Takeaways from NEA-SP SLC


Read what our ambassadors learned at NEA-SP SLC!

“At this year’s NEA SLC in Washington D.C., I attended Keynote Speaker David Johns’ presentation ‘The White House’s Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.’ He discussed institutional racism in various schools and states, and it was truly eye opening for me. Oftentimes you do not realize that institutional racism is occurring in your schools, but hearing the perspective – the perspective of someone on the outside looking in – makes you realize this has, in fact, been happening all along. It is up to future teachers to help make a difference and make a real change.”
– Morgan Ivich, Seton Hall University

“While at the NEA SLC in Washington D.C., I came across the following quote: We are not in it for the income. We are in it for the outcome. This quote, to me, describes what it means to join the teaching career, as we care immensely about our students and want to help them grow, and it also unites us – preservice and current teachers – as a unique force to be reckoned with. It encourages all members to join together because together we can achieve our goal of enlightening, inspiring, and teaching our students.”
– Jennifer Fagan, Rowan University

“This was my third Summer Leadership Conference with NJSEA, and it was one of the most powerful conferences I have been able to attend. David Johns’s keynote presentation about institutional racism sparked meaningful conversation about inclusion and the need for teachers to recognize their own biases that they bring into the classroom. It initiated interactions and critical conversations between preservice and full-time members. In the future, I plan to work in an urban district, so the conversations I was able to take part in from this presentation were thought-provoking and powerful, and I plan to apply what I learned from this experience into a classroom of my own next year. At the SLC, each and every NJSEA will learn something important that they can apply in their pedagogy, and I encourage members to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Melany Reyes, Fairleigh Dickinson University

“Being a chair and ambassador with NJSEA led to me becoming an NEA fellow, and being a fellow has led to so many opportunities that I would have never imagined. At this year’s SLC, I presented on my organizing fellowship for membership. Both NJSEA and NEA have taught me to take every opportunity that comes my way. Don’t be afraid to dream big, and you should never underestimate yourself and the power you have as a preservice educator.” – Samantha Selikoff, The College of New Jersey

“SLC this year taught me a lot about what it means to be a leader. Leadership is not about being a great public speaker or being the person in charge that tells everyone what to do. Being a leader means putting the needs of others at the forefront and standing up for those who do not have a voice. It means speaking up in difficult situations when unjust actions are taking place and being a role model for those around you. Some do not think they can be leaders or simply do not try to step out of their comfort zone to be one, but for those that do – they have the ability to rise strong and make a difference and be the change.”Cassidy Burns, Seton Hall University

“This was my first time attending SLC and the Legacy Project, and it was remarkable. The experiences I had working collaboratively with preservice members from across the nation was invaluable. I gained many new perspectives to take with me through my educational career and future teaching. I hope to have more experiences through NJSEA like this one, and I would highly recommend it to other education majors out there.”Ally Pruchnik, Stockton University

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“At the SLC, there was a large social media presence and discussion about social media. Through this experience, I learned that while social media can be great for discussion, spreading ideas, and earning Professional Development, as educators we must always remember there is a fine line between our personal and professional life when it comes to social media. No post is worth losing your career.” – Nicole Breccia, The College of New Jersey

img_6591“This was my first time attending the NEA-SP SLC, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to talk to numerous educators from varying backgrounds and experiences. Washington, D.C., was a fitting place for this conference as we all demonstrated our own leadership skills in the home of leadership itself, and it was especially powerful as the approaching presidential election is mere months away. There were various informational breakout sessions I attended that contained important knowledge for my future career, but the nightly monument walks were just as invaluable for me. I was one of the youngest and newest members at the SLC, and these walks helped me make priceless connections with members of the NJSEA group. I will never forget running through the pouring rain and crowding under a statue with not only NJSEA delegates but also Illinois delegates. From volunteering (and dancing) at the Legacy Project to witnessing the democratic process of the Representative Assembly in five runoff elections, I have learned an enormous amount about leadership that will stick with me through my educational career and future teaching. Every person matters – that is precisely what this conference has taught me about what it means to be in the field of public education.” – Kelly Donnelly, Rutgers University


“As a member of the NJSEA Delegation that attended the NEA-SLC in Washington, D.C., I was given the opportunity to actively participate in a conversation that addressed the ongoing issues of institutionalized racism within our schools across the United States. During this session, aspiring and current educators joined together to share their personal experiences of racial injustice, give insight on how to honor the diverse backgrounds of our students, and empower each other to help demonstrate anti-racist values. Through this event, I realized the great amount of courage that is necessary for teachers to advocate for student equality and combat institutional racism. It is an extraordinary responsibility that educators have to instill values of love and acceptance within students to help make this world a better, brighter, and safer place.” – Lian Refol, Montclair State University

“At the SLC, I had the chance to meet preservice educators from across the country, and it was truly awe-inspiring to be around so many people that are experiencing the same journey I am going through. I was able to make connections and now feel I have a strong group I can lean on for support. Exploring D.C. with new friends helped bring a sense of unity to the group, and we were able to learn more about our nation’s history, which will aid in us creating a better future for education as we can include real world issues and history into our classroom discussions.” – Allison Plishka, Montclair State University

Were you at SLC? What were you experiences and takeaways?


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