Jean Savidge named recipient of prestigious NEA-Retired award.
Jean Savidge, a longtime member of Washington Education Association–Retired, was honored Sunday with the Distinguished Service Award. The distinction goes to one NEA–Retired member who has gone above and beyond on behalf of educators—active and retired—and students.
Savidge is the 14th NEA–Retired member to receive the recognition.
As he presented her with the honor, NEA-Retired President Tom Curran called Savidge “the essence of an involved NEA-Retired member,” adding that her work exemplifies her retired association’s motto: “Retire from your position. Not your profession.”
Savidge began her teaching career in 1952, becoming president of Washington state’s Hoquiam Education Association.
Following her 1983 retirement, she attended the first annual meeting of the newly formed NEA-Retired, and returned home eager to organize retired NEA members in her state. Savidge’s determination paid off, and in 1987 WEA-Retired was born.
A year later, Savidge was elected vice president of the fledgling organization. In 1990, she was elected president. Under her leadership, WEA- Retired became strong financially, and received recognition as the only sanctioned retiree group for WEA’s retired members.
Savidge’s presidential term ended in 1994, but she continued to serve the organization-first as a member of the NEA-Retired board, and later as a member-at-large on the NEA-Retired Advisory Council.
Savidge also managed the WEA-Retired newsletter committee, developed the WEA-Retired pre-retirement seminar, and served as chair of the seminar committee until 2008. Today, the program reaches more than 1,500 members through nearly 60 seminars. Savidge continues to recruit new presenters and leads seminars throughout the state.
In her nomination of Savidge, WEA-Retired President Kit Raney wrote, “At age 83, Jean is an exemplar for every leader in the country, retired or active … [she] has been working her whole life to make certain that educators are well represented.”