January 8, 2023

Let’s Talk ESP Blog: Who’s Next?

Let’s Talk ESP Blog: Who’s Next? Featured Image

By Gail Kablau
Education Support Professional
WEAC ESP-at-Large Board Director

ESP members across the State received a memo, in November 2022, from Bob Baxter, WEAC Executive Director, about the process for electing the ESP-at-Large Representative to the WEAC Board of Directors. With this announcement, it also means that I am coming to the end of my term in that role, so I will not be running again. Who will be next? If you are in one of the nine support professions, I hope you will consider it.

I hope that those of you who have been leading your Locals will think about the possibility of running for this position. It’s important work. Without someone filling this seat, our voices are not represented in a State Board made up mostly of teachers. Our voice is critical to make sure that Education Support Professional (ESP) needs stay in the forefront of how we educate our students. Teachers can’t do it alone.

They need to hear how we are impacted when important decisions are made about our public schools. They need to understand the impact to students when budgets are cut on the backs of support staff. They need to understand the significance of each of us in educating the whole child. And they need to hear it from one of us.

At the end of my term, I will have been involved on the WEAC Board for two terms (6-years), through post Act 10 and COVID 19 – both of which were devastating to Education Support Professionals throughout the State. Act 10 eliminated a large number of our ESP locals, and COVID-19 left many ESP members out of a job with those remaining on an overload. Now that jobs are coming back, there aren’t enough people willing to do them for the low pay most are being offered. I am glad that WEAC is now focusing on equal and fair pay for all educators – we must get involved in that fight in each of our Locals.

Are you the next generation of ESP? Do you want to rebuild our Locals throughout the State? Do you want to elevate the profession? Then I encourage you to think about making a difference and run for this Board seat. Now that the holidays are behind us, and life gets closer to normal, I hope you will stop and reflect on what the Union means to you – to all of us. And then think about how you might be able to share your experience in a broader sense. The deadline to turn in submissions to run for this position is Feb. 1st, so there’s no time to waste.

My term is coming to a close, but my work on the Board is not done yet – I am still committed to rebuilding Locals throughout the State, working with the Board in moving forward the initiative for equal and fair pay, and speaking on behalf of all Wisconsin Education Support Professionals whenever I have the opportunity to do so, through the very end of my term (and probably beyond).

Will you be the one to whom I pass the baton? Do you want to learn more about how you can make an difference? Let’s Talk!

Gail Kablau is the WEAC Education Support Professional (ESP)-at-Large Board RepresentativeContact her at: gdkablau@gmail.com.