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The Traveling Teacher

During a teaching career that spanned 35 years, Wilhelmena Sapp traveled across the country and globe educating young American minds.

A former NEA Student member, Sapp first began her affiliation with the Association as a junior at Allen University in Columbia, S.C. She never looked back. Maybe that’s because a commitment to education and the teaching profession runs in her blood.

“My 99-year-old mother is NEA/SCEA-Retired and if, for no—though there are many—other reasons, I owe it to her to continue the legacy,” Sapp says.

Sapp spent the first 10 years of her career teaching in South Carolina, Maryland, and Alaska. She also spent more than two decades with the Department of Defense Education Agency DoDEA), educating military children on U.S. Army bases around the world.

“Lower class sizes,
parent involvement, true neighborhood schools, and funding all contributed to an ideal teaching experience in the DoDEA,” she says.

During her time away from the U.S., Sapp became actively involved with NEA and the Federal Education Association (FEA), the NEA affiliate for Department of Defense educators worldwide. She was a delegate to NEA’s Representative Assembly 18 times! Now retired, Sapp continues her involvement as a member of NEA/FEA-Retired.

Sapp is also active in her South Carolina community, participating in a symphony organization and frequently volunteering with local artistic and community theater efforts.

“The beauty of it all is that in retirement you do it because you want to—not because you have to—most of the time,” Sapp says.

                                               — Edward Graham


Pursuing His Passion

New Jersey educator David Brady and his wife Ann Leslie considered retirement locations together, but the final decision was left up to her. “It was her turn to live where she wanted,” Brady says.

 While discussing options, the couple decided they were too young for Florida. They thought about the Carolinas, but didn’t like the potential for hurricanes. When David’s brother and father-in-law mentioned Nevada, Brady and Ann decided to do a dry run. “We drove our motor home to Reno for a six-month trial so we could survey the housing market and the culture of Nevada,” says Brady. “Surprise! We found a house three months into our stay, bought it, and came back to New Jersey that spring so we could connect with family and spend the summer in our old house.”

Today, the Bradys spend winters in Reno and the warmer months in Chester, N.J. “I call us ‘humidity birds,’ not snow birds,” Brady jokes.

Unlike some retirees who continue working—but in a field different from the one in which they spent their careers—Brady happily pursues his own passions. “Working would impede the freedom to drive to Los Angeles or Oregon to see my ‘West Coast rats,’ or take that cruise, or enjoy a lunch ride with a group of friends,” he says.

A self-proclaimed “gym rat,” Brady is involved in local sports and has become a loyal fan of the University of Nevada-Reno’s football team. With the Sierra Nevada mountain range nearby, Brady also skis, hikes, snowmobiles, and follows his newest passion—motorcycling. He is a member of Reno’s Harley Owners Group, which rides through Nevada and California. Brady also rides in New Jersey during the summer.

Most of all, Brady enjoys spending time with his wife, Ann. “You might say that motorcycling is my passion, but I’m a traveler with my wife and we share many adventures in our new environment out West,” he says.

— Edward Graham



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