Making the most of our time for our students and colleagues

Despite the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, it seems like more events are packed into it than any other month. I cannot think of another month of the year that is as productive; and perhaps it is fitting that in this   month, we announce the NJEA Educational Support Professional (ESP) of the Year, since our ESP colleagues pack more into a day than almost anyone I know.

This year’s ESP of the Year, Florence Taliercio, absolutely embodies that claim. As a secretary in the technology department for the East Brunswick School District, she is responsible for a wide range of roles, from keeping track of staff time to monitoring warranties and service agreements to purchasing technology for the district. At the same time, she is a committed union advocate who always has time for her colleagues’ concerns and is a dedicated volunteer who has worked on many association events, activities and charitable projects. Finally, she is a wife, mother and grandmother. She does more in 60 minutes than some people do all day!

But that’s the magic of public education: making the most out of the minutes that you are given with your students, colleagues, parents and more.

In Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, the members of HTEA created a Care Bridge Committee to help meet the often invisible needs of its members. The staff collects money every pay period that goes toward assisting each other through medical or financial crises. This helping hand is important and makes a real, tangible difference in members’ lives. But it is the knowledge that they have the support and respect of their colleagues that provides a powerful emotional boost during a difficult time.

Few times are as stressful as starting a new job, but the Princeton Regional Education Support Staff Association (PRSSA) has found a way to make it easier on the ESPs who join their staff. They have developed a multiyear mentoring program that is unique in New Jersey. For staff and administration, the goal was clear: to make new ESP staff joining the district feel as valued and essential to students’ success as certified staff members. Because the district is making mentoring a priority and providing time and opportunities to meet, ESP staff are able to engage in a much more robust exchange that benefits everyone.

Financial stress is a common theme for ESP and certified staff, and the high cost of higher education is a frequent topic across work sites. NJEA offers a “Degrees not Debt” webinar that offers resources to help members have a stronger financial future. This month, we feature a team of local associations in Camden County that took things a step further, bringing the creators of the webinar to meet with members and answer their questions in person.

During these busy February days, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with the demands of our jobs, pressing health or financial considerations, and trying to squeeze in all of our responsibilities. But it’s also a time to look at how productive, efficient and effective we are when we work together toward a common goal. NJEA is an outstanding team—and we have accomplished so much thanks to the hard work of each of our members. Thank you so much for the work that you put in every day, and for making the most of every second you have with the students we serve. You are the reason New Jersey’s public schools are among the best in the nation, and you are building the future one student, and one second, at a time.




Officers Online

Marie Blistan


NJ was well represented [at] the official swearing in of new representatives and senators. National public labor unions voiced the needs of working families… Getting people elected is only half of our civic responsibility…  holding those elected accountable for campaign promises is ALL our responsibility!

An abbreviated version of NJEA President Marie Blistan’s post when she, Vice President Sean M. Spiller, and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss joined other national labor leaders in Washington, D.C. for the first day of the 116th Congress. She posted photos from the day.

Sean M. Spiller


Congratulations to 2018 Milken Awards winner Nicole Silva! Congratulations Carteret Public Schools! Congratulations also to New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Repollet, a Carteret grad & former administrator. Congratulations NJEA for having the best educators!

An abbreviated version of NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller’s post when he traveled to Carteret to be on hand when third-grade teacher Nicole Sivla was presented with a Milken Educator Award. The award recognizes excellence in education by honoring top educators around the country. See more at

Steve Beatty


Brothers and sisters, the time is now. We are reaching the pinnacle of our fight for Chapter 78 relief and ESP job justice. We must, all of us, be fully committed… make sure you are informed and active! Success will depend on all of us!! Look here for more information:

This is an abbreviated version of a post that NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty posted on Jan. 6, encouraging members to get personally involved in the fight for Chapter 78 relief and job justice for educational support professionals. As he noted, visit to find out how to get involved.

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