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Member Profiles


George Jackson


I’ve been a bookkeeper for the Farmington School District in Michigan for 23 years.

I’m currently the state ESP caucus president, and serve on the MEA board. I’ve been a delegate to the NEA RA for 13 years.

What got you active as a Pre-Retired member?

My parents taught me early on that if I don’t get involved, I have no right to complain. I believe that, which is why I’m working as a local president now.

 But there’s always a new issue coming up that has to be addressed if we want to maintain and strengthen public education. In my state, public education budgets are always an issue.

We’ve had to fight proposals for school vouchers recently. I’m devoted to public education, so I’ll keep taking my parents’ advice and stay involved after I retire.

Pearlie Matthews


I taught first and second grade for 34 years in the Tuscaloosa City Schools. I was an active school rep., and I’m currently vice president of my local Retired Association and a district director for AEA-Retired.

How are you enjoying retirement?

I love it. I’m very active in the Elks and my church, and I stay active in education. I teach GED courses for a local community college, and right now, I’m working with AEA-Retired to try to get a fair raise for teachers.

This takes a great deal of lobbying, and it won’t happen if we don’t work. School employees and retirees can’t take anything for granted. They should always know what their benefits are, what’s at stake, what they can do to help—and then get involved.

Arleen Yoshimura


I was a high school business teacher for 26 years—10 of them at my alma mater, Hilo High School. I was an active local Association rep., and I currently write a column for our local Association-Retired newsletter.

What do you like most about retirement?

Giving back. I took early retirement, and I didn’t plan very well for it. I did it all wrong. I could have taken steps to maximize my benefits. I’ve learned a lot since, and I want to pass it on to other school employees.

I received an NEA grant to start a group called the Pre-Retirement Cadre. We do a lot to impress upon active teachers how important it is to plan their retirement far in advance. I also like my leisure activities.

 I wrote a cookbook with recipes from family and friends. And my husband and I were able to take my 90-year-old mother-in-law to Las Vegas. Right now, I’m planning a vacation to Brussels with my niece and I can’t wait.

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