for more than a decade as well an advisor for the Where Everybody Belongs orientation program for sixth-graders.
He has directed faith-based youth programs and ministries was a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Eau Claire United Way. He has been the president of the Eau Claire Patriotic Council for over a decade, spearheading Memorial Day celebrations and more in the area.
At the Representative Assembly, Martin told delegates he is honored to be elected WEAC President.
“Like you I believe wholeheartedly in the profession and what we do,” he said. “I believe in our union and the power we have to transform public education and to continue to serve as its guardians.
“The next leadership team of WEAC will have work to do, and that work is going to require a great deal of our time, and I know sacrifices will have to be made. I truly believe our organization will be a new exciting organization that represents the voices of tens of thousands of educators all across this state. We will be known all over this state as the premiere association of educators who advocate for a diverse democratic society and quality public education. We will be known by educators as the union that promotes and advances professional practice, personal growth, as well as the economic welfare and rights of our members.”
Both Martin and Wirtz-Olsen begin their terms on August 1.
Wirtz-Olsen is currently president of WEAC Region 2 in Central Wisconsin and a member of the Marshfield Education Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her master’s degree from Concordia University. Before teaching in Marshfield, she taught in Port Washington for 14 years.
As vice president, she will focus on strengthening the collective power of Wisconsin’s urban, rural and suburban public school and technical college employees.
“We can accomplish great things,” she said. “Our future can be brighter in Wisconsin. With more demands on educators’ time, we’re struggling to keep up with what’s best for students. We know what’s best for our children. These are our schools. These are our children. These are our communities. I want a brighter future for my school, my children’s schools and schools across the state of Wisconsin.”