By Karen Stokes
Educator and First Lady, Dr Jill Biden touched down in Milwaukee late Wednesday afternoon to speak to the Representative Assembly of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), and later visited Westside Academy.
Members of the MTEA filled the Washington Park Senior Center to hear the First Lady talk about the importance of their jobs and the changing landscape as we make our way out of the pandemic.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, was present with his mother, LaJuan Barnes, a retired schoolteacher who was a MTEA member.
“Milwaukee is and will always continue to be Union strong,”
Dr Biden said. Dr. Biden has been a long-time member of the National Education Association (NEA).
As a classroom teacher for more than 30 years, the First Lady shines a spotlight on teachers and the profession. She continues to teach English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has been a professor since 2009.
“This isn’t just a job, it’s a calling because you never give up on the families you serve,” said the First Lady.
Dr. Biden voiced her support for Governor Evers and Barnes saying they’ve been partners in supporting teachers.
“They’ve invested millions so every student can have access to mental health services, so students with disabilities have the support that they need and so that teachers have manageable class sizes,” she said.
Dr. Biden was then joined by Governor Evers and his wife at Milwaukee’s West Side Academy. They met with students, teachers and parents at the school’s “Homework Diner,” an after-school meetup to get to know more about the school.
“I love the idea of creating a sense of community, a sense of family, where teachers get to know parents,” Biden said. “I love that teachers give up their time and say, ‘Yes, we want to be a part of this.’ Because it’s important that we get to know our students’ families.”