Meet NEARO's New Officers and Board Member
Three NEARO members relatively new to retirement have stepped up to fill leadership positions for the next two years.
The terms of all five NEARO officers and three of our six board members expired Dec. 31, 2014. Most of the incumbents sought reelection to new two-year terms and were declared elected by acclamation at the Dec. 10 membership meeting, since their seats were uncontested.
But stepping down after two terms of service was Joel Gewirtz, creating a presidential vacancy. The position of membership secretary had also been vacant for several months following the resignation of Edna Frady. Elected to fill those two important seats were Teresa Rankin and Tomas Saucedo, who introduce themselves below.
Incumbents Barry Abel and John Thurston were reelected to the two board seats reserved for NEARO members living more than 75 miles from NEA headquarters. Incumbent Dale Robinson stepped down from his “geographically unrestricted” board seat; elected to succeed him was Gloria Constant, also introduced below.
President Teresa Rankin
“I look forward to serving NEARO as your new president. For those who don't know me, I'm a native of Danville, VA, but Washington, DC, has been my adopted home for over 40 years. Before coming to NEA in 1985, I worked as an organizer for different AFL-CIO unions, starting with the J.P. Stevens boycott (think the film "Norma Rae).
I was the first full-time staffer with NEA's ESP (educational support personnel) program. I also worked for Urban Initiatives and two regional offices, all in the department (with name changes over the years) that directs field services at NEA.
I was privileged to serve as president of AFSE (Association of Field Staff Employees) from 2001 to 2009--years when we fought successfully for higher salaries, increased training for staff to help affiliates build their organizations, and partnered with NEARO, NEASO, and NSO to get the signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NEA management regarding full funding of our retirement plan.
I'm only a year into this new world of retirement, but already I see more time to read and write (old English major!), travel on my own schedule, foster dogs with the Washington Humane Society, and support progressive activities from voting rights at home to international labor and environmental rights. Unlike so many field staffers, I've continued to reside in one place—the northeast DC neighborhood called Brookland—and plan to remain here in retirement. I enjoy being outdoors, whether walking the dogs, biking, hiking, or swimming.
My main goals as your president will be to increase NEARO's membership and to partner with the current Association staff organizations to support the pension we've all worked hard to earn and enjoy.”
Membership Secretary Tomas Saucedo
“I look forward to working with the new NEARO leadership to achieve a significant increase in both membership and active engagement, especially among my segment: the large number of 2012 retirees. Perusing the current NEARO directory, I recognize many names--and think back to state and local affiliate staff I assisted with membership surveys but rarely met.
Starting in NEA Research in 1971 as a summer helper coding the national higher ed faculty survey, over the decades I had an extraordinary opportunity to cycle through all the NEA membership groups as I tracked opinions, aspirations, and demographic trends, including liaison work with the US censuses in 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.
I've also provided shared staff support to the National Council of La Raza and other national Hispanic groups, helping align their advocacy with NEA's toward the goal of improving student achievement. My stint in Government Relations--on the political action committee's data team, as well as helping develop the Voter Activation Network system and supporting NEA's efforts to elect President Obama—was unforgettable.
My wife, Moira (aka "UnionMaid"), still works at NEA, and I'm often in the building serving my last term as treasurer of the credit union. We spend major time caring for our adult son and networking with other parents of children with autism. I'm a tenor in our church choir and serve on its finance committee.”
Board Member Gloria Constant
“It pleases me to join the NEARO leadership team—and to continue my personal development by accepting this new and positive challenge. I bring to the Board my relaxed, confident, task-oriented, dependable, and conscientious qualities. I hope to be a voice especially for those NEARO members who are, as my friends call me, “young retired.”
I worked as the service and support manager in NEA’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department from 1983 until 2011. I also worked several years in Membership and Affiliates as the membership policy and convention system lead professional.
Since retiring I've become a community activist. I provide victim support as a volunteer with the Prince George’s County (MD) State’s Attorney’s Office and attend “community in the courthouse” meetings. I'm a member of the Accokeek Homeowners Alliance and the District IV Police Community Coffee Roundtable and am past president of my homeowners association. As a student member of the Saffron Dance Company, I dance with the Egyptian and Persian troupes, performing at Georgetown University's Gonda Theatre.
I travel extensively. I especially enjoy returning to Oxford, England—my home—and visiting family in Antigua, my father’s birthplace.”