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Member Profiles


Phyllis Winkler


I teach first grade in Vernon, Connecticut, and plan to retire in eight years. I’ve been president, vice president, and grievance officer for my local, and I’m currently on the CEA state board of directors.

Why did you become active in NEA Pre-Retired?
It’s my feeling that to be fully involved as a teacher means being active both in and out of the classroom, and active after retirement, too. NEA-Retired members are working with the legislature to improve public education for my students and to improve my job.

I see the results—and I see the continuing urgency of activism, particularly after the damage done by the No Child Left Behind law. My students and I are benefiting now from the work of NEA-Retired members, and I believe I need to help keep that process going once I leave the classroom.

member02.jpgRoz Fishman


I taught high school government and economics for 37 years in Floyds Knob, Indiana. I was president of my local Association, a district council chair, a member of the ISTA state board, and member of the NEA Resolutions Committee. I’m currently president of my local Retired Association. 

How are you enjoying retirement?
I love being retired, but I also love staying connected to education issues. So I split my time between vacationing—to places like Prague and Warsaw —and activism for NEA-Retired.

 I was heavily involved in campaigning before the November elections and now in ongoing legislative work. In Indiana, the Retired Association is working to win real prescription drug coverage for seniors, and we are always fighting attacks on public education, such as voucher schemes or attempted cuts to school budgets.

I’m also active in the Indiana Council for Social Studies, which keeps me connected to the field in which I taught.

member03.jpgPaul Zastrow


I taught high school science for 31 years, and was chair of the science department at my school in Hood River, Oregon.

I served as president of my local Association and on the OEA state board.

Which NEA-Retired activities interest you most?
Too many to count, I think. I’m still a natural activist, so I keep busy with NEA political and legislative work, and I’m also active in a group that works to fight rural poverty.

NEA-Retired members are essential to the mechanics of protecting public education. Teachers are in class when the legislature is in session, but I’m available, and like all our Retired members, I take an awful lot of experience with me when I go to lobby on issues that affect our schools and kids.

It would feel like a waste to stop drawing on that experience when the need in our school districts is so great.

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