E. Oregon has new board member
OSEA members in eastern Oregon have new representation on the OSEA Board of Directors.
Anjee Young-Whitnah, a GED options coordinator in La Grande Chapter 24 was unanimously elected by the OSEA Board of Directors to fill a vacancy on the Board. She replaces Adrian Rodarte, who resigned to take a non-represented position with Hermiston School District. Young-Whitnah will hold the position until the OSEA Conference in June, where elections will be held for a full term.
Young-Whitnah has been involved with our union for eight years, after she was hired as an instructional assistant specializing in attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger syndrome. After a few years with the district, the La Grande chapter was seeking new leadership, and Young-Whitnah stepped up.
“I told (the president), ‘if you really need help I don’t have a problem helping you in the background with whatever you need,’” Young-Whitnah said. “The next day, every member had a ballot in their box listing me as co-president.”
Fortunately, her background prepared her well for being thrust into a leadership position representing fellow employees in meetings with the employer. She holds a master’s degree in criminal justice with emphasis in law, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, all from Kaplan University.
But as helpful as her education has been, Young-Whitnah said the key to being a good president is confidence and knowing your contract.
“And it’s about doing what’s best for the collective, not just one person,” Young-Whitnah said. “But I’d follow that with, ‘You got this!’”
Her stint as chapter president instilled confidence in her own abilities, she said.
“I learned how to take control of situations, where in the past I would have probably let somebody else handle it,” Young-Whitnah said. “Before, I had a little bit of inhibition, and I didn’t want to speak up either out of fear of offending someone or it coming off wrong.”
Young-Whitnah’s interests include community theater, where she worked as a stage manager for Elgin Opera House. That position entails many, many duties — “the stage manager runs the place during showtime,” she said.
Young-Whitnah lives in La Grande with her husband, Michael, and has five children: Jarin, 22; Jaina, 21, Caedra, 18; Alora, 16; and Qwynah, 8.