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Member Profiles

Wilhelmina “Pat” Ryan

Retired 1998

Taught Spanish, history, and physical education at Compton Senior High School in Long Beach, California. Total years teaching: 50! Served as building rep, local president, and state elected representative, and now serves on the board of the California Teachers Association.

What surprises people about you? I went to jail during a year-long strike in the 1980s for protesting our working conditions.

Favorite thing about retirement: The level of flexibility that I have now. I can volunteer—I’m a docent at a local historical site that dates back to when the Spanish were in California.

Best advice: Stay active! Join a retired group—help each other and make sure the things you worked for don’t erode. If you lose your history, you can easily lose a whole lot more.


Judy Foster

Retired 1995

Former language arts teacher at the middle school level from DeWitt, Michigan. Total years teaching: 34. Longtime NEA RA delegate and now vice president of the Michigan Education Association, Foster helped establish her state’s new teacher mentoring program.

Why did you join NEA-Retired? After 34 years of teaching, the union is really part of your life. Retirees nationwide have a lot of power . . . we should all be advocates for ourselves, as well as for the kids.

Where does your time go? I’m only 15 minutes from the MEA-Retired office, and I spend a lot of time there.  I help handle grants for MEA and write a monthly newsletter to chapter presidents. I’m active politically and write a lot of letters. And I have three grandsons, and I love to travel and do crafts.


Marguerite “Peg” Newburg

Retired 2000

Taught 31 years until retiring from her position as 8th-grade history teacher at Mt. Ararat High and Middle School in Maine. Now president of an active local and vice president of Maine Education Association-Retired.

Aside from your Association work, what keeps you busy?  I participate in a Living History program where I play the role of Miss Frost, a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in the year 1853.

How do students benefit from living history programs? They get to be a student from 1853: They dress up, eat dinner from a pail or basket, jump rope, and go to the outhouse. I love witnessing students learning the skills and ideas from long ago, especially students who may have difficulty in their real classroom.

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