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Member Profiles

Barbara Cunningham


I was a physical education instructor, primarily in high school, for 33 years in the Shenandoah Community School district in Shenandoah, Iowa.

For my last two years in the profession, I was a middle school counselor.

I am currently serving as Chair of ISEA-Retired, and I’m in my fifth term on the NEA Resolutions Committee.

How do you spend your time in retirement?

As ISEA-Retired chair, it is my job to spread the word that membership in the Retired Association is important, not only to stay involved in education, but to remain aware of other retirement issues.

It’s important that active members realize that they can stay involved and help out; you don’t leave your profession just because you retire.

My community still looks at me as a teacher, and they value my opinion in that way.


Eloy Gonzales


I served as a high school English teacher, principal, and lead teacher in New Mexico schools.

I was recently appointed to NEA’s Credentials Committee. Prior to retirement, I worked on a number of local, state, and national committees, including the first NEA National Minorities Leaders Training Cadre. 


What is the best thing about retirement?

The best part about retirement is my flexible schedule. I now realize how structured my day was for the 32 years I spent as an educator. I love spending time at the beach, and I like to read anything pertaining to education.

I loved being a teacher. Who else can say they’re part of the profession that makes all the other professions possible? I constantly have contact with former students who keep me up-to-date on what’s going on. I still love them, and I still believe in them.


Dottie Beeler


I taught high school math for 34 years at Oak Lawn Community High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. I served on the NEA Resolutions committee and am currently president of the South Suburban IEA-Retired Educators Association and a board member of the Illinois Retired Council. 

How is your retirement so far?

I am having a wonderful retirement, and volunteering with many organizations. I often go with the IEA-Retired to Springfield to lobby for such educational issues as teacher salaries.

We try to help educators by lobbying during the week when most of them are in the classroom.

 I also am a part of the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE), which works for local education-friendly candidates. 

 When I am not lobbying, I tutor students, and I also get to spend a lot of time with family—especially with my four grandkids, who keep me busy with field trips and activities.

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