From the President's Desk - May 2016
Though I am sad this is my last entry as President of AASECT, I’m excited to look at all we have accomplished. The changes may not immediately be obvious to the membership, but the internal working of the Board, with our very active committees and management company, has had a wonderfully productive two years. EVERY committee has instituted change based on feedback from the membership and committee members. I’m especially sad to leave the Board, which has worked so collaboratively, carefully considering what would be best for the growth of AASECT and the promotion of sexual health in our somewhat sex negative U.S. culture.
I would love to list all of the volunteers who have generously given their time and energy to AASECT, but I fear I would omit someone. I hope you know who you are, and how much you are appreciated. You have given me the greatest gift, as we made changes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our organization. Thank you all!
AASECT: The Story
Since 1967 (next year is our 50th Anniversary as an organization) AASECT has been devoted to the promotion of sexual health by the development and advancement of the fields of sexual education, counseling and therapy. AASECT's mission is the advancement of the highest standards of professional practice for educators, counselors and therapists.
The story of the founding, and growth of AASECT is inextricably mingled with the story of Patricia Schiller, JD, MA, its founder. As the new field of sex education, counseling and therapy began to emerge, and the need for some kind of order and direction became more and more apparent. Patricia Schiller was motivated - with her wide background in social concerns and specialized training that qualified her as a professional and leader of professionals in this field, and the administrative experience, drive, and creative talent needed for undertaking the job at hand.
In September 1967, Patricia Schiller became the unpaid Founder & Executive Director of the American Association of Sex Educators and Counselors (AASEC), eventually to become the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). She and her husband devoted three rooms in their house to office space for the fledgling organization and loaned it $1,000 from their personal funds to make it operational. Additional funding from friends and philanthropists in the Washington, D.C. area paid for a mailing that announced the first annual meeting in April 1968. Closely associated with Pat was Rosalie Blasky, her good friend, who remained as her part-time aide until April 1980. The strong Board of Directors helped launch the new organization, led by Warren Johnson, Ed.D., as its first president. Other members included Jed Pearson, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist; Berkely Hathorne, ThD, pastoral counselor; Susan Roth, MSW; Nancy Berliner, BA, researcher and writer for Planned Parenthood; John Chandler, MA, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Independent Schools; Elizabeth Nichols, BA; Majorie Shumacher, MS, Executive Directors of Planned Parenthood; and Florence Yohalem, MA, social scientist. Morton Yohalem served as legal counsel from the beginning until his death in October, 1979. Thus, was born an interdisciplinary group dedicated to a worthy cause.
In retrospect, the guiding principles upon which AASECT was founded seem to have been inevitable. But by their enunciation, they have worked a powerful influence on the sex education, counseling and therapy movement in this country - helping to establish it as a separate profession distinct from marriage and family counseling, psychiatry, social work, nursing, etc. - and giving it an indispensable foundation on which to grow and develop.
Thank you AASECT office staff!
I hope that you have an opportunity to attend an Annual Conference and have the opportunity to meet the wonderful AASECT staff that work with us full time and have helped us make communication with our members more efficient and reliable. In the Chicago office, is Michael Chan and Kellie Braband. Michael is AASECT's Executive Director and Kellie is the contact for AASECT's CE events and providers, assists with Annual Conference and Institute planning and many other projects we initiate. In the Washington, D.C. office is Alphonsus Baggett, MEd, and Amanda Bignall. Alphonsus is the director of two of our most important programs: Certification and Professional Education, and also coordinates many aspects of the Annual Conference. Amanda is the friendly voice on the phone that assists with all membership inquiries and issues and she also helps with Annual Conference planning and registration and most other projects we initiate or continue. My work this past two years could not have completed without their help and I give them all my very personal ‘thank you!’
This summer we look forward to our 48th Annual Conference in Puerto Rico, the next exciting Summer Institute in August - Revisiting ‘Sex Addiction’: Transformative Ways to Address Out of Control Sexual Behavior in St. Louis, MO, and we welcome the new Board members and Chairs of various committees who will be learning their roles for the next two years.
The AASECT Bylaws require that leaders may remain in a position for no more than four years which allows for new leadership, ideas and energy for the organization. As I step into my role as Past President, I will no longer serve on the Board and will now chair the Nominating Committee.
Thank you to our Board members and committee chairs that are moving on for your dedication and the hours of time you devoted to AASECT. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you!
Leaving the Board of Directors June 30th:
Jo Marie Kessler, Certification Chair
Richelle Frabotta, Public Relations, Media and Advocacy Chair (PRMA)
Sara Nasserzadeh, Communications Steering Committee Chair
Leaving as President’s Committee Chairs:
Neil Cannon, Ethics Committee Chair
Michelle Sugg, Nominating Committee Chair
Ron Feintech, Personnel Committee Chair
Linda Lotz, Awards Committee Chair
Welcome to our newly elected Board members!
Eli Green, Communication Steering Committee Chair
Doug Braun-Harvey, Treasurer (re-elected for a second term)
Susan Stiritz, President-elect
We are proud of all our members who contribute so much to the sexual health of those in the world around us.
Konnie McCaffree, PhD, CSE, CSES, CFLE