Building reps are often a teacher’s first point of contact when questions arise—ranging from practical matters to sensitive subjects. They are their colleagues’ contract enforcer, organizer, and spokesperson.
A building rep’s job is vital, but it’s time-consuming, and often receives little thanks.
That’s why, here at CEA, we’re recognizing building reps around the state for their dedication to their colleagues and their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to this important job.
This week’s building rep superhero is Amber Scherber, a science teacher at Old Saybrook High School (OSHS) for the past 14 years.
Scherber, who has been a building rep since 2013, says, “I think it’s important for teachers to know that someone they are familiar with is always there to support them and assist them.”
Describing her role in her local Association, Scherber says, “As a building rep, I advocate for my OSHS colleagues, listen to their concerns, explain the current teachers’ contract, and answer any questions. I’ve met with every member of the union at the high school individually and had one-on-one conversations with them. The talks were eye-opening and reminded me that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily routine that we don’t make the time to stop and have meaningful conversations with colleagues. I learned a lot in this process. Some of my proudest moments have been when teachers told me, ‘I really appreciated you being there for me.’”
Scherber acknowledges, “Teachers are super busy doing what they do best and navigating many new initiatives all at once, so making time for union activities is not always easy. But I try to remind people that it’s important to be involved and informed. If you are asked to vote on a union issue, it’s imperative that you know what is going on in your school and your district to make sure you are making the best of your vote. Having seen union support in many teacher situations over the past four years, I share with my colleagues why they should make a point of attending general membership meetings and having their voices heard.”
Scherber, who has a dual bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, completed a master’s in human nutrition, and has been an EMT since 2010, is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. “I really love anatomy and physiology, and I am a believer that the more I know, the more my students know.”