NJEA President Marie Blistan with the association’s Teacher Leader Consultants last September. From left: Anna Muessig, Lizandaa Alburg, Christine Candarella, Blistan, Dawn Howlen, and Johanna Amaro. The Teacher Leader Academy held its first session in January. See Page 17 for more information.
I have had the privilege of speaking to thousands of educators over the course of my career in public education and the one overriding characteristic I have observed in each of them is a desire to help others. That’s the only way to explain the countless hours school employees volunteer to benefit their students, their schools, and their communities. When there has been a challenge, NJEA members have been eager to step in and help.
I observed that firsthand with the response to Superstorm Sandy and the way our members jumped in to help displaced students, rebuild communities and support their colleagues who had lost almost everything.
We are currently confronting a new challenge, but I know that same spirit of community will see us through. It seems counter-intuitive that the best way we can help each other is primarily by isolating ourselves, but the seriousness of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the potential impact on the most vulnerable, in particular, necessitate this.
I also know that our members are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of their students. From the governor’s office and Legislature to local boards of education and administration, our leaders have a partner in NJEA. Without a doubt, our organization will do what we can to find ways to support our communities, our students, and each other.
As educators, we have always valued collaboration and have worked together to solve problems, no matter the size. I am confident that we will weather this challenge the same way we always have: by caring for each other, considering the best interests of everyone involved, and always prioritizing the best interests of our students.
I hope that this issue of the magazine, as always, provides you with information, resources, and a continued sense of community with your colleagues in public education.
Thank you for all that you do to keep students healthy and safe.