February 1, 2011

Meet Cynthia Begley: PSEA's Education Support Professional of the Year

2011 ESP of the YearEducation runs in Cynthia Begley’s family.  She grew up in a household of educators, and now her daughters, Melissa and Kim, are attending college with aspirations to teach.

Hailing from Abington School District and this year’s recipient of the PSEA ESP of the Year Award, Begley began her career with the school district more than 12 years ago, as a part-time playground aide. A short time later, she took a position as an instructional aide in a kindergarten classroom.

“I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with students in the classroom,’’ Begley said. “My daily routine would include teaching the students their letters and numbers, taking them to lunch and then to the playground.”

Next, Begley landed a full-time position as an instructional aide to special education students in grades one through six at Roslyn Elementary School.  She has served in that role ever since, striving to go above and beyond what the job requires, helping children inside and outside of the classroom.

“I recently spoke with a former student who told me that I was one of the most helpful people at school – and to me, he was one of the toughest kids I had,’’ Begley said. “Now he has a family and serves in the military. It’s really rewarding to see the type of impact you can have, even at an elementary level that carries through into adulthood.” 

Begley wears many hats having served on a variety of boards and committees including: PTO president at the elementary and secondary levels; post-prom committee; prom fashion shoe; Opportunities to Learn, Non-Violent Conflict Resolution; School?wide Positive Behavior Support; PSSA preparation and homework clubs; student council; “Fun Fridays;” and other social committees.

When asked what advice Begley has for new ESP members joining PSEA, she replied, “Give the job everything you’ve got. There are a lot of opportunities to help children. They come to school and they’re with us because they need extra help, especially for special education, and that little bit will make all the difference.”

Begley will represent Pennsylvania at the National ESP Conference this spring in Washington, D.C. where she will be among those considered for National ESP Member of the Year.


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