Jo Anne Iwane
I taught kindergarten and sixth grade for almost 30 years, as well as early childhood classes at the undergraduate level. I’ve always been involved with my local chapter of the Hawaii State Teachers Association-Retired, finishing my two-year term on the Board of Directors.
Why did you join NEA-Retired?
It was just a continuation of my activism. Joining NEA-Retired was a natural segue. I enjoyed being active as a teacher, and we need to maintain all the gains we made in education for future teachers and retirees.
I work part-time as a student teaching supervisor for the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and I have a daughter and son-in-law who both teach. When they retire 20 years from now, I want to make sure they are able to enjoy the benefits of their hard work.
I worked 25 years in the Las Cruces Public School System in New Mexico, teaching fifth and sixth grades as well as children with special needs. Prior to that, I taught first grade in Columbus, Georgia and Melbourne, Florida. As an NEA member, I served as a local leader for various offices and a state delegate. I am beginning my third term as the Southwest Regional Director for NEA New Mexico-Retired.
What’s best about retirement?
I love retirement so much. I enjoy being free to pursue my hobbies such as golfing and playing bridge, as well as continuing my efforts to support candidates at the local, state and national level who are pro-education. In the last election, I worked for President Barack Obama’s campaign to organize retired teachers. Being active in NEA is always rewarding; in 2008, I was named to the Southwest Region NEA-New Mexico State Hall of Fame.
I served in the military for more than 20 years before I began teaching fourth and fifth grade as a bilingual teacher at Safford Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. For 20 years I was in the same school, same classroom.
How do you stay connected to education?
This is my second year participating in Arizona Education Association-Retired’s intergenerational mentoring program, which is called IMPACT. Retired members are paired with college juniors who are planning to become teachers.
We’re there basically to act as a listening board and sometimes to give advice—but we try to just listen. Right now, because of layoffs, it’s very hectic for a lot of students who are wondering if they want to go for it.
Our job is to try to remind them that teaching is a wonderful profession and will always be here.