GAE-Retired Vice President: Karen Solheim

Having served as GAE-Retired President for the past four years, I am excited to be stepping into another role of service for the GAE-Retired organization:  Vice President.  Of course, I see my primary role is to be a team player and support the GAE-Retired President.  In addition, I want GAE-Retired to continue to be the best organization it can.

To that end, I am excited to be the person orchestrating the 2018-19 Pre-Retirement Seminars, which are open to both GAE members and nonmembers within five years of retirement.  Held throughout the state, these seminars help the soon-to-be-retired know more about issues effecting retirement in general and TRS in particular.  These free seminars, which include breakfast, will include information about the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), Social Security, Medicare, member benefits from GAE and NEA, and understanding the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia.  In addition, a representative from TRS will present information about retirement options.  Click here for more information.

In addition, I am also taking lead on a Lobby and Learn Conference to be held on the November 10 at the GAE building (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)  Politically advocacy is something that all of us in the education profession should be not only understanding but also doing.  If we (as educational employees) are not at the table, we will be (and have been) on the menu.  😊  Click here for more information.

Lastly, I am hoping that GAE-Retired and Pre-Retired membership will grow.  GAE-Retired is just a few members away from having our third director on the GAE Board of Directors and our fourth GAE-Retired delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly.  Too often, those who retire from their position within public education in Georgia fail to realize that they are not retiring from their profession.  Once an education employee always an education employee, and what touches one affects us all.   Just a reminder that GAE-Retired membership is open not only to GAE members who retire but to any educational employee who is 45 years of age and has five years of experience in a position that would have qualified him or her for membership in GAE or NEA.  Just as GAE has a competing organization, so does GAE-Retired:  GREA.  Too often, retirees think they are joining the GAE and NEA retired organizations when joining GREA; they are not.  GAE-Retired (also known as GAE-R) is the only organization that is affiliated with both GAE and NEA!

In addition, one—as an Active GAE member—can become a Pre-Retired subscriber, locking in the cost of a GAE-Retired and NEA-Retired membership at what it costs now in 2018 and not when it starts increasing (again) in 2019-20.  Need more information about joining GAE-Retired and/or being a Pre-Retired subscriber, please contact me at

Before officially retiring in 2012, I was an ELA and drama teacher in grades 7-12.  Teaching 20 years in Jefferson City and 9 years in Oconee County, I retired with my full 30+ years of credit due to the accumulation of a year of sick leave, a wonderful benefit.

From year one of my teaching career to year last, I was a GAE member, being a local area president (LAP) in both of the school systems in which I taught.  In addition, I have served on various GAE state committees:  Spelling Bee, Women’s Concerns, Constitution and Bylaws, Legislative, and Fund for Public Education.  In addition, I have attended decades of GAE and NEA Representative Assemblies and have attended the Education International World Congresses in Berlin, Capetown, and Ottawa.  I have also served four times on the GAE Board of Directors:  two times as District Director and two times as NEA Director.  In short, I have grown up in this Association as an Active member and with gratitude and time want to continue my service as a Retired member.

In my “spare” time, I am secretary of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee and a Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee member.  In addition, I serve on various committees in my church in Athens, where I have resided since 1973, attending UGA for all three of my degrees.  (Go, Dawgs).  I love to work in my yard, travel, attend plays, watch movies, read, and love on my “poopies.”