TROY — Troy Junior High School mathematics teacher Nicki Bertke was recently approved as President of the Ohio Middle Level Association Executive Board.
The purpose of OMLA is to work to meet the needs of all Ohio middle level (grades 4-9) students and educators. It provides a venue by which middle level educators can share with one another new and innovative ideas to better serve the needs of middle level students.
“Excitement was my initial reaction,” Bertke said of finding out she had been selected as the organization’s president. “And then, as with any new opportunity, there were definitely some feelings of nervousness. Fortunately, I am surrounded by amazing educators at Troy Junior High School and on the OMLA board who I am able to learn from and who provide support and encouragement.”
There are more than 9,500 members of OMLA, which is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators (school and district level), university personnel, supervisors, parents, and pre-service teachers.
“Our primary purpose is to promote the middle-level concept and offer professional development opportunities for middle level educators,” Bertke said. “OMLA is important and helpful to teachers as it provides a means for teachers to teach teachers. Most all of our professional development opportunities are taught by practicing educators still in the classroom/school. We host an annual conference each year with about 900 educators in attendance; there are also smaller regional events around the state.”
Bertke is in her 17th year of teaching, all of which has been spent teaching math at Troy Junior High School. She became a member of OMLA her first year of teaching and started serving on the OMLA board as an associate representative for the west region in 2006. She has continued to serve in a variety of roles: associate representative, regional representative, secretary, president-elect and now president.
“Being part of an organization that understands the unique classroom needs of young adolescents is a joy,” she said. “I have learned so much while involved with OMLA and, as a result, my practice as a middle level educator is enriched year after year.”