Education Support Professionals

Education support professionals (ESPs) – paraprofessionals, food service workers, nurses, classroom aides, technicians, custodians, administrative assistants and so many other professionals – keep our schools running and our students learning. ESPs keep students physically and emotionally healthy and safe, engage students so they feel connected to their school community, and support students who require extra assistance. Unfortunately when school districts make budget cuts, ESPs are some of the first positions targeted.

Learn more about issues ESPs face nationally

NEA-Alaska ESP Spotlight

Education support professionals are the unsung heroes of our public schools. Mandy Swarthout’s work, like the work of all ESPs isn’t easy, but she finds it deeply rewarding. Watch to learn more about this Finger Lake Elementary School Paraeducator. Read Mandy’s full story here

NEA ESP Professional Growth Continuum

ESPs play a key role in ensuring student success, and their positive impact can be enhanced when there are clear expectations, when they are valued, and when they have opportunities for professional growth. To help ESPs reach their professional potential, NEA developed the ESP Professional Growth Continuum (PGC). The PGC provides clear pathways for professional learning and growth throughout the careers of ESPs.

General Resources

NEA hosts an ESP Conference that is designed to provide participants with the tools they need to build skills specific to their careers, build strong internal and external relationships, build stronger locals, organize members and enhance their ability to positively influence student achievement.

The NEA Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) program was created to train future ESP leaders in leadership attitudes, skills, and knowledge. The overarching goal is to develop skilled ESP leaders across the 50 states. Each year 20 ESP members are selected to participate in the program through an extremely competitive process.

The National Council for Education Support Professionals (NCESP) works within the National Education Association to represent the specific interests of education support professionals. Any NEA ESP member is eligible for NCESP membership.

Member Testimonial

"I have a close relationship with teachers. They ask me for a lot of input on students just because I have that extra one-on-one time with them every day."
Yahaira Gomez-Marugg, ESP, Mat-Su
"I'm a heating and plumbing specialist for the Lower Kuskokwim School District. If there's no heat, water, or sanitation running, there’s no school. I have to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Being a member of NEA is important and a good learning experience for me, and I think it helps the kids a lot."
Samuel Jackson Jr., ESP, Bethel