Ocean County Council of Education Associations

2013 NJEA Educational Support Professional of the Year

Ocean County’s very own Annette Ruch is NJEA’s ESP of the Year.

Annette has worked as a paraprofessional in Toms River public schools for over 18 years.  During that time, she has assisted students of all ages with a wide variety of learning disabilities.  Her record of service demonstrates her caring nature and her commitment to her career.

Annette is an invaluable member of both the Ocean County Council of Education Associations (OCCEA) and the Toms River Education Association (TREA).  Her service has included seats on the OCCEA Executive Committee, Election Committee; and TREA ESP liaison, Constitution Committee, just to name a few!

“For the past eight years, I have worked alongside and collaborated with the learning-language disabilities teacher.  Our partnership extends outside of the classroom as well.  Hurricane Sandy hit the Toms River and Jersey Shore areas particularly hard.  A request for assistance came through the Toms River Education Association.  Several ESP members had been displaced by the hurricane, so TREA quickly organized ‘Adopt a bus driver/aide.’  When the call came out we were immediately onboard.  We collected monetary donations, gift cards, clothes, etc. to help one of the displaced families get back on their feet.  I am happy to report that this family has been able to secure a place to call their own, while they wait to hear the fate of the place they used to call home.

“Another colleague got me involved with the Special Olympics.  Eighteen years later, I still volunteer!  Like so much of what we do in public education, it is a labor of love.  But what a difference it makes in the lives of children!

“I am fortunate to have grown as a professional and as a community member through my experiences at all levels of our association.  There are so many opportunities available to us, but we must walk through those doors to truly benefit from them.”

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