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

D203 and NUEA Welcome New Teachers

On Thursday, August 11, District 203 and the Naperville Unit Education Association jointly hosted a welcome breakfast for all new certified staff members. The breakfast was attended by school board members, administrators, NUEA building representatives, NUEA Executive Board members, and building principals.

The audience heard inspiring comments from Kristin Fitzgerald, Jayne Willard, Bob Ross, Ross Berkley, Wendy Goettsch, and Dan Bridges. Several community organizations were also on hand to deliver information about how they support teachers and how teachers may in turn support the community. The common theme that reverberated throughout the presentation was that new teachers are assisted through the various structures and partnerships that the district has fomented over its fifty years of operation.

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 May, 2022.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Adam Johnson from Neuqua Valley High School, Christopher Comer from Naperville Central High School, and Garrett Dahn from Naperville North High School. The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Cora Ondrus from Quincy College.

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 this year 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.

Adam Johnson

This fall, Adam will be attending Michigan State University to study accounting.  Adam expertly balances his school life and work-life by participating in a wide variety of activities in both areas.  As an athlete, Adam participated in both Cross County and Track early in his high school years.  As a senior, he shifted to intramural sports, playing both basketball and volleyball.  Adam is also passionate about the benefits of lifting weights and healthy eating.

In the meantime, Adam has also been busy outside of school, especially as an employee and as a volunteer.  Adam has held jobs as a lifeguard and as a food service worker at two different restaurants.  Adam volunteers at Feed Our Starving Children, the Winged Foot Foundation, Giftmart, and the Salvation Army.  Despite his hectic schedule, Adam is still an AP and Honors student at Neuqua Valley High School.  He credits his family and his 9th grade teachers for significantly impacting his ability to study and succeed in school today.

Christopher Comer

Christopher will be attending the Colorado School of Mines to study Electrical Engineering with a focus on renewable energy.  As a student at Naperville Central High School, Christopher has been especially impacted as a member of the Track and Field Club.  There he learned the value of teamwork and selflessness, which led to him being named as a co-captain of the team his Junior and Senior years.  This idea of teamwork was manifested clearly when he organized his team to assist with the cleanup of the 2021 Naperville tornado.

Christopher was not just a Track and Field captain.  He also founded the Speed Club, geared towards helping athletes create speed-improving workouts.  Additionally, he played Junior Varsity Soccer for three years and he was a captain of the Galaxy Soccer Club for three years.

His academic accomplishments and his entrepreneurship skills demonstrate his creativity, perseverance, and business acumen.  Christopher is a member of the National Honor Society and has won an NCHS Academic Excellence Award.  He is an Illinois State Scholar and he is in the Redhawk Leadership Academy.  While focusing on academics, Christopher also volunteered for Harvest Sunday Feed My Starving Children.  As an entrepreneur, Christopher also created and managed two businesses–one as a deck refinisher and another manufacturing Fidget Spinners. 

Garrett Dahn

Garrett will be attending Iowa State University to study aerospace engineering.  Garrett credits the wide variety of course choices at Naperville North High School to help him find his niche in the engineering world.  “Research and Design” and “Architectural Drafting” have been particularly impactful courses for him. 

Garret has served as captain of not one, but two varsity athletic teams at Naperville North High School—wrestling and gymnastics.  Despite the time commitment required of each team, Garrett also found time to volunteer for the City Council Campaign of Ian Holzhauer.  It was by participating in Holzhauer’s campaign that Garrett discovered organizational and leadership skills that helped him be successful in other areas of his life.  

Cora Ondrus

Cora currently attends Quincy University with a major in Elementary Education.  She is driven by her desire to help others, particularly those who come from less-than-ideal circumstances.  She states, “I hope to make a difference in these kids’ lives and let them know that they’re loved for, cared for, and can be successful in life.”

Cora is a proponent of investing time and resources into foundational learning in the primary grades.  The reading and writing skills learned in kindergarten and first grade are so important prerequisite skills for later grades, yet some students fall behind without the expert care of an excellent teacher.  Furthermore, Cora believes that an important key to learning is allowing oneself to take academic risks.  If the teacher has established a trustful learning environment, then students will be more likely to move away from their comfort zone, which is where real learning begins. 

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 Dan Iverson, 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.

For More Information

Please contact David Carroll

New NUEA Positions

Congratulations to our NUEA leadership team on their recent election victories. Donna Lehmann will be reprising her role as Corresponding Secretary for the NUEA. Christine Bell will move to become our new High School Executive. Finally, the new President of the NUEA will be Ross Berkley, effective at the end of this school year.

Many thanks to outgoing President Dan Iverson, who just completed a three-year term as president of the NUEA. Dan has served during one of the most challenging times in our district’s history, and the organization appreciates his expert guidance, calming demeanor, and consistent communication during his time as president.

(Feb 6) Message from District 203:

To Our Naperville 203 Community,

We are writing to provide an update on communication sent Friday evening regarding a legal challenge to state-mandated COVID-19 litigation.

Late Friday afternoon, Judge Raylene Grischow issued a temporary restraining order in pending litigation in Sangamon County that names our District as a defendant. Due to a separate ruling limiting the scope of the litigation and based on advice from our legal counsel, the order applies only to the parties to the lawsuit. The temporary restraining order will be appealed and may be stayed, meaning that the order could be placed on hold while the appeal is decided.

As a result, the legal effect of the temporary restraining order is uncertain over the next couple of weeks. Because of this uncertainty and significant confusion reflected in various reports regarding the temporary restraining order, we want to let the community know our clear expectations for the foreseeable future.

Naperville 203 will continue to implement the same layered mitigation strategies, per the guidance of the national (CDC), state (IDPH), and local (DCHD) health departments, that have allowed us to successfully navigate through the school year. This means we will continue to follow all of the safety protocols listed in our Return To Learn plan, which includes the requirement of masking in schools, on buses and during after-school activities; as well as the continued requirement of quarantines, when necessary, for close contacts. The only exception to this rule will be for those named parties to the lawsuit.

The legal situation continues to be fluid. We anticipate further updates as the legal process plays out over the following days and weeks, and will share this important information with the community. Until then, we ask for your patience and that you continue to follow Naperville 203’s layered mitigation strategies.


The Naperville 203 Board of Education &
Superintendent Dan Bridges