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Honoring Education Support Professionals

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García goes back to her roots as an ESP "lunch lady" at Odyssey Elementary School in Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Kevin Lock 

The American Education Week tour continued Wednesday with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia in Salt Lake City and Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss in Broward County, Fla. to recognize Education Support Professionals' Day. Vice President Becky Pringle traveled to her home state of Pennsylvania for a school visit and an address to the PSEA Western Region House of Delegates.

Watch AEW2014 ESP Day: The Video (3:02)

On Education Support Professionals Day 2014, NEA’s approximately 500,000 education support professional (ESP) members and other public school support staff across the nation were honored for something they do every day though seldom get credit for: helping to meet the needs of the whole student.

“You help educate the whole child,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, speaking to ESPs, parents, teachers, and administrators at Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah. “That whole blessed child.”

Education support professionals make up one-third of all public school employees and play critical roles on the school team, said Laura Montgomery, president of the National Council of ESPs, who also addressed the audience at Davis, including members of the statewide all-ESP Utah School Employees Association (USEA).


“We know it takes everyone at a school to educate a child,” Montgomery said. “We can only meet the needs of the whole child when all adults at a school work together to help students succeed.”


At an early morning event, Garcia, Montgomery, and NEA ESP of the Year Paula Monroe greeted bus drivers dropping students off at Odyssey Elementary School in Woods Cross. They surprised the drivers with hot breakfast boxed meals. At a morning assembly honoring ESPs, approximately 600 students gathered with teachers, administrators and ESPs to watch a student-produced video of school support staff performing their campus jobs. Alongside National ESP of the Year Paula Monroe, National Council of ESP President Laura Montgomery, Utah School Employees Association (USEA) President Jerad Reay and other state and local leaders, Eskelsen Garcia listened to students read thank-you notes from the stage and perform a skit acknowledging the contributions of ESPs.


Other notable attendees, including Salt Lake City Bee’s broadcaster Steve Klauke, PBS’ Mary Dickson and Davis School District Superintendent Dr. Bryan Bowles, were paired up with an ESP to experience a day in the life of these underappreciated educators.


NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss celebrated ESP Day with the Broward Teachers Union.  Moss was joined by FEA President Andy Ford, Sharon Glickman, BTU president; and Bernie Kemp, BTU vice president for ESP. BTU ESP members were reminded of their many contributions to the association and were encouraged to keep moving forward.  BTU gave each ESP member an angel pin to remind them of the fact that they are truly angels when it comes to making things happen for students.


NEA's AEW Tour on Storify: The ESP Day Edition

For slideshow captions, view fullscreen and click "show info."

ESP Day in Photos


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