Marsha Zierk. RIP.

There was a Facebook post this morning from my friend Ed Rosenthal saying Marsha Zierk has died.

I’m a local IEA activist. My relationship to the state organization consists of attending the IEA Representative Assembly and the NEA RA as a state delegate. And blogging about it. Not much more than that.

My contact with Marsha was on those couple of days a year when the IEA RA and NEA RA met.

I knew she was a strong local leader from out in the western ‘burbs.

I also knew she was a dedicated teacher unionist who fought to protect teacher union rights like they’re gold. Which they are.

We found ourselves on different sides of issues from the start. My first RA was about a national merger with the AFT, which I supported and Marsha opposed. She was with the state leadership on that issue. She won that one.

Lately, not so much, as she would tell me of her concerns with the erosion of hard-fought bargaining rights and the conciliatory nature of recent IEA state leaders.

Even when we disagreed she would counsel me on RA floor strategy. She wanted minority voices heard. Democratic discussion was as important to her as being right. Well, almost as important.

When a good teacher and union leader dies, it’s important to stop and take notice.

One thought on “Marsha Zierk. RIP.

  1. Mrs. Zierk was also a wonderful teacher whom saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I had her as my English teacher Freshman and Senior years of high school. I remember as a senior in 1996, there was a Central Education Association scholarship that was for future teachers, I did as any student would and procrastinated. Mrs. Zierk wrote my letter of recommendation with 24 hours notice and I won the scholarship.
    She had a poster in her room that I will always remember it said, “if you want to get anywhere in life never take the elevator and always take the stairs.”
    I have taken that advice with me and have worked hard… I now have a Masters Degree and have been teaching for almost 12 years. I feel that she had some part in that… she will be missed!

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