Judy Babb, Wakefield Education Association
Each year at the MTA Retired Gathering, an educator or group is recognized with the “Honor Our Own” award for outstanding service. Retired Wakefield Education Association member Judy Babb was awarded this honor in 2020. Here are remarks by MTA Retired member Maura D. Buckley, who nominated Babb for the award.
Throughout her career as a fifth-grade teacher in the Wakefield School System, Judy Babb demonstrated the qualities of an outstanding educator. Her students were her top priority. She created a positive and supportive environment in her classroom, where she constantly considered the learning and emotional needs of each child. This meant that not only during school, but after school and on weekends she was in contact with students, parents, support faculty and administrators in order to provide for each individual student. Judy’s caring nature, her warmth and sense of humor were always evident in the classroom.
Judy recognized early in her teaching career that in order to have a quality educational system, she needed to be a strong advocate for students, teachers, public education and social justice. She realized that this could be accomplished by being involved in the political process. This participation in politics throughout her years as an educator and in retirement included constantly communicating with elected officials and working on political campaigns at the local, state and national levels. Several campaigns that highlight her commitment to electing worthy candidates were her involvement and dedication to the various campaigns and elections of Ed Markey and Katherine Clark.
While working on political campaigns and lobbying town officials and state legislators, she also served as president of the Wakefield Education Association and as a member of the MTA Board of Directors. During this time, she came to understand the value of serving her own community through public office, and she became a Wakefield selectwoman. Judy used this office to create public policies that positively affected education, the employees of the Town of Wakefield, and the well-being of the town’s citizens.
Judy’s leadership of the WEA allowed her to inspire many association members to become involved in political campaigns and to continually petition local and state officials about education and labor issues. She instituted interviewing candidates for School Committee and publishing the candidates’ views in the association newsletter, as well as sharing the information with the public. This interview process eventually led her to have the WEA sponsor School Committee candidates' nights that were open to the public. These candidates’ forums provided the citizens of Wakefield with excellent opportunities to evaluate those running for office.
While performing her teaching tasks, her union duties and her political activities, Judy also found time to pursue an advanced degree at Suffolk Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctor degree. Judy used this degree to further her philosophy of always being there for others. She counseled many of her colleagues on legal issues and provided workshops on legal matters for teachers and staff.
Judy’s sense of fun and dedication to Wakefield shone through during the town’s Fourth of July festivities. For many years, along with her husband, Roy, she was involved in the year-round fund-raising and organizing for this annual event.
Judy’s many successful roles — from classroom teacher, union leader, political activist and local government official to lawyer and involved community member — demonstrate that she is well-qualified to be a nominee for the Honor Our Own Award.