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Member & Activist Spotlight

'When I decided to teach, I knew I had to join'

Timothy Lyons is a Language Arts and Life Science teacher in Hephzibah, Georgia.
Timothy Lyons
Published: June 2, 2023

This is my fourth-year teaching, and I have the best group of students. I have taken a lot of loss this school year, and my students—not knowing what I had going on—have picked me up. And so, I know it's always my job to be there to pick them up. They know that if they need anything, they can call me or walk in my classroom. Knock on the door if I'm in a meeting and interrupt.

Being a part the union helps me be a voice for my students and for other educators. I’ve always known about the value of the union. My mom has been a member for over 10 years. I've seen the information come in the mail at home and she always talks about how good the union is.

Timothy Lyons

When I decided to teach, I knew I had to join. It's only right. But I was having a hard time connecting with the right people. While I was working at my part-time job at a hotel, I was checking-in some individuals. One of them was the executive director of the Georgia Association of Educators, Dr. Craig Carter. We were talking, and I told him how I was a teacher. He was like, ‘Oh, you should join the union." He signed me up in the lobby of the hotel and the rest has been history.

I am a member organizer and have been working hard to sign up educators in my building. I want everyone to be a part of the union. I believe there is power in numbers and if someone is having an issue, I want to make sure they're okay and feel supported the way I have been supported.

My union, the Richmond County Association of Educators, supports me in multiple ways. They support me as a new educator, as well as others who are coming in. There is professional development and opportunities for us to come together to collaborate, talk about what's going on in our school buildings, and what we need to do to fix the issues.

Timothy Lyons

My favorite thing about being a part of the union is interacting with new and existing members. I am a people person. But I also like that I can go out and organize new members—speak to people who are not a part of the union and let them know how the union provides opportunities to develop as a professional and supports its members.

It's important for me to grow the union because we can't do it alone. There are people who want to be a part of change, and all it takes is for someone to ask: ‘Would you like to be a part of the union? This is what you can do and what we can accomplish together.’

I look forward to seeing where I will be and where the union will be in the next five to 10 years because of the impact that it's continuing to have on me and others in the educational setting.

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.