January is an introspective month. As one year—and decade—ends, a new year full of fresh opportunities begins.
At NJEA, we have been simultaneously looking back and looking forward, and we have a great deal to reflect upon.
Early in the new year, NJREA, the New Jersey Retirees’ Education Association, marks its 100th anniversary. In this issue, you’ll get a closer look at all the things our NJREA members do to keep our union and our schools strong. They are truly the daytime face of our entire membership, willing and able to step up and advocate for our members and our students when actively employed members are unavailable. We will be celebrating NJREA and its achievements at a gala event on May 3, and you will no doubt be hearing more about that and seeing other ways that we honor all that NJREA has done and continues to do.
At the same time, we take a closer look at the year we’ve just concluded. As educators and advocates, we take a million small steps every day. It can be hard to see the impact of each step—but all of those small steps make a big difference. The things we do every day for our students lead them to feel safe, valued, and secure in the knowledge that we are invested in their success. The small steps we take as advocates, from calling a legislator to registering people to vote to talking to our colleagues about current issues, all combine to make a difference in our schools and our communities.
As author Robert Collier wrote, “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” That dedication is exhibited in the work that NJREA members do every day and in the work that you do with your students. It is not always glamorous, but it is truly the essence of a well-lived, honorable life.
Thank you for all that you do for New Jersey’s public school students, and for your colleagues in education, from preservice through retirement.
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