Amy Sweeney – Area Director
Robin Smith – UniServ/General Counsel
Stephanie Trotter – Assistant UniServ

We are in the home stretch! We have held our heads high and navigated our way through a difficult year doing what’s best for students all the while. Summer break will be especially welcomed this year as many of us are looking forward to traveling again which brings us to the first item:



To their credit, PAC management has created a working group consisting of Area, District, USAF PACOM personnel and the Association. We are meeting weekly to discuss everything RAT. Grateful for the time and attention to detail management is putting forth into making this process go as well as it can and to be as transparent as possible. As we all know, there are so many moving parts. For those of us in Japan, particularly outside the Kanto Plain, it’s trickier with having to ROM in Tokyo with the serious lack of available billeting. There are many options on the table and whether we can move ahead with any of them, for the most part, is a question of money. Even with the ETP (Exception to Policy) letter, the Patriot Express is not an option if commercial constructive costs to your HOR are lower. There is a per-diem committee researching whether per diem will be granted during ROM. If it is, the money that would be spent on the required ROM period, could allow for more travel options as the constructive cost of tickets plus per diem would be higher than the cost of a Patriot ticket and/or adding flights, direct buses, etc. to get folks home as quickly as possible. There is nothing set in stone yet. Host-nation requirements have to be factored in, too, and we know with COVID-19, things could change tomorrow, in June, in July or August. This might be the year to get your tickets through SATO as changes can be made without penalty. Per our Negotiated Agreement, we are permitted to purchase our own tickets, but please be aware that changing your self-procured tickets could result in additional costs that might not be reimbursed. More information to follow as soon as it becomes available.


Travel Plans: Response Required

Please click on the “Planning for Summer Travel” link your DSO sends in its summer packet if you plan to travel outside the country this summer. This is to get an accurate count of just how many seats might be needed on the Patriot Express (extra flights may be added), billeting and testing needs, etc. This is for those on both official and unofficial travel. If your itinerary is not yet finalized, you are asked to provide as much information as you can, leaving unknown sections blank. The more information our DSOs have, the better they’ll be able to assist.


COVID-19 Vaccines

We are happy to report that after some bumps in the road, here in the Pacific we are well on our way to all being fully vaccinated. Thanks to our presidents: Scott Milanovich, AEAO; Mike Adair, NEATA and Sharon Manuel, TEAK for working closely with their counterpart superintendents to make this happen.


COVID-19 Leave for Federal Employees

Federal employees suffering from COVID-19 or who are caring for an individual affected by the virus may be eligible for up to an additional 600 hours of paid family medical leave. We are currently awaiting guidance from DoDEA as to how employees may apply for this leave.


Area HCRC Election Results

Congratulations to Shawnette Mendiola our new Area HCRC! Shawnette will join the PAL (Pacific Area Leadership) at our May meeting. Prior to this election, our district HCRCs attended PAL meetings on a rotating basis. To be in compliance with NEA guidelines, we were required to elect an Area HCRC. Thanks to our district-election chairs: Lori Caldwell, AEAO; Mac Best, NEATA; Joan Oana, TEAK and to their election committees for their help in making this first-ever self-run Pacific-Area election happen. With no clear winner after the first round (51% of the vote), the ballot counting went to round-two preferential voting. Thanks, too, to Estell Darby and Teresa Snowden for stepping up.

Round One
Estell Darby – 164
Shawnette Mendiola – 238
Teresa Snowden – 144

Round Two
Estell Darby – 231
Shawnette Mendiola – 306


FRS Elections

One election over and it’s election time, again. Schools will hold FRS and FR elections. Each school may elect one FRS and one FR per every ten educators. Thanks to those who have served this year, those who will carry on doing so, and those who are ready to step up. Please contact your presidents and election chairs should you have any questions and/or need any help.


UniServ Notes from Robin

A new ruling by a panel of judges in the in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that NASA failed to justify putting one of its engineers on a performance improvement plan, or PIP. Santos v. NASA, No. 2019-2345, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 7147 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 11, 2021).

The ruling has wide-ranging implications, as agencies have never before been forced to establish cause for placing employees on a PIP at the outset.

The panel found that federal statute does mandate that agencies only issue improvement plans when an employee’s performance is unacceptable. The panel acknowledged that the court had not previously ruled whether an agency must justify the issuance of a performance improvement plan when it relies on one for a firing, but found agencies must do so going forward. Without such justification, the court said, “an agency could establish a PIP in direct retaliation for protected conduct and set up unreasonable expectations in the PIP in the hopes of predicating removal on them without ever being held accountable for the original retaliatory conduct.”

Agencies must now establish that the employee had unacceptable performance upon the implementation of the PIP as well as at the conclusion. 5 U.S.C. § 4302(c)(6).


Assistant UniServ Tips from Stephanie

For anyone thinking of retiring or separating next school year (2021-2022), remember to switch to 9-month (21pays) before the end of this school year.

If you are planning on retiring or separating this school year (2020-2021) and have not already done so, do so NOW!


Summer Programs

There are two (elementary and middle school) summer-school programs DoDEA hopes to offer. These programs should make it to the bargaining table at the HQ level this week. If FEA and DoDEA reach an agreement, more details will follow.


NEA Foundation Award

Each year, the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding educators. FEA, like all NEA state affiliates, may submit a single applicant for consideration.

Current FEA members interested in being considered for the 2022 Foundation Award may submit an application to FEA. Applications are due to FEA by April 21, 2021. To download application information, click here


Mark Your April Calendars

Monthly Holidays and Observances
Mathematics Awareness
Month of the Military Child
National Autism Awareness
National Poetry
School Library

Daily Celebrations
April 10th: National Siblings’ Day
April 11th National Pet Day
April 12th: Grilled-Cheese Sandwich Day
April 13th National Scrabble Day
April 14th School Librarians’ Day
April 17th Haiku Poetry Day
April 21st National Kindergarten Day
April 22nd Earth Day
April 26th National Pretzel Day


Three teacher haiku to celebrate National Poetry Month:

The pencil jar sits
Empty upon my table
Where are the pencils?

The weekend is here
It’s time to rest and relax
Except for grading

It’s almost Friday
The excitement is building
Wait! It’s still Tuesday?


Until the next update,