[ OUR SRPs ]

Getting to know … Helen Sholette

Helen Sholette

Helen Sholette is a teaching assistant and a member of the Baldwinsville Educational Support Professional Association. She was interviewed by Pat Speach, BESPA president and a member of the NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee.

Tell me about your job and why you love what you do.

When my own children were younger, I was very active and involved with my children’s PTA at each school building level. Before getting back into the workforce, I provided home daycare and was instrumental in their daily growth and development. Volunteering in the school atmosphere when my children were young helped me make the decision to return to the workforce as a teaching assistant.

When I was first hired, there was no requirement for post high school credits. The district helped and guided me with the necessary steps to fulfill the requirements needed for a teaching assistant certification. Why I love my job? The relationships that I have built with my past and current students and various staff throughout the district are very strong.

Why did you join the union?

I joined the union 23 years ago, after being hired as a 1:1 teaching assistant. At this time, the benefits of joining the union were explained to me. I wanted to have a voice within my working environment. What better way than to join, listen and get involved. I became a building rep 20 years ago because I wanted to hear the information, process it correctly and share with my co-workers within the building. This position helped me build stronger relationships with employees throughout the district, making them feel comfortable coming to me with questions and concerns, knowing that I held all conversations in strictest confidence. Many members do not know how to have their concerns brought forward and addressed. I pride myself in the way that I disseminate information. I have held the position of treasurer and most recently secretary.

How are you involved in your community?

I am very proud of our community. For the past 34 years, I have been active as a PTA mom and daycare provider. I continue to attend school board meetings. I have sat on various committees, with roles such as interviewing BOE candidates, administrators and teachers.

When my children were playing sports, I was a team mom and made wonderful connections with families within my community. I have been very active with booster clubs as well. Once my children graduated, I was asked to work crowd control for the athletics department. I am able to interact with students and community members outside of the school setting. My family and I have always supported, and will continue to support, our local community and school district.