Gateway member honored as ESP of the Year

Cheryl Harper, an instructional paraprofessional and member of the Gateway Teachers Association, was honored May 16th as MTA's ESP of the Year.

ESP Committee Chair Donna Johnson, who presented the award during the opening dinner, said Cheryl has worked with special needs children at Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, Mass., since 1981. She is responsible for implementing routine and specific accommodations contained within each child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) under the supervision of a moderate special needs teacher. In addition, Cheryl has a particular talent and skill in the area of mathematics instruction and MCAS support. Her ability to connect with children of all ages and abilities is especially noteworthy.

Cheryl is viewed as a strong leader within her local association, Johnson said. She has served in numerous capacities including vice president of her unit and as a member of the negotiations committee. She also serves as an advocate within the local association and has helped elevate the role of instructional paraprofessional within and across the district.

The conference on Plymouth Harbor opened Friday, May 16, with workshops on career tips, digital photography and retirement planning. MTA Vice President Paul Toner spoke to members about the need to organize to fight a question that will be on the November ballot to eliminate the state income tax.

The conference continued May 17 with workshops on topics such as special education, behavior management and collective bargaining. Members also volunteered for the ballot campaign by signing up at