She gives from the heart and her compassion knows no bounds

Providing support with kindness, caring, friendship and commitment. It’s what an Education Support Professional does each day and every year we honor one among the many who exemplifies the ESP vocation. This year, the NEARI Gail Colburn Education Support Professional of the Year is Bonnie Correira.

Bonnie Correira is a fourth-grade paraprofessional at Eldredge Elementary in East Greenwich, the same school district where her career began in 1998. In her nomination, Eldredge fourth grade teacher Kara Ratigan describes Correira as a compassionate instructor in her direct, one-on-one support of students of all abilities and needs. 

Her engagement in the community reaches far beyond the classroom walls. It’s not unusual to see Correira greeting students as they arrive for school or jumping rope with them at recess time. She volunteers in the early morning hours with the Student Council program and helps organize fundraising events each quarter that have benefitted nonprofits around the globe. 

Correira is active with Special Olympics and trains cycling athletes. When she’s not coaching, she volunteers to help other athletes in softball, bowling and croquet. Correira says Special Olympics has been a part of her life for 15 years. 

And of course, her devotion extends to her union: Correira is the EGESP building representative and member of the NEARI ESP Caucus where she helps organize the annual ESP Dinner, and collects books for Read Across America. 

As the statewide recipient, Correira is eligible for the national NEA ESP of the Year award, which includes all expense paid travel to the 2018 NEA Education Support Professional National Conference and a $10,000 personal cash prize. 

We are proud to recognize Bonnie Correira for her boundless energy, creativity, and dedication to her community. She represents the essence of ESPs and the critical role they play in our school communities. 

*The NEARI ESP of the Year award was renamed last year in memory of Gail Colburn, former NEARI leader and staffer who organized the first ESP Caucus in the 1990s. 



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