Cora Ruth is an administrative assistant in the math and science department at the Queen Anne’s County Public Schools central office. She’s a member of the Queen Anne’s County Education Association.
When I started with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools (QACPS) eight years ago, I never imagined I would be helping others the way that I am today as support staff vice president of the Queen Anne’s County Education Association (QACEA).
I started with QACPS to work closer to home and be more available for my daughter after school and during holidays. About a year after I started, I attended a monthly representative assembly meeting because our building had no building rep and I wanted to know more about what the union does. I quickly learned that knowing my contract was key and I wanted to be a part of improving it. Soon enough, I was involved in my first round of negotiations with the desire to help better the contract for all three education support professional units represented by QACEA. I’m now starting my second round of negotiations as chair of the ESP negotiations committee and I’m looking forward to an exciting bargaining year! This year our goal is for all ESP members to make a living wage.
I strongly feel that all support staff provide a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of the school system. When most people think of public schools, they think of teachers, but the truth is schools simply cannot function without our support. Bus drivers get the children to school safely, custodians ensure that they have a clean environment in which to learn, school secretaries communicate between teachers, parents, and administration, and paraeducators work closely with teachers to make the important connections every student deserves.
Central office staff like me make sure books and materials are ordered in time and are ready for students and educators. And we make sure tests are copied, payments of thousands of invoices are processed, and all employees are paid in a timely manner.
As a QACEA leader, I enjoy collaborating with support staff, members, and other leaders on how to encourage and grow positive working relationships to achieve common goals for all employees. By being an active member and leader in my union, I know that I’m contributing to the success and well-being of my fellow members while helping to keep schools running smoothly for our students and educators.