Bring PD energy in ’22-’23


By Dr. Chrissi Miles

Effective teams are fueled by a common purpose that creates impact. It is not enough to explore what we do and how we do it: we must fundamentally be guided by an understanding of why.

Simon Sinek says: “Leading means that others follow you voluntarily, not because they have to, not because they get paid, but because they want to. Obviously, leadership does not mean being responsible, but rather caring for those under your responsibility, whether they are education professionals, students or the communities we serve.

NJEA’s Division of Professional Development and Educational Issues (PDII) is committed to igniting this energy, driving it forward, and inspiring communities to learn and lead with us, side by side.

The PDII Division seeks to improve and enrich society through public education. We create experiences that cultivate enhanced professional practice, encourage organization around educational issues, and foster the development of community leadership. As we conceptualize, design and implement our work, we continually ask ourselves:

  • How does our work improve the professional practice of members?
  • In what ways does our work intentionally organize members around meaningful educational issues?
  • In what ways does our work lead members to take fair, just and impactful action?

To that end, here’s where we start:


The NJEA convention will amplify issues of advocacy, organizing and improving professional practice. Keynotes focused on the power of having one’s identity and history reflected in the program will include National Treasure LeVar Burton, Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco and Project 1619 author Nikole Hannah Jones. We’ll elevate student activism and leadership with March for Our Lives’ David Hogg, Time magazine’s “Kid of the Year” Orion Jean, and Rebekah Bruesehoff, transgender rights activist and Disney Marvel comic star. The sessions highlighted on work will capture the power and promise of unionization.

Workshops on Amistad, the Holocaust, LGBTQIA+, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and inclusion of people with disabilities in the program are integrated into the convention program and highlighted in our new space NJEA Consortium. Additionally, self-care educators take priority with guided meditation, arts healing, and baby-goat yoga in our expanded wellness area. “Bah-master.”

Booksmiles, a member-driven nonprofit with a mission to “irrigate book deserts,” will distribute to members more than 10,000 representative books purchased from independent, black-owned bookstores.

PDII Lecture Series

Our PDII lecture series will weave together the themes of wellness, equity, advocacy, organization and improving professional practice. Each conference will include keynote addresses and workshops focused on developing teaching practice, special and gifted education, teacher leadership, healing, and Educational Support Professionals (ESP) issues. Consortium-sponsored sessions will deepen knowledge, skills, and understanding of teaching the truth. Welcoming and participatory practices will complement each conference, creating an intentional space to amplify member voices and strengthen networks.

Professional learning and programs

County and local professional learning opportunities continue in both in-person and virtual formats. A Statewide “Year of Healing” Virtual Series Provides Opportunities to Build Understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Social-Emotional Learning, Healing Practices, and Inclusive Programs .

The third cohort of our Teacher Leader Academy program is actively developing an understanding of what it means to lead from within the profession in a way that impacts the education system as a whole.

Our ACCESS (A Community Collective for Equitable and Sustainable Schools) program continues to foster environments that build a thriving community.


The PDII team advocates for fair, just, and impactful policy with the New Jersey Department of Education and the State Board of Education. Our public feedback tool ensures the amplification of member and community voices on a variety of issues, including standards and assessment, certification, recruitment and retention,
and more.

Dr. Chrissi Miles is the Director of NJEA’s Division of Professional Development and Educational Affairs. For more information, questions, concerns, or cries of outrage, email Dr. Miles at [email protected]


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