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April 16, 2008

School-Related Professionals Member of the Year: Thelma Shaw

Source: NYSUT Constituency Awards 2008

Thelma Shaw

BOCES Educators of Eastern Suffolk

Thelma ShawAfter 35 years as a teaching assistant for Eastern Suffolk BOCES, Thelma Shaw still wakes up each day and looks forward to her job. She's had the opportunity to work with each of the diverse programs that ESB offers. She's worked in the areas of special education, preschool, alternative high school and career and technical education.

One of her mottos is "Whatever you are, be a good one." Not only has this philosophy served her well in the classroom but on the union front as well.

Shaw is president of the BOCES Educators of Eastern Suffolk, a local with two separate contracts representing teachers, social workers, psychologists, teacher aides and teaching assistants. The BOCES Educators membership is 1,500 strong.

Her union involvement dates back to 1976, and she has been a building representative, treasurer, vice president, executive vice president and contractual benefits officer.

"The passion that I have for the students I work with and the union I represent fuels the fire that drives me and has earned me the nickname, 'energizer bunny,'" she says. "I still look forward to each day and greet it with the same enthusiasm that I had 35 years ago."