To be of service

A career in public education is more than a job—it is a mission. As teachers and educational support professionals we talk about our daily work in terms of what it means to our students and their future. It is the very nature of our work to be of service to our students, their families and our communities.

In this month’s edition of the Review, we meet NJEA members who exemplify that sense of service.

In “Cooking Without Looking,” Laura Richards, a teacher at Roxbury High School, was looking for a meaningful culminating project for her Culinary Arts II students. Inspired by her own son’s vision condition, and by legally blind chef Christine Ha, she challenged her students to create cooking videos for the visually impaired. The results led a team of her students around the world to South Africa.

In “Haddonfield Teacher, Students Fundraise to Send a Former Child Soldier to Graduate School,” teacher Kimberly Dickstein knew that she, her students and the Haddonfield community could to more than read about child soldiers in books such as A Long Way Gone. Through a friend, she and her students were introduced via Skype to Garang Buk Buk Piol, a former South Sudanese child soldier who is now an international aid worker. That introduction led to life-changing experiences for everyone involved.

We as educators also serve one another. In this Review, you’ll read about the NJEA Bolivar L. Graham Intern Foundation Practicing Apprentice program. The purpose of the program is to ensure that NJEA members, particularly those members representing underserved communities, are provided the opportunities, knowledge and skills that are essential for association leadership and possible staff work at NJEA. Meet the eight women who make up the 2018-20 cohort of apprentices.

Finally, NJEA is a member-driven organization. As a union, we serve one another through the governing bodies, the committees and the staff that make up our association. The organizational directory that is published in the Review every January is more than a list of names. Take the opportunity to use the directory to strengthen your connections to NJEA. Explore the areas that interest you and connect to those responsible to assist you in meeting your goals—whether in the spaces where you work or in the association that represents your professional, economic and advocacy interests.

Thank you for making it your mission to serve public education, your students and your fellow NJEA members.




Officers online

Marie Blistan


FABULOUS tribute to the work that all of our ESSENTIAL school professionals do every day with our children and for our public schools!!

On Dec. 4, NJEA President Marie Blistan shared a link to an story about Hillsborough Education Association (HEA) member Jim Cox. Assemblyman Roy Freiman presented him with a
Joint Resolution from the New Jersey Senate and Assembly that recognized Cox’s commitment to his work as an educational support professional (ESP)
and as a longtime association representative. You can read the story here.    

Sean M. Spiller


@spillerfornjea: A Call to Action Event with members to organize around legislation on health benefits relief and ESP job justice.

On Dec. 11, NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller shared a photo from a member-led strategy training session in Monmouth County to take action on job justice for ESPs and Chapter 78 relief for all members. At the session, members called and emailed legislators on bills that will provide that justice and relief. To learn more, visit

Steve Beatty


@njea_steve: Great day spent having lunch with the members at Frank Lautenberg Elementary, School #6, in Paterson. Discussing health care, curriculum, and working conditions. Great people doing great work—making our public schools among the best in the nation! @insta_njea @patedassn

On, Nov. 26, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty visited Paterson Education Association members to listen to their concerns and discuss what matters most to them. He posted a photo on Instagram from his day at the school.

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