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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our District 203 IEA members, including those in NUEA, NESPA, NTA, and NUMA.

We would like to thank all of the union employees who work tirelessly to give students the best educational experiences possible. We know that high achievement does not occur in isolation, and on this Thanksgiving Holiday, we want to express our sincere gratitude to those who make our district a great place to live, work, and play!

NUEA and D203 Welcome New Teachers

The NUEA and District 203 welcomed new teachers into the district on Friday, August 12, at a breakfast held at Meson Sabika in Naperville. New teachers were joined by building principals, NUEA building representatives, NUEA executive board members, and District 203 school board members.

Speakers included the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Jayne Willard, Chief Human Resources Officer Bob Ross, NUEA President Ross Berkley, the Executive Director of the Naperville Education Foundation Wendy Goettsch, and Superintendent Dan Bridges.

A common theme throughout the breakfast was the importance of fostering supportive and collaborative relationships between all stakeholders. Speakers spoke about past collaborations and gave advice for fostering great relationships with upcoming students. This positive message carried with attendees into the first day of school for students, August 17, 2023.

D203 Teacher Union Awards Scholarships

Students honored for their Community Contributions

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each.  The Naperville-based teachers’ union annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of members, and one scholarship to an education major in their third year of study.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community. These scholarships were awarded in April, 2023.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Mark Park from Naperville Central High School, Felicity Abbott from Glenbard South High School, and Elijah Matas from Lake Park High School. The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Maria Gabrielli from Loyola University-Chicago.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors.  The Future in Education Award was added to help support a collegiate student entering the field of education.  The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support provided to the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Mark Park

This fall, Mark will be attending Saint Louis University with a major in entrepreneurship within their Business Scholars Program.  As a student at Naperville Central, Mark participated in Drum Show, Marching Band, Concert Band, and gave private lessons to percussion students at all levels.  Mark launched several start-up businesses, including Scent Snacks, Melo, and Redhawk Records. Mark is the Vice-President of the Naperville Central chapter of DECA, an international organization which prepares future business leaders in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. 

Mark also excelled in his pursuits outside of NCHS.  He is active as a worship team leader at his church.  Additionally, he is the Vice President of Finance for the Naperville Children’s Business Fair.  Despite all of that, he still found time to work as a busser at Meson Sabika/Santo Cielo.  He also served on the ALIVE Teen Advisory Board as the co-leader of the Diversity Committee.  Mark’s wide array of experiences make him an ideal candidate for this scholarship. 

Felicity Abbott

Felicity will be attending the University of Illinois in the College of Media this fall.  She is an artistic athlete, excelling at both sports and the arts while a student at Glenbard North High School.  Athletically, Felicity played tennis during her junior and senior year.  She also played volleyball for three years and basketball for all four years.  Perhaps most impressive, however, was her leadership as a soccer player, earning JV Captain during her sophomore and junior years.

Even with her busy schedule, she still found time to excel musically and academically.  Felicity played in the orchestra for all four years of high school.  Additionally, she served in several leadership roles for Best Buddies and Student Council.   She was a member of the French Honors Society, the Principal’s Advisory Board, the Council of Presidents, the Key Club, and the National Honors Society.  She also excelled as a Section Editor and Editor in Chief of the student newspaper.  Through these activities, Felicity’s leadership acumen and drive for distinction clearly show that she is deserving of the NUEA scholarship.

Elijah Matas

Elijah will travel to Purdue University this fall to study Civil Engineering.  Elijah’s four years at Lake Park High School illustrate a clear balance between his academic excellence and his community support.  Elijah is a gifted soccer player, earning a spot on the 2022 All-Academic Team.  He also served as a PE leader, wrestling score keeper, and a soccer referee.  Outside of the realm of athletics, Elijah also was a gifted student.  He always made the High Honor Roll, and participated on the Math Team, Earth Club, and National Honor Society.  Elijah’s interest in AP Physics and AP Calculus helped drive him to pursue civil engineering.

Outside of school, Elijah’s community support was clear.  He provided several hours of community work through the Willow Creek Community, which included working for Phil’s Friends and Feed My Starving Children.  He worked the concession counter at Trinity Lutheran Middle School for various sporting events.  He also helped distribute books for the West Campus Book Distributor and the Spring Hills Book Fair.  Elijah hopes that his focus on civil engineering can help him tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and discrimination.  His aspirations are admirable; hopefully this scholarship can help him achieve those lofty goals.

Maria Gabrielli

Maria currently attends Loyola University-Chicago with a major in Curriculum Development.  She is passionate about instilling critical thinking, creativity and curiosity, and helping students develop a real love for learning that will last a lifetime.  Maria also sees the larger perspective of her work: By teaching, mentoring, and advocating for her students, she believes that she can help to create a more equitable and just society.  Education is a powerful tool for social change and every child deserves quality education, regardless of their background.

Maria credits her past schooling for helping her to prioritize her tasks, stay organized, and manage her time.  She also learned the importance of empathy.  By empathizing with others, she is able to communicate effectively, collaborate productively, and develop a sense of community with a global awareness.  Maria will be an articulate advocate for her students, and very deserving of this award.

About the NUEA The NUEA is the association of 1400 certified staff members who work in Naperville School District 203.  They are a unified voice advocating for students and the teaching profession.  Led by President Ross Berkley, they work with the community, administration, students, and parents in District 203 to help provide the best educational experience possible to residents of Naperville, Bolingbrook, and Lisle with District 203.

NUEA Attends the IEA Representative Assembly

The Naperville Unit Education Association sent thirteen delegates to the Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly, held in Rosemont, Illinois from March 9 through March 11. Delegates approved changes to the IEA bylaws and legislative platform. They received updates from executive officers and committee chairs, and recognized award winners, including our own NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence Nominee Seth Brady (NCHS).

Delegates heard a keynote address from NEA President Becky Pringle, who spoke about the importance of advocating for all students as a union. Additionally, Governor Pritzker talked at length about his accomplishments in improving the funding for public education, and that teachers are critical to further growth and development of the state of Illinois.

NNHS Science Bowl Team Wins 7th Straight Title

The Naperville North Students Claire Chen, Andrew Tank, Yikai Liu, Dingjia Shen, and Jeffrey Tong won the Illinois State Regional hosted by Illinois State University at Naperville North on February 4. The NNHS team won first place out of sixteen schools, defeating Stevenson twice in a dramatic comeback win. This win is the team’s seventh straight state championship.

Their victory earns them an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the Department of Energy’s prestigious National Science Bowl.  The national competition will be held in Washington D.C. starting on Thursday, April 27 through Monday, May 1st.

The 2021 Naperville North Team will also be honored during an award ceremony celebrating their 2nd place finish at the National Science Bowl, held virtually due to the pandemic. 

The Energy Department created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. More than 200,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 22 year history, and it is the nation’s largest science competition. Most teams are coached by teachers from the students’ schools and spend several months preparing for the regional competitions. The regional tournaments, which host 15-50 teams, are sponsored by federal agencies, national laboratories, institutions of education and non-profit organizations.

D203 Providing New Incentives for Subs

Naperville 203 is getting creative in its efforts to overcome a state and national substitute teacher shortage.

Beginning January 17, retired Naperville 203 teachers will receive a higher rate of pay if they return to work as a substitute teacher in the district. Additionally, Surge pay will be implemented to offer substitute teachers a higher daily rate of pay on days when the need for substitute teachers is greatest.

“We continue to explore options to fill our daily vacancies and ensure that our students receive a quality education each and every day,” said Bob Ross, Naperville 203’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “The hope is that this new Surge Pay encourages more people to work as substitute teachers, especially on days when we have a higher need. Being a substitute teacher in Naperville 203 is rewarding and satisfying, and we’re looking for people to help.”

When Surge Pay is implemented, daily substitute teachers will make $135 per day – an increase of $25 per day on those days. Surge Pay does not apply to substitutes already making higher rates, such as: permanent building substitutes, long-term substitutes, internal substitutes, and retired Naperville 203 educators.

Retired educators from Naperville 203 who return to work as a substitute teacher in the district will be paid $175 per day, beginning January 17, 2023.   To qualify, an educator must have been a member of the teacher bargaining unit in Naperville 203 up until retirement.

“I cannot think of anyone more qualified to work as a substitute teacher than one of our own retirees,” Ross said. “Welcoming these former employees back will both help us fill openings, and benefit our students to learn from high quality educators on days when their teacher is unable to be in the classroom.”  

The Naperville 203 Board of Education approved the new Surge Pay option during its Monday, Jan. 9, Board of Education meeting. The implementation is the latest step Naperville 203 has taken to address a state and national substitute teacher shortage.

In the fall of 2021, the Board of Education instituted an incentive payment of $100 for every 10 times that a daily substitute worked in Naperville 203, and raised the daily pay for Permanent Building Substitutes to $175 per day.  These improvements had a positive impact, but more help is needed.  

If you are interested in becoming a Substitute Teacher in Naperville 203, and have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, visit to apply.

NUEA Scholarship Information

Every year, the NUEA offers four scholarships to children of NUEA members totaling $6000. The scholarship applications are now live and are available by logging into NUEA Connect. They are due on March 1, 2023. Good luck to all applicants!

What is the Workers’ Rights Amendment?

The Workers’ Rights Amendment is an initiative that will be on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 midterm election in Illinois.  If approved, it will amend the Illinois constitution to protect the bargaining rights of unions.

It “provides that employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.” (NBC Chicago)

Collective bargaining strengthens the economy, helps working class families get ahead, and reduces socioeconomic inequality.

The majority of Americans support workers’ ability to unionize and collectively bargain.

Please watch and share this IEA video from President Kathy Griffin.

To join the effort, please visit the WRA support page.

NUEA Building Rep Training a Success

On Monday, October 17, NUEA Building Representatives met at the Naperville Municipal Building for an all-day training. While there, reps heard from executive board members, the District 203 HR team, the president of Assured Partners (our D203 insurance broker), John Kohlhepp (IEA government/legislative relations), local politicians, and Julie Resh-Jelliff (our IEA UniServ Director.)

Guest speakers included U.S. Representative Bill Foster, IL Representative Janet Yang Rohr, and Justice Mary Kay O’Brien (below). Reps also completed postcards for IL Senator Laura Ellman.

US Representative Bill Foster, IL Representative Janet Yang Rohr, and Justice Mary Kay O’Brien address NUEA building representatives on October 17, 2022.
Ross Berkley leads the NUEA in a building rep training on October 17, 2022.

You may find more information about the campaigns for Bill Foster, Janet Yang Rohr, Mary Kay O’Brien, and Laura Ellman on their websites. A complete list of IEA-recommended candidates may be found at