Together at last!
The NEA Representative Assembly (RA) votes to extend full membership rights to “Educational Support Personnel.” This vote opened the door for the NEA to begin representing the entire school community, and lead to ESP membership growing from 15,000 to more than 160,000 over the next decade.
Leading in the Association
Alabama and Michigan become the first two states to elect ESP members to the NEA Board of Directors. Trailblazers for ESP causes, Peggy McDanal, a senior accountant from Alabama, and Peggy Brown, a secretary from Michigan, began to advocate for expanding representation.
Two years later that work paid off. The 1983 NEA Representative Assembly votes to establish an ESP At-Large position on the NEA Board of Directors. Nancy Marrone from Maine becomes the first ESP member to fill the new Board role.
The inaugural NEA ESP Conference is held in Washington, D.C., giving ESP members around the country a platform to connect with others, organize around central priorities, and set goals for future growth.
(Photo from 2019 NEA ESP Conference)
NEA establishes National Education Support Personnel Day to celebrate the contributions of ESPs to the nation’s students and our union.
An Essential Workforce
ESP Membership grows from 184,000 to over 297,000.
Resolutions are passed at the 1990 and 1991 RAs that highlight the essential role of ESPs in enhancing the learning environment and education process as well as recognizing ESP contributions as positive role models for students and the NEA.
The NEA ESP of the Year Awards program is established to recognize the outstanding contribution of an ESP member to their schools, communities, and profession. Peggy Bertollo, a paraeducator from Delaware, becomes the first awardee in 1992.
The ESP of the Year serves as an ambassador for Education Support Professionals around the country, promoting the value of ESP members at national and state conferences.
NCESP is Established
The National Council for Educational Support Personnel is established. Karl Bell, a custodian from Southfield, MI, becomes the first president.
ESPs Continue Leading
Iona Holloway, a paraeducator from Louisiana, becomes the first ESP member elected to the NEA Executive Committee.
Professionalizing ESP Careers
The NEA RA passes New Business Item 8 to officially change the term “Educational Support Personnel” to “Education Support Professional” after ESP members led a successful campaign to codify a truth known by all – that ESP jobs are professional and high skilled careers.
Leaders for Tomorrow
NEA graduates the first class of ESP Leaders for Tomorrow, a training program specifically designed for ESP members to grow their skills and roles as effective leaders in their associations. The program, now named ESP Leadership Institute
, still runs strong today.
Partnership with the First Lady
ESPs partner with first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce childhood obesity through endorsement of the My Plate school food guidelines.
ESP Professional Growth
The NEA RA adopts a New Business Item to engage members and experts in the design of an ESP professional continuum model. This solidified NEA’s commitment to ESP careers and resulted in the first-ever ESP Professional Growth Continuum developed by ESPs, for ESPs that launched in 2017.
Champions of Change
Five NEA ESP members are awarded the White House Champion of Change recognition: Jeanette Griffin-Kimber (AZ), Cynthia Tercero-Sandoval (AZ), Doreen McGuire-Grigg (CA), Annie McClintock (NY), and Ted Chaudoir (WI)
ESPs on the Global Stage
Education International holds the inaugural ESP conference in Brussels, Belgium with more than 60 educators from 36 other countries in attendance. At the conference, the first worldwide ESP Day is created.
Bill Establishes Federal Recognition of ESPs
The Recognizing Achievement in Classified School Employees Act (RISE) is signed into federal law. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, RISE acknowledges the outstanding contributions of ESPs to the nation’s public schools and the students they serve.
Strengthening Communities during a Global Pandemic
NEA celebrates 40 years of ESP gains and achievements, as ESPs continue to protect our communities on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.