Welcome to the start of another school year! The summer really goes fast, doesn’t it? For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Ellen Ogintz and I’m president of the East Windsor Education Association. I think I spent MY whole summer either on Facebook, playing “Cookie Jam” or shopping on QVC!
To begin, ALL of us in the East Windsor Education Association join me in once again welcoming our new members to the association. We’ve all been where you are right now, and will do everything possible to help you. We are your school family.
Secondly, to our veterans, welcome back! As much as I enjoy the summer, it is good to be back here with my EWEA family.
And just like any other family, we may not always see eye-to-eye, but we are connected and support each other in good times and bad. That support comes from your EWEA officers as well as from colleagues in your building every day… your Building Reps and Association Reps.
The start of a new school year is a wonderful time to celebrate the great work we do, and to join together as we face another year – and another group of children whose futures we will help shape. There is an old saying, “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” It’s true, our members give so much of themselves to ensure that our students have the resources and support they need to be successful in life and in school.
And that’s why we are here …and we ALL have that ONE fundamental thing in common. We’re ALL educators, and we’re ALL proud to serve the children of the East Windsor Regional School District.
The work we do during the school day, after the school day ends, on nights, weekends, and even during the summer is VITAL to the future of our students, and to the future of society. This is an ENORMOUS responsibility and one we proudly accept, despite the challenges we are facing.
That’s why it is so important to have a strong association like EWEA behind us.
Your association is working hard for you so you can focus on taking care of the things that matter. We’re here to protect your RIGHTS … to make sure you are treated FAIRLY and PROFESSIONALLY… and to help you become the very BEST you can be at the work you DO. We are also here to make sure you are working under a fairly negotiated contract. And, after 100 hours, a lot of “potty mouths” as well as “playing nicely”, we BROUGHT YOU and you ratified an excellent contract that will hold us until 2019.
There are many challenges we’ll ALL face this year and in the years to come. Please know that we are not alone. As NJEA members we have 203,000 colleagues in the state who share the same challenges and the same goals.
Our NJEA membership also makes us part of the most powerful education association in the country AND the most powerful union in the state. And we are powerful because we are UNITED.
It’s a new year. Some things we can EXPECT. Some things will come as a SURPRISE. But one thing we can all count on is our COLLECTIVE strength, wisdom, and dedication.
Only we – professional educators – know how to make our public schools great. We know which reforms truly work and we know which ones don’t. We know how to motivate students. We know what resources our schools need to serve our students. So WE should lead the way. We deserve respect, we deserve recognition, and we deserve a voice.
We need to lead the dialogue about public education instead of just responding to the accusations of our critics who have no background in education.
I know our members. I know that you care far too much to let any governor or any legislator diminish the quality of our schools. I know that when we call upon you to act…whether it be with a phone call, an email, a letter, a visit where you can speak up, you will be there.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.
I know where all of YOU stand…and I stand with you.
So, welcome to the 2016-2017 school year.
A new school year…and together it can be a GREAT school year.
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