Welcome New Teachers!

District 203 certified staff members have been attending orientation workshops on July 22 and 23 at Naperville Central, Madison Jr. High, and River Woods Elementary schools. The NUEA was excited to welcome new staff to the district during those workshops. Executive Board members presented the NUEA New Teacher Handbook and discussed the structure, mission, and benefits of our organization.

If you are a new certified staff member in our district and you have questions, please reach out to an executive board member, talk to a building representative, or login to NUEA Connect and read through our posts and links.

NUEA Awards Four Scholarships

2020 Scholarship Winners

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each. The NUEA annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors and one scholarship to a college undergraduate who plans on pursuing an education-related field. All applicants must be children of NUEA members.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community.

The 2020 scholarship recipients are Maria Gabrielli from Naperville Central High School, Kathryn Southon from Naperville Central High School, Mordecai Park from Naperville Central High School, and Alexis Henz from North Central College.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors and college undergraduates. The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support NUEA provides the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Maria will be attending Loyola University this fall with a major in Global Education Policy. Maria’s participation on the J. Kyle Braid Experimental Education Foundation had a profound influence on her choice of major. The Foundation helps empower young adults to make positive and healthy decisions while fostering kindness and harmony among others. Maria was also a member of the LINK Crew, the National Honor Society, and the Adapted PE/Art Peer program. Also a strong athlete, Maria was the Captain of the Water Polo Team and the Swim Team at NCHS.   

Kathryn is planning to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana this fall in the Campus Honors Program with a major in Chemical Engineering. At NCHS, she has been involved in Class Council, Medical Club, LINK Crew, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. Her athletic activities include indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, and gymnastics. Outside of school, Kathryn is heavily involved with Girl Scouts and volunteers with the Naperville Library Summer Reading Program.

Mordecai will be attending Marquette University in the fall with a major in Exercise Science, which is a component of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Mordecai is heavily invested in the band and in his church. As a musician, Mordecai performed in the Steel Pan Ensemble, Drumshow, Band, Marching Band, the musical, and gave percussion lessons. He also was a church nursery volunteer, a church worship team member, a Vacation Bible School volunteer, and a Manna volunteer for Breakthrough Urban Ministries. He completed a mission trip, but still found time to participate in the National Honors Society and intermural basketball.  

Alexis has been focusing on Elementary Education while a student at NCC. As a senior in high school, she completed a job-shadowing program at the 4th grade level, which helped inspire her to pursue teaching. Alexis has taught and observed in the classroom for over 150 hours the last 3 years in grades 1st, 3rd, and 5th. Last summer, she also volunteered at the library for their summer reading program and helped lead a Sign Language Story Time.  She will complete another field experience this fall before completing student teaching in Fall 2021. 

Joint Statement from Gov. Pritzker and IEA

March 17, 2020

Joint Statement of the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Principals Association, and Illinois State Board of Education

These are unprecedented times, but we are all together with the goal of caring for students. Our organizations are truly inspired by the phenomenal cooperation shown across the state and encourage all of our members to be reasonable, creative, and generous while determining what’s best for our students in Illinois. ISBE has announced that these will be Act of God Days. To assist our members during this time, the leadership of the IEA, IFT, IASA, and IPA have prepared this joint guidance with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker and ISBE to be effective through March 30, 2020. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, subsequent guidance may be released.

From March 17 through March 30, all school district employees on the district’s payroll will get paid as if the schools were functioning normally, regardless of the district plans developed during this time. These school days will not be made up. All employees will get paid as if they did all the normal work they would have done if schools were functioning normally. Normal pay includes salary, hourly and stipend pay, benefits, and employees will receive full and normal service credit in their pension systems.

From March 17 through March 30, the employer can expect school district employees to participate in work activities in some form. The concrete details of the work, including stipend work, that will occur during this timeframe must be worked out through mutual agreement, but negotiations should focus on ensuring (1) continuity of education, (2) provision of meals, and (3) other student support measures as appropriate for each district. Public health and safety of students and staff are paramount, and to the extent work can be done remotely, it should be. Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations on social distancing and group gatherings should be adhered to. Employers should not require any more employees than absolutely necessary to come to school.

No school district can unilaterally change the use of benefit days. We encourage local collaboration on the use of benefit days and encourage ways to support anyone who is sick or is caring for a sick family member.
We acknowledge that the current law on teacher evaluation and Reduction in Force (honorable dismissal and layoff) remains in full force including all timelines and existing statutory language. If necessary, meetings and evaluation conferences associated with these statutes will occur remotely.


Several members of the NUEA visited the IEA Representative Assembly from Thursday, March 5 to Saturday, March 7. Delegates discussed adjustments to the bylaws, legislative platform, and association business.

Delegates were visited by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Thursday. Pritzker touted his recent pro-education accomplishments, including raising the minimim teach salary to $40,000, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, eliminating the Charter School Commission, and increasing funding to public schools and colleges.

On Friday, delegates were addressed by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of presidential candidate Joe Biden. Jill Biden is a member of NEA and is a strong advocate for returning the nation’s educational leadership voices to those of educators, not politicians. Dr. Biden followed up her address by walking among the assembled delegates seeking information to further the interests of Illinois educators.

On Saturday, delegates heard from Rep. Chuy Garcia, who spoke on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Chuy spoke at length about how Sanders would support teachers and give them better access to resources to help historically underfunded schools.

Naperville Sun Talks Teacher Pensions

The following Letter to the Editor was penned by Joan Knopp, and may be found in the August 18 edition of the Naperville Sun.

A recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune, the parent company of the Naperville Sun, yet again decried teacher pensions, citing David Piccioli, an American Federation lobbyist, for receiving a pension for life after working as a substitute teacher for one day. The article neglected to state that he was able to count his time as a lobbyist as well.

All of this is true. What is not is the implication that this is commonplace in the teacher pension system. It most certainly is not. The vast majority of teachers earn their pensions, follow the rules, and make contributions.

Here are some facts that the editorial board may want to include in its future articles. The vesting period for new teachers is 10 years to qualify for a minimum pension. Unlike those with a 401(k) plan, when a teacher leaves the system only individual contributions can be extracted. Teachers forfeit contributions made by their school or made by the state on their behalf. Those with a 401(k) can take all contributions and roll them into an IRA.

Teacher pensions are back-loaded. Teachers work many years before their future benefits exceed the value of their contributions plus interest. Only 20% of teachers will break even from the state retirement system. Only 50% of teachers will qualify for a pension.

Many teachers work multiple jobs and should be able to cluster together their savings should they ever change jobs. Teachers should be able to take their savings with them no matter the reason for their leaving, be it personal, relocation to another state, or career change. Some states allow this. Illinois does not. Why?

The vast majority of contributions made by today’s teachers are for unfunded pension liabilities. This is not the result of teachers not contributing their fair share. About 78% of Illinois pension contributions are going to pension debt created by horrific mismanagement by state leaders of both political parties.

Perhaps it would prove beneficial for state leaders and the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune to read state Supreme Court Justice Karmeir’s opinion on the subject of teacher pensions delivered as a judgment of the court.

NUEA Welcomes New Staff

NUEA would like to welcome District 203 certified staff members that our joining our organization over the next few days. Note that you are currently viewing our publicly accessible site. Our members’ only site is called NUEA Connect, and it may be accessed by clicking the link on the right.

Once you register for NUEA Connect, you will receive a confirmation e-mail over the next day or two. After that, you can access all of the members’ only content.

Know that if you were previously a member of the IEA in another district, you still must sign-up for NUEA (our local) using the IEA form in order to begin your new NUEA membership retain your old IEA/NEA membership.

If you have any questions concerning your membership, please contact President Dan Iverson.

D203 Teachers’ 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 the third year of study.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community.  These scholarships were awarded in May, 2019.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Evie Dohm from Wheaton North High School, Colin Iverson from Naperville North High School, and Jillian Paladino from Downers Grove South High School.  The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Alexis Henz from North Central 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.

Evie Dohm – This fall, Evie will be attending the University of Iowa in Iowa City or Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.  Evie’s passion for swimming is well balanced with her participation in several academic societies.  She was a member of the Math Honor Society, History Honor Society (Rho Kappa), English Honor Society, French Honor Society, and the National Honor Society.  Additionally, she was a member of the National Speech and Debate Association and a member of the Speech Team for all four years of high school.  Evie was the captain of the Speech Team during her senior year.

As a swimmer, Evie participated on the Wheaton North High School Swim Team for four years and served as the captain and team manager during her senior year.  She also participated on the Wheaton Swim Club during her freshman and sophomore years.

Evie also contributed to several activities at Wheaton North High School.  She was the lead in her sophomore year One Act Play, and she dedicated time to Amnesty International during her junior and senior years.  She worked as a math resource tutor for three years.  Outside of school, Evie volunteered for the Salvation Army and the VFW while gathering work experience as a swim instructor.  Evie believes that participating in so many activities significantly helped her with her time management skills heading into college.

Colin Iverson – Colin will be attending the Bowling Green State University this fall as an intervention specialist for special education students in a K-12 setting.  Colin will also be playing soccer for Boling Green, which is a result of his demanding and highly successful athletic career at Naperville North High School.  In addition to playing volleyball as a freshman, Colin played soccer for NNHS for all four years, serving as varsity captain junior and senior year.  He also played soccer for the Galaxy Soccer Club, serving as captain for four years.

As a volunteer, Colin was an adapted PE and art leader, helping students with special needs access PE and art to their best ability.  He also participated on the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation, which is a community service leadership group.  He similarly served as a DuPage Valley Special Athletes Peer, organizing special events for athletes with disabilities.  Furthermore, Colin was a Chicago Fire United Soccer Peer, helping special athletes perform soccer at a professional level.  Colin claims that his work with students and athletes with special needs has inspired him to become a special education teacher.

Jillian Paladino – Jillian will be attending Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, where she will major in biochemistry.  She has excelled in both academics and athletics as a student at Downers Grove South High School.  She participated as a member of the Student Council, serving as President during her senior year.  She was also a member of Athletes Committed to Excellence, National Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, Friendship Club, Math Club, Snowball, STRIVE, SAALT, and SALC.

As an athlete, Jillian played varsity soccer for four years, serving as captain her junior and senior years.  She also played basketball at DGSHS, serving as captain Freshman and Sophomore years.  She was a special education PE leader, and she played club soccer with the Joga Bonito Soccer Club for nine years.

Jillian balanced her school activities with volunteer work for her community.  She has volunteered frequently for both the DuPagePads and the Humane Society.  She will be a camp counselor at the Phantom Lake YMCA camp this summer, for which she has been training as a volunteer CIT for four years.  Jillian believes that her work as a volunteer has inspired her to someday work in the pediatric medical field so that she can continue to help children in a meaningful capacity.

Alexis Henz – Alexis is the first recipient of the NUEA Future in Education Scholarship.  She is currently attending North Central College with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology.  Alexis credits her K-12 education for providing her with critical leadership skills, organizational skills, and reliability skills.  One example of her leadership skills is her willingness to speak up in large groups, thereby accepting risk-taking as a critically important part of the learning process.

Alexis also recognizes the benefits of participating in Cross Country as a college athlete, particularly in a leadership role, occasionally leading the warm-ups or helping other athletes with their workout.  She states that one of the most satisfying rewards of teaching is learning with students.  She has wanted to become a teacher since she was young, deriving inspiration from her family members and from her passion to make an impact in the lives of her students.

NUEA has a new President

Dan Iverson was elected President of the Naperville Unit Education Association in March, 2019. Dan will be replacing outgoing President Mark Bailey, who served at the post since 2000. Dan previously served as Second Vice President for NUEA while teaching Social Studies, coaching track, and coaching cross country at Naperville North High School. The NUEA serves approximately 1400 certified staff members who work in Naperville Community Unit School District 203.

Dan may be reached at president@nuea203.org.

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