Unity and strength

At this time of year, it is particularly important to reflect on the things for which we are grateful. One of the things that I am most grateful for throughout my career in public education has been the support, camaraderie and strength of my fellow educators.

In this issue, I think that you will find many examples of the ways in which we, as educators, encourage, inspire, support and advocate for each other.

In “Teaching and Mentoring the Next Generation of Educators,” you will hear from 2018-19 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and Morris County Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Skomial, whose passion for education began way back in the first grade. Hopefully, her story will remind you of the many reasons you had to choose a career in public education.

In “Stories of Exploration in a Student-Centered Learning Environment,” art teacher and NJEA member Nicole Thomas broke away from step-by-step, cookie-cutter art projects to create a classroom environment where the students and their ideas are the inspiration for their art.

Our articles about the NJEA Convention highlight the many ways that educators encourage, inspire, support and advocate for each other. From a multitude of professional development workshops to networking opportunities by subject area, job category, county, and more, to inspirational events such as the Celebration of Excellence to advocacy opportunities for members where they can ask questions and voice their concerns to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education, the NJEA Convention is uniquely representative of educators’ interests.

Finally, the annual salary guide survey provides educators with an economic snapshot of school employees’ salaries by district. Each and every one of those contracts was achieved through member training, extensive internal and external communications, community outreach, and—above all—unity. NJEA members know that their economic interests depend on their ability to stand together to ensure they receive fair compensation for the excellent work they provide.

We look at some of those success stories in-depth, and honor one contract as the “best of the best” at the annual NJEA Jim George Collective Bargaining Conference. Read about what other local associations are doing to support each other and fight for educators’ economic interests, in “Monroe Township EA Wins Collective Bargaining Award.”

There have always been people eager to divide our membership in order to benefit financially from their attempts to weaken the union. But, as always, I am grateful for the strength of this union and our ability to support each other as we do the important work of educating the future.

In Solidarity,





Officers online

Marie Blistan


NJEA Convention Teen Arts display: Our students’ work is beautiful!! Thank you to our NJEA members who provide a WONDERFUL comprehensive education for our students!

NJEA President Marie Blistan shared dozens of photos over the course of the NJEA Convention. Photos from her visit to the Teen Arts display on the Exhibit Hall floor at the convention were among them.


Sean M. Spiller


Spiller for NJEA: With Steve Adubato at our New Jersey Education Association Convention! Wonderful to see all our educators out for PD and overall professional growth.

NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller, as well as NJEA President Marie Blistan, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Skomial and others were interviewed by PBS broadcaster Steve Adubato onsite at the NJEA Convention. Sean posted a snapshot from his interview.


Steve Beatty


SteveBeattyNJEA: Great day at the New Jersey Education Association Convention! Thousands of members engaging and training on important issues. Workshops, sessions, State BOE and Commissioner Repollet presenting. Fantastic keynote by Jacqueline Woodson, STEAM Tank awards, Patriots Alliance breakfast, SOGI lunch, and so much more!

AT the conclusion of each day of the NJEA Convention, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, posted photos from his experience of the convention.

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