I’ve been a maintenance and support staff employee at Kenowa Hills High School in Michigan. I’ve been a county Association officer, an MEA board member, and an NEA RA delegate.
Why did you become a Pre-Retired member?
I follow state legislative issues, and I see it’s always the retired members leading the way when it comes to fighting for education. NEA-Retired provides a great deal of the lobbying support needed to help both current education employees and retirees. That’s very important in Michigan, where we have to deal with unfunded mandates and threats to our health care and retirement benefits. NEA-Retired is definitely the way to go—but not just yet; right now I still enjoy going to work.
I taught elementary school in Okaloosa County, Florida for 35 years. I was treasurer, secretary, and chief negotiator for my local Association. I was also a state FEA board member and an NEA RA delegate.
How is retirement?
It’s great. I’ve been able to spend time reading, gardening, and traveling with my family. We went on a cruise at Christmas, and are planning a vacation to Massachusetts. I’ve also stayed active in education. I served on a school advisory board, and I’m in my local Retired Association. Right now, we’re trying to increase retirees’ insurance and benefits. This is especially important to me because I retired fairly young and still have a 10th-grader at home. So I’ll be relying on my benefits to help put my son through college. Retirees are in a variety of situations, but protecting our benefits is important to all of us.
I taught elementary school for 12 years, and was an elementary school principal for 22 years—all in Nashville, Tennessee. I was active in the Nashville Elementary School Principals’ Association and was an NEA RA delegate. In the Retired Association, I worked my way up from secretary to president, and I’m a former state Retired president.
How are you spending retirement?
Right now, my priority is dealing with the disastrous new Medicare drug benefit. It doesn’t provide enough, and the law is so confusing that many seniors aren’t signing up because they don’t know they’re eligible. Seniors are struggling like never before over this issue. Some can’t afford any drugs, and some are rotating their prescriptions by the month because they can only afford one of many medications they need. So I have to stay active. The issues are too great. But I have time for other interests as well. I’m just celebrating my 50th year in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. We do a lot of service work together.