INTERVIEWER: As one of our newest ambassadors, I’m assuming you were part of your local chapter prior to joining us at the state level. How were you involved with your local chapter at Montclair State before you become a state ambassador? What was that experience like?
JONATHAN FEIG: I stated attending NJSEA events at Montclair State University this past spring semester, and then I decided to join NJSEA at the state level. That first meeting I attended provided me with a lot of new information to take in at once, such as the numerous events and benefits. It was and still is a learning process for me because I am still so new to the organization, but it has been an enjoyable one thus far with the NJSEA team at Montclair State. We have a large and active leadership team. A good number of the local members are also involved at the state level, so I know they will help me each step of the way as I learn more about the organization. The spring semester was also the semester that I was accepted into the DD/DC K-6 education program at Montclair, so that semester was a very busy and exciting one for me.
INTERVIEWER: That is great that you have such a supportive team at the local chapter. Like being a teacher, being an NJSEA ambassador is constantly a learning experience. What exactly made you want to go from a local member to a state ambassador?
FEIG: After the great times I had attending meetings and events at Montclair State, I was made aware of the opportunity to apply as a state ambassador. I did more research on my own, and I quickly realized that becoming a state ambassador was exactly the type of leadership experience I was looking for when I joined Montclair State in the first place. I want to become a better teacher for my students and become in advocate for both them and others in my profession, so advancing my leadership skills was a major reason for me to join. The various professional development and leadership opportunities, such as the Atlantic City Convention and the other scholarship conferences available, were too good to pass up.
INTERVIEWER: I think NJSEA is the perfect organization to help you improve yourself as a leader. What else do you hope to learn from NJSEA? And what do you hope you can add to the NJSEA community?
FEIG: Other than furthering my leadership, I hope to gain insight into the world of education that I wouldn’t receive through my college program alone. There are a lot of politics and policy that I’d like to learn more about because it is important that every teacher knows their rights. In return, I hope that I can contribute to the NJSEA community by using my creativity and my ability to think outside of the box to aid in our goals and endeavors throughout the year, both at local and state levels.
INTERVIEWER: This is probably a question you get often, but it is still an important one. Why did you become an education major?
FEIG: For the majority of my life, the pursuit of education and knowledge has always been one of my foremost passions, and as a kid, I used to love to come home from school and share everything I learned with my mom. Education was something that resonated with me throughout my childhood. Then, early on in high school, I started working at School #13 in Clifton as an after school care counselor. My experience working with the students and witnessing their joy when they understood a concept for the first time really sold me on a career in early education.
INTERVIEWER: Is there anything you’d like to tell NJSEA ambassadors about yourself? Any hobbies or interests outside of education?
FEIG: Reading and drawing are my two biggest hobbies, and I will stop and doodle you a picture upon request at any time!