2023 ESPs: Supporting Our Own Through Peer Mentoring workshop.

The National Education Association is happy to announce that we are accepting applications from
NEA local and state association teams for the 2023 ESPs: Supporting Our Own Through Peer
Mentoring workshop.

Over one and a half days, teams will work together to build their own unique ESP mentoring pilot
programs that empower ESPs in the workplace and Association. Through peer mentoring, ESPs
can receive the specialized, targeted preparation and support that empower ESPs in the
workplace, advance ESP professional excellence, build ESP leader activists, and create the
education systems that all our students and members deserve.


Congratulations Debra Ward-Mitchell

Click: https://fb.watch/hio6gHIH82/

2022 NEA ESP of the Year

What an honor! Debra Ward-Mitchell, IEA member and 2022 NEA ESP of the Year, receives a standing ovation at the Illinois General Assembly last week. Congratulations Deb!!!

Debra is the epitome of excellence! Everything she does with her students, families, and union has her heart and her gift of service prominently displayed. Debra is the IEA Education Support Professional Council Vice-Chair, ESP Council Membership Engagement Committee leader, and Co-chair of the Organizing and Membership Leadership Development team for the RESPECT campaign. Debra is a key leader that is assisting in growing a strong campaign that will bring the change education support professionals need and deserve. She is a fabulous role model, union sister, and most importantly friend.

#ieaesp #NEAESPOTY #rESPect #essential #StrongerUnited


We support the Tuscola Paraprofessionals Union

Please support the members of the Tuscola Paraprofessionals Union (TESPA)!

🚨 Tuscola School District 301 has lost more than 40% of its paraprofessionals to neighboring districts and businesses like McDonalds, Loves and Old Navy that pay more.

🚨TESPA represents paraprofessionals or paras, who work with the most vulnerable students (those with IEPs, behavioral challenges and autism).

🚨 TESPA and the Tuscola BOE’s latest contract proposals are just 14 CENTS an hour apart.

Fair contract NOW!



Are you a President of a local?

Join the IEA President Support Team on Facebook. This is a private Facebook group where local leaders can ask questions, get answers and support from other IEA leaders from around the state. They also meet virtually as an added time to support each other. Search them on Facebook.


Important Illinois Education Association News and Updates

Request for funding applications are being accepted for the following conferences.  IMPORTANT: Please remember that IEA region councils have funding available for education support professionals to attend IEA conferences and events. Not sure where your region council is, call your nearest Illinois Education Association office. https://ieanea.org/contact-us/offices/

  • The NEA ESP National Conference is the premier professional development opportunity for education support professionals across the nation. Theme: Joy, Justice, Excellence: The Strength of Educators. The Brilliance of Students. The Power of Community.

  • 2023 Higher Ed Conference
    • Date: March 17-19, 2023
    • Location: San Jose, CA
    • Application due by Dec 12
  • 2023 NEA Leadership Summit
    • Date: March 10-12, 2023
    • Location: San Francisco
    • Application due by Dec 12

Budget Open Hearings: Schedule for January 2023

NEA RA – July 2-6, 2023 – Orlando, FL

The 2023 NEA RA will be held in Orlando from July 2-6.  Illinois will be housed at the Rosen Centre with more details to follow.

2023 Summer Leadership RFP- Due December 9, 2022

The 2023 Summer Leadership Retreat will be held July 24-27, 2023 at Illinois State University Bone Student Center in Normal, IL. We are looking for presenters who can deliver training sessions in the areas of bargaining, grievance, organizing, equity, political action and leadership development to assist our members in the upcoming school year.  Please consider submitting sessions which will help our local leaders renew their hope for a return to some normalcy and offer experiences that help restore their power.

Sessions at ISU will include 1- or 2-hour electives held on Tuesday & Wednesday. Half day sessions will be held on Wednesday & Thursday and can be combined for a full-day session.

Anyone interested in submitting for a session should complete the Summer Leadership RFP by December 9, 2022.

IEA Awards nomination deadline is Dec. 15. 

Online nomination forms can be found on the IEA website under Members/Benefits/Awards:

  • ESP of The Year Award: This award is meant to emphasize the contributions of education support professionals to their association, their schools and their communities.
  • Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award: Named after former IEA President and NEA President Reg Weaver, an individual IEA-NEA member or an IEA-NEA group may be nominated for this award, which recognizes those who have performed an outstanding humanitarian/civil rights activity or community service above and beyond normal association endeavors.

Congratulations to Debra Ward-Mitchell!!

No one has advocated for IEA members especially education support professionals better and deserves this more than Debra Ward-Mitchell. Deb Ward-Mitchell, former Thornridge High School, District 205 graduate out of Region 27. Deb was honored yesterday on the floor of the General Assembly. Deb is the 2022 NEA ESP of the Year. Another Thornridge graduate State Representative Will Davis read a resolution from the State of Illinois honoring her. This is a prestigious occasion! Congratulations Debra Ward Mitchell, thank you for all you do!


November 30th is National Personal Space Day

LOL, today is also national Mason Jar day…but I figure this might be a little more relatable. We celebrate National Personal Space Day on November 30 to honor and respect the need for personal space. Established by Public Health Specialist Carol Winner in 2019, the day reminds us that boundaries are good and must be maintained in a civil society. Advocating for our boundaries is not easy, but it is an important factor that contributes to our healing.