My Turn: Philip LeClerc

Philip Leclerc, computer technician at Calvert County Public Schools and member of the Calvert Association of Educational Support Staff (CAESS).

I’ve been working in the technology field for 21 years. I started working for Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) as a computer techni­cian in July 2007 when my wife and I, both graduates of CCPS, decided to move back to the county to raise our children. Early on in my career, my main job function was to replace older equipment with donations. While I was not working directly with kids at the time, I felt the improvements we made directly impacted success in the classroom.

I’ve always believed that communication is the key to success, and I have a great rapport with the staff and students. As a computer technician, you work behind the scenes and sometimes don’t realize the impact you have on staff and students. I’ll always remember the time I was leaving a school and as I approached my car a first grader asked me if I was the computer guy. I said yes and she gave me a big hug around my leg and said, “Thank you!” That’s when I realized I was making a difference.

“As a computer technician, you don’t always realize the impact you have on staff and students.”

— Philip Leclerc, Calvert County

In 2017, I met our then-new UniServ Director Mike Spahr during the CAESS Professional Development Day. That’s when I knew I needed to become a member. After a few years of not being active in the union, our newly-elected president Stacy Tayman persuaded me to become my department rep. With Stacy and Mike’s leadership, I took on a more active union role in our department and membership grew to almost 100%.

As president, Stacy established a monthly newsletter and in it the topic of overtime and comp time was discussed. As the union rep for my department, I didn’t feel we were being compensated correctly for the number of hours we were working. I didn’t think filing a grievance was necessary, so instead I wanted to communicate my concerns with my immediate supervisor and director. I was nervous that there would be repercussions for standing up for what I believed was right. I was assured by Stacy and Mike that the union would support me. During this four-month period, I reminded myself that I was doing this for all CAESS members, not just my department. When it was all said and done, the entire overtime and comp time process was changed throughout the system.

When I look back on being recognized by that first-grade student, I am reminded of the impact we all can and do make with students, staff, and our fellow union members.

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