Nov. 27, 2018
Congratulations ESP STAR Award recipients
Sheldon Harris
Lyons Township Paraeducators Association
Region 59

Sheldon Harris, ESP STAR Award recipient, is a paraeducator at Lyons Township High School.

Sheldon is always working to meet the needs of not only his students, but all those in the classroom who can benefit from his insight. As a 10-plus year veteran of education, he lays out thoughtful options for students to help them with their schoolwork as well as the many emotional needs that students struggle with on a regular basis.

Colleagues describe Sheldon as firm but also compassionate. He encounters every obstacle with a win-win attitude, working alongside his students to help them succeed. And, his great work doesn’t end when school lets out for the day. Sheldon is an assistant football coach and above all else a wonderful role model. Congratulations Sheldon!

Travis Simmons
Pontiac Education Association #429
Region 62

Travis Simmons, ESP STAR Award recipient, is the building assistant, ISS supervisor and a coach at Pontiac Junior High School.

Travis has been involved in education for many years as a substitute teacher, a teaching assistant working with behaviorally challenged students in alternative schools and as a crossing guard while at the elementary school.

Recently assigned to the junior high school, Travis is the in-school suspension supervisor, building assistant and lunchroom supervisor. Staff members find Travis to be an integral part of their classroom. Aside from his daily responsibilities in the classroom, Travis is also a track coach and helps with the cross country team, as needed.

Travis has been on both sides of a union. As a former Caterpillar employee, he knew how important unions were for employee rights. Working in the education field, he knows how important his local is for the well-being of students and staff. Congratulations Travis!

The ESP Council created the ESP STARS program to allow local leaders to recognize and publicize the good work of their ESP members across the state.

Please use the online form to nominate members of your local association for an ESP STAR!

ESP STARS online nomination form

ESP Council and Assembly meetings
If you are interested in hosting an ESP Assembly at an IEA office in your area, please email ESP Council chair Alex Wallace.

Stay connected to other ESPs in all job categories by following the IEA­ Education Support Professionals Caucus on Facebook and visit the ESP page on the IEA website.

ESP Connections Network
ESP Connections held their first Let’s Talk on Sat., Nov. 3 at the IEA Lombard office. Let’s Talk is an informal gathering of ESP members who wish to share and collaborate on matters that relate to ESP’s within their respective locals. The next Let’s Talk will be held Jan. 12, 10:00 a.m. to noon at the IEA Naperville office (west wing conference room). All ESPs are invited to join this informal group to network, make new friends and share ideas.
Pictured left to right: Tim Elliott, Leticia Childs, Cindy Layton, Keri Johnson and Dawn Hamelberg.
Follow ESP Connections: Like us on Facebook

ESP Connections seeks to easily link IEA Educational Support Professionals with existing IEA/NEA resources, as well as create new resources and provide a private forum to professionally discuss ESP issues.

Awards and scholarships
2019 IEA ESP of the Year award
The purpose of the award is to recognize an education support professional who has shown outstanding accomplishments in the following areas:

  • Involvement in his/her local, state and/or national association,
  • ​Achievements in his/her professional classification,
  • Promoting public education in the community, and/or
  • Enhancement of the image of ESPs in the association, worksite or community.
An ESP must be nominated by his/her local association president, leadership within the nominee’s local IEA office or by a member of the IEA Board of Directors.

Nominations are due Jan. 18.

The 2019 IEA ESP of the Year online nomination form and downloadable form can both be found on the IEA website.

SCORE grants
ESPs in their first 10 years in any IEA local are eligible to apply for a SCORE grant. If partners or trios of IEA members apply together, at least one of the applicants should be within their first 10 years of membership. Find out more and view past SCORE grant awards.

Online applications are due Jan. 21.

Stacey Burroughs Education Scholarship – $2,500 for college

  • Applicants must be graduating seniors heading to college.
  • Applicants must have at least one parent or legal guardian who is a school employee.
  • Scholarship is awarded based on academic achievement, career goals and character.


Applications are due Jan. 31.

ESP leadership training opportunity
The Illinois Education Association is partnering with the National Education Association to provide an IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy (ESP-ELA) based on the highly successful NEA Leaders for Tomorrow program (LFT). The ESP-ELA was developed to provide support and leadership training for IEA’s emerging ESP leaders.

Applications will be accepted by email and must arrive by close of business on Friday, Dec. 21.

Additional information and application:

Submit applications by email to:
IEA-NEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy
Leadership Team

c/o Crystal Bush:
Proud of our ESPs!
Pictured left to right: Secretary Amy Weber, President Tricia Lueker, Vice President Leatreasa Lilly-Madison (all three are building secretaries), Treasurer Donovan Burk and Regional Council Rep Phillip Wallen (both special education aides). Not pictured is instructional aide Joan Rogers, elected RCR alternate. 
The Carbondale Educational Support Professionals Association-IEA/NEA (CESPA) has its first set of local officers! At their maiden general membership meeting Nov.1, members ratified local bylaws and then elected CESPA’s Executive Committee. CESPA is the newest affiliate of Region 2, served out of the IEA Carterville Office. They will partner with the longstanding Carbondale Education Association which represents teachers and other certified employees of Carbondale Elementary District #95. The ESP local representing nearly 100 aides, paraprofessionals,  secretaries, cooks and maintenance staff organized last spring with overwheling support.

Submitted by IEA Organizer Dave Vitoff

Highlights from National ESP Day – Nov. 14
Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) ESPs celebrate National ESP Day!

Watch this video on the NEA-ESP Facebook page.

Happy ESP Day from NEA staff!

ESP resources
ESP resources at your fingertips

The NEA ESP Quality Department’s goal is to provide ESP members with resources that assist them in elevating their careers. NEA’s resource page contains ESP specific resources including websites, articles and career information on specific ESP job categories.

Save the dates!
Feb. 9: IEA ESP Assembly
IEA Elgin office
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Mar. 22-24: NEA ESP Conference
Bally’s Hotel, Las Vegas

Apr. 11-13: IEA Representative Assembly
Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont

Member benefits and discounts
Educator savings from Access (an IEA partner)
Find hundreds of deals in your area and beyond.

See how much you can save on just a few purchases with the savings estimator!

Do you have questions about your membership or need help logging in to Members Only?

Contact IEA Connect by phone, email or live chat, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Proposed bylaw amendments for 2019 IEA RA
Proposed bylaw amendments must be received by the IEA Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, in care of the President’s Office, Illinois Education Association, 100 E. Edwards Street, Springfield, IL 62704-1999, no later than 5 p.m. CST, Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. This will enable the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee to prepare the proposed bylaw amendments for presentation to the executive committee and to post on the association website.
Proposed bylaw amendments submitted after the Jan. 9 deadline will not be posted on the website, and therefore, will need a three-fourths vote for passage at the Representative Assembly. Forms were sent to the IEA Board of Directors in September and are available on the IEA website in the Members Only section under About/Bylaws, Values and Visions, and will be available from the Springfield legal services office at headquarters.

Every local should review its bylaws at least every five years. The Bylaws and Resolutions Committee updated the Model Local Bylaws in the fall of 2018 as part of its guidance to help locals revise their current bylaws. The guidance includes a resource booklet on Model Local Bylaws, a checklist to help review your bylaws, two narrated PowerPoint presentations and a webinar on local bylaws. These resources also can be found under the Bylaws, Values and Vision section of the IEA website by logging in to Members Only. Please let Paul Gamboa know if you would like a committee member to attend a Region meeting to help locals review and revise their bylaws.

If you have questions, please email Paul Gamboa, chairperson, Bylaws and Resolutions Committee or call him at 630-363-5852.

Tell us your story!
You can tell the story, too!
When you organize or participate in an event involving ESPs or hear of such an event, please send us the Who, What, When, Where, Why and a photo to Arlene Criglar or use the online report form.

Stories are due Dec. 13 for the December ESP insider.