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Member Spotlight

Shaniqua Williams: When Educators Stand Together We Make the World Work

Shaniqua Williams, a school counselor in Frederick County, Virginia, shares why she believes that every person in the education system is connected.
Member Spotlight Shaniqua Williams
Published: 10/01/2020

It was the last class of my graduate program. The professor, who was my director of school counseling, told us to make sure to join our professional organization when we land our first job. She didn’t promote one group over another. She just said ‘join your professional organization.’ 

When I went to my new teacher orientation for Fredrick County Public Schools in Virginia, one of the speakers at the podium said, ‘We are your professional organization.’ I piped up and thought, ‘Oh, wow! She's talking to me! I remember this conversation with my teacher.’ 

I went to talk to her after the meeting. We talked about what the Virginia Education Association could do for you as an employee and what kind of support you could get as a first-year educator. 

While I signed up right away, I was a silent member. I would only read the information that was sent out because I was just trying to make my way through my first year—and then I attended my first VEA function and it all changed from there. 

I went to the VEA convention and was amazed at what I saw. It was so inclusive. I met bus drivers, paraprofessional, and other school counselors. I learned about issues that I wouldn’t have known had I not heard from my colleagues across the state—and that’s one of the benefits of belonging to VEA.  

I love being able to network with educators outside of my school district and being with like-minded people. It’s helped me realize that the issues that affect other educators also impacts me. 

I may not be a classified or an education support professional, but I’m still going to stand with you. Every person in education is important to make the world work. 


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.