Petal Robertson, a high school English teacher in the Montclair School District, is secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey Education Association. Robertson was elected in April 2021, taking office on Sept. 1, 2021
Robertson holds a bachelor’s degree in English education and communications from Seton Hall University (2001) and a master’s degree in secondary education from Seton Hall University (2004).
Before becoming an NJEA officer, Robertson served as the President of the Montclair Education Association (2017-21) and a member of the NJEA Executive Committee (2020-21). A dynamic leader, a truth-teller, Robertson also held positions as vice president, negotiations chair, and social committee chair throughout her time with the Montclair Education Association. At the state level, Robertson served as a member of the NJEA Delegate Assembly (2018-20), NJEA Pandemic Response Subcommittee (2020), the Property and Personal Committee (2020-21), and the NJEA PAC Operating Committee (PAC) (2020-21).
Outside of formal leadership roles, Robertson has found creative ways to organizing union members for different causes. In 2017, she co-founded Restorative Justice Montclair, an initiative that led the district to reimagine school discipline. In 2020, she founded the Vision and Voices program, which connected hundreds of NJEA members and helped those involved find their power. In that same year, Robertson started the 8:46 Project, which saw the Montclair Education Association bring community members and union members together through a shared passion of and a commitment to fight for racial, social and economic justice in and outside of the school community.
The general duties of the NJEA secretary-treasurer include overseeing all funds of the association, including the staff pension fund. Robertson serves as the NJEA officer liaison to several NJEA committees, including Budget, Health Benefits, Membership, School Finance, and Worksite Safety & Health. She will also join her fellow NJEA officers as a member of the Government Relations, NJEA PAC Operating Committee (PAC), and Strengthening Locals committees. Part of her responsibilities include serving as liaison to the New Jersey Retirees’ Education Association (NJREA) and the Center for Future Educators (CFE) at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
Robertson’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guyana, and the experience of growing up as the youngest child of first-generation Americans has shaped Robertson into the passionate leader she is today. Robertson lives in Old Bridge, New Jersey.