Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

Clarice Cross | Plano ATPE

The thousands of ATPE volunteers across Texas are the backbone of this association. Their hard work and dedication allow ATPE to serve the state’s largest community of educators. In this ongoing ATPE News series, we spotlight volunteers who set a great example of service to their fellow educators. NEXT UP: Clarice Cross, a science teacher at Schimelpfenig Middle School in Plano ISD, Region 10 ATPE vice president, and ATPE’s 2021-22 Campus Rep of the Year for local units with 1,001-plus members. 

Benefits of Volunteering 

Like many ATPE members, Cross first joined ATPE as a new educator at the urging of a mentor. But it was not until after she had to contact ATPE for legal assistance that she began to investigate the other benefits of membership.  

“ATPE helped me through the issue I was having with the administration, and then I begin to wonder, what other benefits come with my dues?” Cross recalls. “So I began to get more involved with my local unit, going to the meetings and social events.” 

Cross credits her involvement with ATPE for bolstering her leadership skills. She was selected for the Leadership ATPE program and has since become a campus rep and vice president of Region 10 ATPE. Her volunteerism has also helped her develop relationships with her colleagues, even the ones who are not members of ATPE.  

“When I came to Schimelpfenig, it was the COVID year,” Cross says. “So everyone was in their classrooms. No one was talking to each other. I felt so isolated. But I was a campus rep, so I was like, ‘I want people to know about ATPE.’ That really motivated me to begin talking to my co-workers and get to know them.” 

Keys to Recruiting Success 

When Cross is recruiting, she tries to emphasize the many benefits beyond professional liability insurance coverage* that make being an ATPE member so rewarding for her.   

“This year I asked our principal for a little bit of time at one of the beginning-of-the-year meetings and put together a Google slide,” Cross says. “It had information about the insurance but also answers to the question, ‘Why should I join ATPE?’ I got a lot of positive feedback from that slide because people said they didn’t know about those discounts or the service projects. I also showed pictures from the ATPE Summit and different social events that we’ve had here. I showed how ATPE has expanded my network, and we actually had new members join. There were even some who joined who were part of another association.” 

Cross doesn’t limit her recruiting to official presentations. From posting about ATPE discounts and events on display boards in faculty lounge areas, to sharing candy and ATPE information in her colleagues’ mailboxes, Cross is always looking for an opportunity to share the benefits of ATPE membership. She believes in trying different avenues to recruit new members.  

“I just try to find different creative ways to bring people in, whether it’s through prizes or just verbally talking to them,” Cross says. “Just like students have different learning styles, everyone has different things that pull them in.”