A farewell message from Chief Administrator Joel Pedersen

Joel Pedersen, CRAEA Chief Administrator

As I prepare to depart from my role as Chief Administrator at Central Rivers on June 30, I want to take a moment to reflect on the extraordinary journey we have shared. Though my tenure has been brief, it has been profoundly significant, coinciding with one of the most historical periods in the 50-year legacy of Iowa’s AEAs.

During this time, we have faced challenges that tested our resilience and determination. The passage of HF 2612 has initiated major changes within our system, setting us on a new path forward. This period of advocacy and teamwork, as we strived to preserve the integrity of our mission, stands out as one of the most meaningful experiences of my career.

I will forever cherish the memories of working alongside each and every one of you. Your commitment to supporting children, families, and educators is nothing short of inspiring. Although I am moving on, my belief in the strength and adaptability of our system remains and I will be rooting for all of you from my new chair as President at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). 

Thank you for your collaboration, your passion, and your unwavering support during my time as your leader. Central Rivers AEA is a special place with special people. It’s been an honor.

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2024 retirement celebration recording is now available

2024 retirees

The May celebration can be viewed online. Congrats to our retirees!

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Guidelines on outside employment & business ventures

As part of our commitment to maintain integrity and transparency within our organization, this is a friendly reminder about our policies regarding employee involvement in outside employment and business ventures, including the creation of private Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

Understanding Our Policy

Our organization prohibits the use of one’s position for personal financial gain unrelated to their responsibilities at the agency. This includes engaging in any form of solicitation or business activity that utilizes agency resources or information obtained through your position.

Specific Prohibitions Include

  • Use of Agency Resources: Engaging in any business activity, including those involving private LLCs, must not involve the agency’s time, facilities, equipment, or supplies. Nor should it leverage any documents or resources that are the intellectual property of Central Rivers AEA.
  • Performance of Duties: Any outside business activities must not interfere with your duties or involve services that fall within your role at the agency.
  • Conflict of Interest: Outside employment or activities that could conflict with your agency duties or benefit from your official role are strictly prohibited.

Actions Required

If you are currently engaged in or considering initiating a private business venture, such as an LLC, that might conflict with these policies, please contact Karl Kurt, Assistant Chief Administrator/Director of HR for guidance.

Depending on the nature of the business, you may be required to cease the activity or take adequate steps to ensure there is no conflict with agency duties or unfair advantage utilized from your position.

Why This Matters

These rules are in place to ensure that our work environment remains fair and that our agency operates without any undue influence or conflict. Adhering to these policies not only protects the integrity of our agency but also each employee’s professional reputation.

Please take a moment to review our full Conflict of Interest policy, and do not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor or our HR department if you have any questions or need clarification on specific scenarios. Your proactive compliance and understanding are appreciated as we continue to foster a transparent and ethical workplace.

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What’s new with INspired Leadership?

Central Rivers AEA wellbeing team logo

Updated two-day INspired Leadership Workshops

If you have yet to experience a two-day INspired Leadership Workshop or haven’t attended in the past three years, save the 2024-25 workshop dates and locations. Registration will be available soon in the new AEA Professional Learning Registration System. Year two staff are encouraged to attend the August 12 and 13 dates at the Cedar Falls office. Contact Dr. Leslie Moore with questions.

Summer coaching available to you

If you are interested in continuing or starting 1:1 core energy leadership coaching sessions through the summer via Zoom, you can schedule them through Google Calendar invitations. This Central Rivers AEA well-being benefit is available to support you to live the life you envision! If you have questions, email Leslie at lmoore@centralriversaea.org.

Micro-credential stipend deadline passed

For all of you who received notification that you earned either the 4 Key Mindsets or Awareness of Internal Energy micro-credential by June 3, congratulations again on demonstrating those key concepts and skills! Staff could receive up to $250 for earning one micro-credential this year, which would be in the June paycheck. The real goal of the learning is to enhance your well-being, so even if you missed the deadline, continue integrating the ideas into your life and notice what happens!

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The latest “Health Matters” podcast from Wellmark BCBS is available

The latest “Health Matters” podcast from Wellmark BCBS is available

Mental health conditions and substance use disorders can be costly. Not only for the individual experiencing the life-altering effects of the disease(s), but effective treatment can also be expensive. Because of this, employers are increasingly expected to offer comprehensive health benefits that support their employees’ mental and physical well-being. In this new video episode, Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® experts Cammy Jenkins and Dr. Matt Stanley shares how.

Wellmark has expanded mental health resources and how employers can help their employees gain access. Don’t have time for the whole episode? Select a chapter within the link to watch specific segments. Included in this episode:

  • The increased need for mental health resources (1:40)
  • Wellmark’s dedicated behavioral health team and their commitment to members (4:55)
  • Self-service mental health access on myWellmark® (10:40)
  • Additional resources available to employers and members (12:10)
  • Mental health vs behavioral health explained (14:05)
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Summer office hours are now in effect

2024 summer office hours are now in effect

Summer office hours went into effect on Monday, June 3 and offices will be open 7:30 am – 4:00 pm. A reminder to all Central Rivers AEA staff that all CRAEA offices will be closed on Fridays in June and July. Regular office hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm will resume on Monday, August 5. Enjoy your summer!

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