WRS News Online

Teachers: Consider Serving on Board

Patrick Phair photo
Patrick Phair

by Patrick Phair, Teachers Retirement Board member

Editor’s note: Mr. Phair has served on the Teachers Retirement Board since 2006. After his term expires in May 2016, he will no longer be eligible to serve as an active teacher member of the board. He encourages all eligible teachers to consider serving on this Wisconsin Retirement System governing board. Here is a link to the current TR Board roster.

Being a member of the Teachers Retirement Board is an honor and an enriching experience. Working with fellow teachers and trustees from throughout the state to keep the pension program strong and viable for future generations may seem daunting at first, but the reality is the Wisconsin Retirement System is in great shape.

Thanks to the vision of the WRS founding fathers and the courage of board members who followed in the last half century, the WRS ranks among the top five in America in terms of security and the ability to honor long-term commitments to its retired members and (this is where you and your colleagues come in) working members as well.

Many teachers in this country have real concerns about whether there will be money in the pension system for them when they retire – not in Wisconsin! As an elected board member you can learn as well as help disseminate the financial information about our pension system and in so doing become a strong advocate for the well-being of all public employees.

The elected term for Teachers Retirement Board members is generally five years and, quite honestly, it takes a year or so to learn the details of the system. But once the honeymoon is over, elected board members have every opportunity to discuss, question, defend, and offer new ideas to keep the WRS among the elite public pensions in America. Whether you have a degree in economics or English, teach gifted and talented or children with cognitive disabilities, any working teacher can apply and become a contributing member to the Teachers Retirement Board and I encourage each of you to consider doing so.