The Garden City Education Association is seeking nominations for a new president ahead of its current leader’s retirement at the end of this school year.

After 34 years with the district and six years as GCEA president, Alta Brown Elementary School music teacher JoAnn Mangan is retiring, bringing her time in both positions to a close. She will not put her name on the union’s ballot this year.

“JoAnn has been an effective leader and member of the GCEA. I have enjoyed working with her and appreciate her focus on helping teachers improve their practice and profession,” USD 457 Superintendent Steve Karlin said in an email.

Any GCEA member is eligible to be nominated or nominate themselves for any union leadership position, which are re-elected annually, Mangan said. Members will gather nominee and incumbent names for the ballot at a 4:30 p.m. Thursday meetinug in room 108 at ABES, she said.

Until then, any member is welcome to email their nominations to Mangan at or GCEA Membership Chair Dalana Billinger at Non-members also can contact either woman to become members before throwing their hat in the ring, Mangan said.

The union will elect leadership through a majority vote shortly before the district’s spring break begins on March 11, Mangan said.

“I want other people to make sure that they are able to put their name on the ballot, and hopefully we can fill a ballot,” she said.

The role includes being an advocate for teachers, standing up for those that feel they do not have a voice and being proactive about problems or possible problems in the district, Mangan said.

As president, Mangan said, she assists members who are having trouble communicating with superiors, working with parents or getting support from the district. She works with Karlin to “stave off problems before they become a problem and speaks up for teachers who feel they are being retaliated against for their opinions or input, she said.

Mangan serves on several district committees to ensure GCEA representation and attends Kansas National Educational Association and National Educational Association representative assembly meetings. This year, the newly elected president will attend the national meeting in Houston near the beginning of July.

The job takes diligence, honesty and a passion for education, Mangan said. A president needs to be able to talk to anyone in “any way they need to be talked to” and capable of uncovering all the facts of a situation, she said.

“Sometimes people do need to say ‘You’re wrong and you need to straighten up,’ and sometimes that takes care of it. And I don’t have a problem with saying ‘I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.’ But I will also fight tooth and nail for a person, too,” Mangan said.

Mangan said she planned on nominating GCEA Vice President Gilbert Perea, to whom she said people had responded positively throughout his term.


Contact Amber Friend at