AERA Executive Director Jill Jackson.

Janice Charlesworth PhotoAt the printing of this issue, Alabama  has moved ahead one hour, COVID-19 vaccinations are being given, businesses and restaurants are open, and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey will lift a statewide mask mandate order. What a long and unsettling year it has been from last spring until now! Many people are recovering from sickness and/or grieving the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19. Collectively, we have seen some dark days, but better days are ahead! I have been amazed at the resiliency of our members.

AERA is on the cusp of starting a new term for the 2021-2023 AERA Board of Directors. I look forward to working with returning board members as well as getting fresh ideas and momentum from incoming board members. With the recent election of state officers and district directors, AERA will forge ahead with the association’s mission always in sight, which is to “actively protect the benefits and interests for all Alabama public education retirees.” AERA is here to fully serve its members and to actively seek new members as we march ahead. Growing membership is directly linked to you, our valued member. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and I encourage you to tell other retired public educators that AERA is working for their best interests!

As we prepare for our Annual Meeting on May 11, 2021, at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center, there will be changes to the structure of the meeting, including a limit to the number of members who will attend due to COVID-19. Please read the article on page 5 for more information. We look forward to holding our usual Annual Meeting in 2022.

I would like to thank each of you for staying the course during this pandemic. Together, we will make it through and AERA will emerge much stronger and better than before!

Jill Jackson – AERA Executive Director.