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Member Profiles


Rachel Stafford

I’ve taught high school advanced placement English for 11 years in Mesa, Arizona. I’ve served as treasurer and membership chair of my local Association, and have been an AEA delegate and a delegate to NEA’s Representative Assembly.


Why did you join NEA Pre-Retired SO EARLY?
I know that “Pre-Retired” is an unusual title because I’m 35 and will be teaching for a long time to come. But I believe that educators should be committed to their professions, first and foremost, and NEA-Retired plays a major role in everything the Association does.

Here in Arizona, we’re fighting school vouchers, which were recently introduced. School employees really need to make a lifelong commitment, for the sake of kids and schools and to ensure their own retirement security. Becoming a Pre-Retired member is one of the important ways I can show my commitment. And I try to spread the message to other school employees that they should get involved as early as possible.


Dorothy Wilson

I was a first grade teacher and middle school reading specialist in Columbus, Ohio, for 35 years. I’ve been a local Association board member, district president, Ohio Education Association board member, and NEA board member. I’m now on the OEA-Retired state board.


HOW’S retirement SO FAR?
I just retired last year, and it’s great. Over the summer, I was an NEA representative at the Education International Congress in Berlin, and that was a wonderful trip. I continue to devote a lot of time to OEA and NEA because I don’t think my work is done. The Association can’t work without grassroots involvement, so I stay involved. As a kid I was taught to always bring someone along with me. That’s still my philosophy, so I want to keep getting more people turned on to Association work.

Tom Black

I taught high school social studies in West Point, Nebraska, for 36 years. I was a local Association president, Nebraska State Education Association vice president and board member, and an NEA board member. I’ve been vice president of NSEA-Retired, and am currently a board member.

What's best about retirement?
My family and my volunteer work. My wife and I have four children and seven grandchildren. I always say that the two greatest moments in life are when you first have a child, and your baby reaches and squeezes your finger, and then, years later, when you first have a grandchild run into your arms.

It doesn’t get any better. I stay active in the Association because that’s my fun. I helped start the mentoring program between NSEA-Retired and our state student program, and this year we’ll have Nebraska  ’s first Outreach To Teach event. I’ve been retired since 1996, and I may have to stop and rest eventually—but not for now, because my next term on the board won’t be finished until 2011.

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