President’s Message

Hello SCEA members!

My brother, who is on the autism spectrum, is NOT the reason I became a special education teacher.  He’s not the reason I chose to work with our most at-risk students, and he’s not the reason I believe every person is educable.

The reason I am here is because of the ESPs who made him the person he is today.

The 1-1 and classroom paraprofessionals who gave so much of themselves to his development each day became part of our family.  When the cacophony of the lunch room assaulted his senses, the cafeteria workers helped guide him to a more comfortable place to eat.  Secretaries and security officers patiently and calmly answered question after question when he was perseverating.  Bus drivers and custodians, who work longer hours than most other school employees, made sure he saw friendly, familiar faces every day and accommodated his routines.

My brother is a grown man now.  He lives independently and volunteers in his community.  This is only possible because of the incredible, indefatigable work of ESPs.  My family and I are profoundly grateful to them.

His story is not unique.  Every student who walks through the doors of our school buildings is affected by ESPs.  They have some of the most challenging, stressful jobs in the world, yet they take home less compensation, enjoy fewer job protections, and receive far less recognition than they deserve.

On behalf of myself, my family, and the entire SCEA, I have this message for our ESP members: We SEE you, we are INDEBTED to you, and we THANK you!

Dan Epstein


Somerset County Education Association

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