Story Highlights

New leadership elected for NJEA

Steinhauer, Blistan, and Spiller prepare to take the reins

Published on Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wendell Steinhauer
Steinhauer
NJEA members have elected three educators from among their ranks to serve as officers for two-year terms beginning this September.

Wendell Steinhauer, a high school mathematics teacher from Riverside in Burlington County was elected president of the 200,000-member NJEA.  Steinhauer currently serves as NJEA’s vice president, a position he has held since 2009 following a four-year stint as secretary-treasurer.  Prior to becoming an NJEA officer, Steinhauer held a number of other offices and served as president of the Riverside Education Association and the Burlington County Education Association. 

He will succeed Barbara Keshishian, whose term expires on Aug. 31.

Marie Blistan, a special education resource center teacher from Washington Township in Gloucester County, will be the Association’s next vice president, following four years as secretary-treasurer.  Before her election to NJEA office in 2009, Blistan served as president of the Gloucester County Education Association and held a number of offices in her local association as well.

Marie Blistan 
Blistan

Sean Spiller, a science teacher at Wayne Valley High School in Passaic County, is the newest addition to the NJEA leadership team after being elected secretary-treasurer.  Spiller is currently the president of the Wayne Education Association, and holds a number of other leadership roles in the Association, including serving on the Delegate Assembly, NJEA’s policy-making body.  Spiller is also a Councilman in Montclair, where he resides.

The new team of leaders takes office at a critical time for public education in New Jersey.  Steinhauer expressed confidence that he and his fellow officers are up to the challenge. 

“I look forward to working with Marie and Sean to keep New Jersey’s public schools the best in the nation,” Steinhauer said.  “We have a tradition of exceptional public schools here, and I intend to make sure we continue it.  

Sean Spiller
Spiller

“That starts with respecting the talented and dedicated men and women who work in our schools,” said Steinhauer. “We cannot continue to attack and tear down teachers and support professionals and expect students to thrive.  When we treat educators as the professionals and experts that they are, schools benefit.  I want to rebuild a culture of respect, where educators have a voice in the decisions that affect our profession and our students, and I will be a strong voice for NJEA members whenever the public discussion turns to education.”

Steinhauer also vowed that under his leadership, NJEA would continue to work to promote great public schools for every child in New Jersey. “No one cares more about education than the members of NJEA,” Steinhauer said. “We’ve devoted our lives to making sure our students learn and succeed. I’m committed to carrying on NJEA’s tradition of advocating for great public schools, and that means we must be willing to consider new ideas and try new things when the research points us in that direction. 

“But it also means taking a strong, principled stand against some of the destructive ideas that are being imposed on our schools today,” he added.  “Parents and educators alike are very concerned about things such as the over-emphasis on standardized testing, which is eroding the quality of education children are getting in their classrooms.  I am very open-minded, and I welcome challenging discussions.  But I will not stand by and watch our public schools be sold to the highest bidder.”

NJEA officers are elected by a vote of the entire membership and serve a maximum of two consecutive  two-year terms in each office.


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