Dennis Van Roekel, Paula Monroe
Paula Monroe is National ESP of the Year
Most education support professionals know Paula. Ask any of the 1,000 attendees of NEA’s ESP Conference in San Francisco about Paula Monroe and just about everyone will know the name or recognize the face.
In her 26 years with the Redlands Unified School District in California, she compiled an impressive record of local, state and national association service. Monroe added to her stature by being named the 2014 NEA ESP of the Year.
In his introduction, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel praised Monroe for mentoring other school support staff and for her volunteer activities with organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America and the Adopt-a-Family program. “ESPs have never had a greater champion than Paula Monroe,” he added, presenting her with a trophy and a $10,000 check.
Monroe campaigned for years to have ESPs admitted as full CTA members. In 2006, CTA changed its bylaws and included 5,000 ESPs as full members. “That was a big thing to me,” an emotional Monroe said from the podium.
“Paula understood for ESPs to have a voice in CTA, there had to be a network of committed members who would be willing to work with teachers and CTA leadership as equals,” said CTA President Dean Vogel in his written nomination of Monroe for the award. “This is consistent with her personal values and those of the union.”
In 2000, Monroe made CTA history as the first education support professional to be nominated by State Council for the position of NEA Executive Committee member, and she recently completed her second term. She is a founding member of the National Coalition of Classified Employees, which is a voice for 1 million classified school support employees.