Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Presidential Q&A: Val Kibler, 2003-present

Val Kibler, JEA president 2023-present

For Val Kibler, JEA’s current president, getting involved in scholastic journalism in 1993 made her life as a classroom teacher better, and that’s what she hopes her term as president will do for others.

How did you get started in scholastic journalism?

It was in 1993. My principal said if I took over the school newspaper, I could have my own classroom. I had been moving from room to room for five years. I knew nothing, but man, I wanted that room.

How did getting your own classroom lead to JEA involvement?

I served on Virginia’s board and as Virginia’s JEA State director. That was my first involvement (aside from taking kids to conventions).

I was asked to serve as the local chair for the 2009 convention in Washington, D.C., which was one of the best professional development activities I ever participated in.

I was serving on NSPA’s board of directors when people suggested I consider running for a JEA office. I had been one of the initial JEA Curriculum developers for the leadership module, which let me get to know a lot more about the organization and its people.

What did JEA involvement mean to your program and your career?

The more and more involved I got, the more my program grew, the more confidence my students gained and the more I knew it was important to give back and get more folks involved in our organization.

What have you enjoyed most about JEA involvement?

There have been SO many! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Partner Projects I’ve worked with and board retreats we’ve held. I have loved making lifelong friends and becoming a part of a group that I can always count on, no matter how experienced they are. That makes us special and I’m so proud of being in a group of sincere members who always help each other out.

You are in the early stages of your term as president, what programs are you most proud of at this point?

I’m proud of a student credentialing system we’re developing to launch next fall and an endowment we’ve gotten off the ground and have our first large donations to.

How would you like to see JEA serving its members during your term as president?

Moving forward we need to keep the needs of advisers in the forefront. We must provide resources for all teachers across the country and make our organization much more accessible to the 33,000+ public high schools out there, and the private schools, and the middle schools, you get the idea. We must recruit more journalism teachers and fight to maintain media programs in our schools as well as get them added where they don’t exist.

What makes JEA stand out?

Our organization is so special in that it is dependent on a huge base of volunteers. Everyone can (and should) be involved in some programming we offer. The more you put into JEA and your membership, the more you’ll get out of it. I’ve been rewarded exponentially through my experiences with JEA and I want everyone to have that same sense of fulfillment.

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