(Picture from Lobby Day, 2020)
Within our profession, there may be no role more vital, yet uncelebrated, than an Education Support Professional (ESP). In their myriad functions to support our schools, our students, and our communities throughout this crisis, we have seen how much we depend on their adaptability and selflessness. What sets the #SEAofRED apart from other locals is our belief that we truly are a family, where everyone has a voice and an opportunity to lead, including our ESPs. In comes Laura Brewer. Laura faced a remarkable challenge when our transportation staff was at a tipping point regarding their compensation and treatment. Her leadership resulted in pay raises and greater dignity protections enacted within an unheard of timeline. Laura was an integral part of securing transportation and leave for any SCPS employee who participated in Lobby Day, where the #SEAofRED dominated in its collective presence. As a Driver, Laura continues to deliver countless meals to our students and families. On her off time, she makes house calls to members. After her election to the Executive Board, Laura took on roles for membership outreach and leading the building representatives. She has fully embraced the steep learning curves of collective bargaining, member organizing, civic engagement, political activism, and local/state policies. Laura is preparing language for new state code to further protect and empower Educators. And right now, as of this post, Laura is spending her New Years’ Eve organizing meals for a member in need. Laura embodies the highest value in leadership: caring for all through relentless dedication to serve others before herself. That no act of kindness is too small, and that just a few extra seconds of time can change another’s world. That intrinsic devotion lies at the heart of every ESP in SCPS, and it shines beautifully through Laura’s example. Upon review of the qualifications, her record of service, and bright potential ahead, it is the SEA Executive Board’s honor to nominate Laura to represent Stafford and the Commonwealth as the VEA 2021 ESP of the Year. Congratulations, and thank you for everything, Laura!