ESPs Making a Difference

ESPs make a difference every day in their classrooms, schools, and communities. On this page we want to celebrate ESPs who are making a difference in big and small ways. Everyone everyday can be a hero, I hope this page inspires you to get involved and make a difference too. If you would like to nominate someone else or yourself, email me at with complete information.

The ESP Council created the ESP STAR program to allow local leaders to recognize and publicize the good work of their ESP members across the state.

Use the online nomination form to nominate a special ESP member for a STAR Award!
IMRF Trustee election
Natalie Copper
We need your help to circulate nominating petitions for IEA member Natalie Copper to ensure she can continue to represent our education support professionals (ESPs) on the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Board of Trustees.

Download the nominating petition and circulation instructions. Only ACTIVE ESPs may sign the nominating petition.

Natalie (Region 41) is a member of the Evanston Child Care Workers Education Association and works as the site-coordinator at the Before and After School Childcare program in District 65. She is a member of the IEA ESP Council.
ESP member news
District U‐46 Secretarial Association (IL)
Grant Award Agreement
NEA Center for Great Public Schools
State‐Local Project Grant

Affiliate name: District U‐46 Secretarial Association (IL)
Purpose: Secretary Mentoring Program
Award amount: $10,000.00
Term: 1 year (End date: June 30)

Jessica, Carri and Caitlyn are pictured in far right with colleagues from other NEA ESP affiliates at NEA headquarters.
In December 2018, Caitlyn VanDameCarri Bonine and Jessica Leatherby of the District U-46 Secretarial Association (DUSA) from Elgin, participated in the NEA ESP Mentoring Training Program at NEA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to Illinois, the group shared their learning with local and region representatives and began working on enhancing the bare bones mentoring program that had been developed with the school district. This included applying for an NEA grant to help continue this important work.

The local will use the grant money to seed a more rigorous and skilled mentor program.
Tina Pizzitola and Sara Moeller are paraeducators in Elgin’s U-46 School District. Watch the video: Paraeducators seek recognition with teachers
News from NEA
The NEA RA has formally adopted the term “educators” to cover all members regardless of job categories. Read the new preamble language.
Mary Ann Rivera
IEA Member Mary Ann Rivera was elected as a member of the NEA Board of Directors.
Rivera is a paraeducator at Lyons Township High School in La Grange and an ESP Council  member.
Want to know what else happened at the NEA-RA this year? Read the final RA Today for a summary of the NEA business items.