NEA Today-ESPs making change!

“I had a growing interest in politics and how unions help support educators and students, and I was looking for opportunities to be active in my association. I campaigned at some #RedForEd events at our statehouse, and I worked with my local on membership recruitment. Then I learned that the Ward 1 School Committee seat, which is where I live, was open. I ran for office for the first time and won!

I’m a parent, and I have a 5-year-old who attends school in that district. I really wanted to add an educator voice to the school committee. I built my confidence to run by attending See Educators Run, NEA’s candidate training program.

The program connected me with a community of individuals that were all seeking the same thing: to win their campaign. The diversity within the community helped us become aware of opportunities and challenges a campaign can face.

It’s important for educators to hold office. I come into school every day, and I see kids who need a hug. I see kids who need a change of clothes. I see kids who really need a minute to decompress from their weekends. I think what’s really important is that teachers feel supported, that teachers have the necessary tools to do their jobs and take care of students and make sure they have a safe learning place.

There are some hard conversations that we need to have about some of the racial bullying incidents and other tensions in the community. In this new role, my goal is to bring everyone to the table and collaboratively find ways to solve some of these problems.

People who want change need to step up and do. People can either accept what they have or they can try to make that change. I think that everybody needs to come together. Whether it is a small input or a large input, everybody has something to contribute, which is why getting involved in the union and politics is critical.”

Rose Walker, Elementary Paraeducator, Lewistown, ME #NEAMemberMondays

We are stronger when we work together, and joining your local union is the best way to advocate for the children you will one day serve.

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