By Heather Spirko, The College of New Jersey

Being an NJEA Preservice member has been a great benefit for me. From attending professional development sessions at the NJEA Convention, to meeting local, county and state association leaders at NJEA’s county association meetings and events, and through the annual NJEA Preservice Conference, I am constantly learning more about what I can do in my future classroom and about important issues facing public school employees.

Becoming a part of NJEA Preservice has also had benefits for me at the national level. Last year, I attended the NEA Student Leadership Conference (SLC) in Minneapolis. At SLC, I met future educators from every state and attended professional development sessions and other workshops.

Colleges and universities throughout New Jersey have NJEA Preservice chapters, and joining NJEA Preservice at the state level is easy.

The first step is to visit the website. If you are reading this article in the print version of the Review, you have completed that first step! But remind your fellow college students that they can join NJEA Preservice and gain valuable professional learning and benefits by joining. In addition to professional learning, being a member of NJEA Preservice fosters opportunities to network with possible contacts for future employment and to develop the leadership qualities and skills that help you stand out among applicants for teaching positions.

Becoming a preservice ambassador, chair or officer

Once you’re a member, consider becoming an NJEA Preservice ambassador. An ambassador represents NJEA Preservice to all future educators on campuses throughout New Jersey. The easiest way to become an ambassador is to follow the NJEA Preservice’s social media accounts (see below). NJEA Preservice posts online forms on those accounts through which you can apply to become an ambassador.

Once the deadline to submit the forms passes, NJEA Preservice officers will review them and approve a group of new ambassadors. Ambassadors who stand out in their work promoting the association on their campuses may be considered to represent us on many of NJEA’s committees.

Another way to get involved at the state level is to reach out to the individuals who are executive board members and chairs at the state level to show your interest in a position as a chairperson or as an officer. The executive board includes the NJEA Preservice president, vice president and secretary. Chair positions include social media, political action, publications, local outreach and NJEA relations. 

Officers must be nominated at the annual NJEA Preservice conference and stand for election. Preservice members then vote for the best candidate using a mail-in ballot. Chairs are appointed by the officers.

All board and chair positions last for one year, but you can continue your legacy in a different position until you graduate from your college or university. In that one year you can network, advocate for your future students, gain leadership skills and become a part of a team that empowers you to lead a new generation of educators.

If you are interested in joining the executive board or in holding a chairpersonship, talk to the current individuals serving in those positions to find out more about their responsibilities. You’ll find the officers names at njea.org/preservice, but attending the NJEA Preservice Conference on April 13, the NJEA Convention or other NJEA conferences gives you the opportunity to meet officers and chairs and learn more about the opportunities that await you.

Most importantly, you must be motivated to be a leader. Joining NJEA Preservice and being active at the state level is not easy work. It takes a lot of time and effort, but if you want to succeed you will have no problem making time for NJEA Preservice. Becoming a leader was my motivation to join NJEA Preservice at the state level. By joining, I have developed valuable leadership qualities that I will use in my future classroom.

Now that you know how to become a part of NJEA Preservice at the state level, what’s stopping you? Become a member of NJEA Preservice, join the ambassadors, talk to individuals who are chairs and board members at the state level and last, but certainly not least, be motivated to become the leader you are.

NJEA Preservice on social media:

Twitter | FacebookInstagramSnapchat: NJEA_Preservice | Pinterest

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