Spotlight Series: 2021-22 ATPE Doug Rogers Campus Rep of the Year Clarice Cross
Date Posted: 12/12/2022
The ATPE Doug Rogers Campus Representative of the Year Award acknowledges special ATPE volunteers who prove themselves essential to the continued growth and development of our grassroots organization.
Our award winners were announced at the 2022 ATPE Summit held July 6-8 in Grapevine, and in the category for local units/ISDs with 1,001+ members category, Clarice Cross was chosen for her outstanding work as a campus representative for Plano ATPE. She also represented Region 10 in the 2021 Leadership ATPE cohort and was elected to serve as Region 10’s vice president.
We caught up with Clarice to ask a few questions about what drives her and what she looks forward to as an ATPE leader.
What’s the most rewarding part of leadership?
I just have a passion for people. I love people. I love seeing people smile. I love seeing people laugh. I love seeing that expression of, “Wow, you really helped me!”
Whether it’s being able to help people because something's going on at work, or if they just want to be more involved, the different leadership positions that I've been in have given me more confidence in getting out there and getting people engaged with ATPE.
It's been awesome because I've met people from all over, especially going to the summit. I've met people from different areas of Texas through Leadership ATPE. Hearing their stories and their backgrounds, we were able to feed off each other, do projects with one another, and help each other with anything that we were struggling with on our own campuses. The more ideas you can get together, I think the better things become.
Can you share how you recruit members?
I put together a presentation showing the benefits of membership to show people that it's more than insurance. And I share my experience that I've had when I've used ATPE’s legal services.*
I just tell people the truth, and I share my honest story with them. I ask: “You have medical insurance, right? Car insurance? What about your job? You've invested all this time, all this money, whether you went to a university or you went through an emergency cert, how are you securing your job? Because all it takes is one person to have a false accusation against you. And what are you going to do?”
We had career days this year, and one of the presenters was a lawyer. He said he charges about $150 an hour, so I thought—one hour of a lawyer's time is nearly equal to my dues for a whole year. You do the math. So I just let people know that it doesn't hurt to have that protection, just in case. Because today, you just never know.
I also share the information about Teach the Vote and how I'm able to gather information that's unbiased and read for myself so I can be informed of what's going on.
And this summer, I used the ATPE discount hub. When our family was going to Disney, we were looking for affordable car rentals. When I compared other rates to ATPE’s, ATPE had the best rate. Really, that money's coming back to me.
What do you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out in your career?
I wish someone had reached out and talked to me about retirement. I wish someone had sat down with me and helped me figure out those forms that you fill out when you sign your contract. What should I put toward retirement? How do TRS and Social Security work together?
What do you most look forward to as an ATPE leader this year?
I’m really excited about the networking opportunities—the conventions, social gatherings, community service projects, and more.
We're also trying to figure out how can we pull in younger members—how can we grab their attention?
If we all come together and work together as a team, we're more powerful. We can increase membership and get members more engaged and advocating for their profession. And I want to work on bridging the gap between generations—between new and veteran teachers.I think overall, especially right now with the way that education is going, we have to come together. We have to talk to each other, support one another, and encourage each other as much as possible.
Congratulations to Clarice and all of the ATPE award winners and finalists!*Eligibility, terms, conditions, and limitations apply. Visit atpe.org/protection to view important disclosures and current program details. Staff attorney services are provided separate from the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Program.