I’ve taught high school math for 27 years in Riverside, New Jersey. I’ve been a local and county Association president, and for the past two years, I’ve served as secretary—treasurer of NJEA.
Why did you join NEA Pre-Retired?
I bought two life memberships, one for myself and one for my wife, who’s also a math teacher. I gave her hers for Valentine’s Day. I think most of us join because education advocacy gets in our blood. As teachers, we worked to improve our schools and jobs, and to protect those improvements, and we have to do the same thing as Retired members.
I know that once I’m retired, I’ll want to continue working in politics, because every year there will be legislation considered that affects schools, students, active school employees, and retired members alike. We need to keep electing friends of public education and keep fighting to improve public education.
Ethel M. Bailey
I was a school employee in Lexington, Mississippi, for 36 years, first as an 11th grade English teacher, then as head librarian. I was a building rep and then president for my local Association, and MAE state board member, and a member of the NEA Elections Committee.
What’s the best thing about retirement?
Being able to vary my activities. I’ve just started a vegetable garden and am hoping for the best with my first crop of tomatoes, bell peppers, and collard greens—a must here in Mississippi. I’m looking forward to working in NEA-Retired member recruitment.
MAE-Retired just helped pass a bill, long in the works, that will finally give all our school districts the funding they need. It was a major victory, and active teachers need to know that the Association and Retired Association are hard at work getting results like this. I don’t ever want to stop doing this kind of work.
I taught elementary school, mostly 2nd grade for 28 years. I was secretary treasurer of my active local Association and political chair for NEA-Alaska. Currently, I’m secretary of NEA-Alaska/Retired.
How are you spending retirement?
I’ve started a fun second career working with cruise ship passengers after they arrive here in Alaska. I’ve enjoyed meeting and getting to know new people on the job. I also stay active in NEA-Alaska/Retired. Retired school employees are essential as organizers in Alaska right now. Our Legislature took away defined benefits from our pensions, which has driven many people away from teaching.
We need to repeal that law, and in the meantime, we must work harder than ever to recruit and retain teachers. I think the key is educating potential teachers and young teachers about the value of working through the Association to improve and protect our benefits and the quality of education.