President Sarah—as she is fondly known—did indeed lead. During her impactful two terms, spanning from Sept. 1, 2017 – Aug. 31, 2023, she has advocated tirelessly for NEA-Retired members.
“Sarah, your courage and your creativity, your boldness and your braveness, your willingness to be direct and decisive are woven throughout not just NEA-Retired, but also NEA,” said NEA President Becky Pringle, paying tribute to Sarah at the meeting.
The technology president
From the beginning, President Sarah pushed for greater recognition and inclusion of Retired members within NEA. She has dedicated her presidency to lifting members’ voices and making a difference on the issues that are most important to them: public schools, students, retiree pensions, and electing friends of education.
President Sarah knew that communication was key to achieving these goals and quickly became known as the “technology president.”
She began writing a monthly “President to President” email newsletter to improve communication with state presidents. In turn, NEA-Retired state presidents started sending monthly email newsletters—which often included Borgman’s well-known “Sarah Says” column—to keep members informed about the association’s activities.
When COVID-19 struck, in March 2020, President Sarah and her leadership team quickly pivoted the organization to virtual meetings and even held the Retired Annual Meeting in virtual and hybrid formats to ensure that the business of NEA-Retired continued.
With the 2020 presidential election looming and the pandemic still raging, President Sarah and her leadership team held trainings so members could help get out the vote remotely, through apps, text messaging, postcards, and phone calls. The activism of current and former educators went a long way toward electing Joe Biden, the most pro-union and pro-public education president in recent history.
Supporting retirees and pro-public education lawmakers
President Sarah also delivered on her promise to make Congress stand up and take notice of the need to end the Government Pensions Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. These troubling measures deprive many public service employees—including many retired educators—of the Social Security benefits they earned.
Under President Sarah’s leadership, NEA-Retired launched the annual GPO/WEP Day of Action. This year, on May 16, NEA-Retired members sent more than 10,585 emails to their members of Congress and made more than 130 in-person visits to congressional offices.
“We will not give up on the wiping out and stealing of our members’ money through GPO/WEP!” President Sarah declared, in her speech at the Annual Meeting.
She has also championed NEA’s political action committee, raising funds at record levels—more than $220,000 during each year of her presidency!—to support candidates who are friends of education.
NEA-Retired and NEA leaders paid glowing tribute to President Sarah’s accomplishments.
Pringle captured the sentiment of the entire crowd, saying, “Thank you for your leadership, your vision, and your partnership during these unprecedented times. We love you, Sarah!”