The nomination period has ended for the 2023 award. Check back here in the spring of 2023 to nominate an ESP for the 2024 award.  

Photo of Jim Johnson

Our 2022 ESP of the Year is Jim Johnson!

James “Jim” Johnson, a Champlain Valley EA bus driver with 31 years behind the wheel, has been named the 2022 Vermont-NEA Education Support Professional of the Year. “Over the years, Jimmy has used his humor, patience, and excellent communications skills to develop dee, personal relationships with district officials, the head of HR, payroll specialists, and chief operations representatives,” said Christopher Hood, the Champlain Valley EA president who nominated Johnson for the award. “These relationships help Jimmy be the best possible advocate for his members as he uses his lines of communication and wisdom to get the job done. He is a role model.” As ESP of the Year, Johnson will receive a $1,500 award, an all-expenses-paid trip the national ESP conference, where he will represent Vermont as our nominee for NEA ESP of the Year. “I love working in transportation because its constantly on the move and I get to talk with so many people,” Johnson said. “I love to collaborate with great people who are passionate about their jobs, and I love helping make our professional employees have a better living, a safe to place to work and the happiest, most rewarding work environment possible.” Congratulations from all of us at Vermont-NEA!

Click here to nominate an ESP for the 2023 award. (Nomination period has ended. Check back in the spring for the link to nominate for next year's award.)

In recognition of the important role of Education Support Professionals within the Association, and to honor their outstanding contributions to communities and children, Vermont-NEA presents an annual Education Support Professionals Award.

The 1992 Vermont-NEA Representative Assembly established the annual Education Support Professional Award to recognize the importance of ESP.

Who Can Be Nominated

The person being nominated must have been a Vermont-NEA member for at least three years (including this year). Exceptions will be made if the Local Association is less than three years old. We encourage nominations from any ESP career family: Clerical Services, Custodial and Maintenance Services, Food Services, Health and Student Services, Paraeducators, Security Services, Skilled Trades, Technical Services, or Transportation Services.  

How to Nominate

The strongest nominees are members who are highly involved in their local Association and/or volunteer for Vermont-NEA or NEA in some capacity. Examples of involvement include, but are not limited to, holding elected local union leadership role(s), being involved in organizing colleagues to legally form the union, assisting fellow members in organizing to improve the workplace or advocating for employee rights. In general, the committee favors nominees who enhance the image of ESPs in the school, union and community.  Nominees also should be good employees with a strong professional record, make a continued positive impact on the school and students, and ideally, are involved in their local community.

Nominations will be accepted by submitting a simple web form. All we need is some basic information about your nominee. Nominations will be received on a rolling basis up until the end of the school yearWe will be in touch with nominees and their nominators to collect further information.

To submit a nomination online click here. (Nomination period has ended. Check back in the spring for the link to nominate for next year's award.)

Deadline for Nominations 

Nominations will be received on a rolling basis through the end of the school year.  All nominations must be submitted online.  If you have any questions, please contact Erin Green at [email protected] or 802-224-2411.

Selection of the Winner

Nominations will be reviewed by the Vermont-NEA ESP Leadership Advisory Committee, which will make a recommendation to the Vermont-NEA Board of Directors. The Vermont-NEA Board will select the winner.

The winner will be presented a $1,000 award, will automatically become Vermont-NEA's nominee for the National Education Association ESP Award, and will receive an all expense paid trip to the NEA ESP Conference to represent Vermont as part of a team of ESPs.    

Award Presentation

The Vermont-NEA ESP Award will be presented at the annual Vermont-NEA Representative Assembly.  


Previous Winners, Vermont-NEA ESP Award

Jim Johnson, Champlain Valley EA, 2022

Nikki Hall, Maple Run EA, 2021

Cheryl Hanley, Blue Mountain EA, 2020

Pat Thompson, Maple Run EA, 2019

Joan Savaglio, Green Mountain-NEA, 2018

Loretta Johnson, Rutland Northeast Education Association-Paraeducators and Bus Drivers Unit, 2017 

Fran Brennan, Chittenden South Education Association, 2016

Chris Halpin, Essex Jct. Westford Education Association, 2015

Christie Thereault, Windham Southeast Education Association, 2014

Tara Gauding, South Burlington Education Association, 2013

Hannah Van Loon, Windham Southeast Education Association, 2012

Darcey Fletcher, Lamoille Union High School EA, 2011

Donna Constant, Paraeducator, Washington West EA 2010

Jan Thibeault, Paraeducator, Essex North EA 2009

Rebecca Auger, Paraeducator, Woodstock Union HS SSO, 2008

Laurel Tobiason, Paraeducator, Twinfield SSA 2007

Linda Howard, Paraeducator, Twinfield SSA 2006

Regina Sears, Paraeducator, Rutland School EA 2005

Betsy Howard, Paraeducator, Woodstock Union HS SSO 2004

Beverly Klandl, Class Assistant, Chittenden South EA 2003

Carolyn Godbout, Paraeducator, Rutland School SA 2002

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