From the Desk of the NCTA President - Blog

Posted by Christopher Brillant on

April, 2024

We are in the home stretch, folks!

I'm happy to report that planning for our Annual Awards Banquet is well underway and we are currently accepting online reservations! Be sure to be a part of the fun as we celebrate the amazing people who make our schools so special. Reserve your seat by clicking HERE.

Summer is fast approaching - don't forget to check out our graduate course options and sign up for an NCTA course!  Click HERE for more information!

Another exciting opportunity for our locals is the creation of a Bargaining Council. We are working with MTA to offer this for our locals - undoubtedly this will be a game changer at the negotiations table. Our second meeting will be held in Foxboro on April 29th.

I'm also excited to announce that we have formed a committee to look into offering free or low cost PDP-only workshop offerings for the fall. Stay tuned for more information!

Here's to smooth sailing for the rest of this school year. All the best.

Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


January, 2024

Dear Colleagues:

I hope the school year is treating you and your students well. It's hard to believe we are already at the halfway point.

Below I'm happy to share some great news and updates for all of our members. In October we closed our latest round of classroom grants and gave out $9,000 to local educators for some exciting projects. See our NCTA grants page for more information.

Last month we joined all of our local Presidents and NCTA Directors at our annual All-Presidents Meeting which gives our local union leaders a chance to collaborate and share with one another. 

We are just beginning to plan for our June Annual Awards Banquet that will be held at the Envision conference center in Mansfield on June 4th. More information will be coming from your local directors.

I'm also proud to announce two major happenings: 

* NCTA is now an official PDP provider!  This means that we are working on creating learning opportunities for our members to earn PDP's through high interest workshops. Stay tuned for more information.

* I am working on creating a Bargaining Council that will give our member locals a chance to bargain across school district lines and collaborate effectively on negotiating for the benefit of all of our members. A welcome email will be sent to our local Presidents very soon.


Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


September, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to another school year! It's time to open up your classrooms, break out those school supplies and be ready to welcome your new students. I wish you all the best for a smooth first day and beyond.

We are proud to offer our members an opportunity to receive a $300 grant. The deadline to apply is October 11. Click here to apply:

I'm happy to report that our Fall Course menu and registration are both available on our website. Take a look at some exciting new courses as well: Registration closes on September 13.

I'm looking forward to serving our membership in many ways for the upcoming year. Please reach out to me or your NCTA Director if you have any questions or suggestions.


Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


June, 2023

Celebrating at our annual awards banquet on June 6th was absolutely wonderful!  I am so proud to lead this association and have the chance to share in all of our successes. I have copied below an edited version of my introductory remarks. All the best for a wonderful summer.

NCTA Annual Awards Banquet: President’s Speech - June 6, 2023

 A few brief remarks before we officially begin our program…This message goes out to all of you - the more than 6,000 educators who make up our NCTA Locals. Tonight’s theme is about working together to educate every student and that means working with not only our students, their families and our greater school communities.

At this year’s All- President’s dinner I fondly remembered many of my past educators, especially my elementary school teachers who left a lasting impression on me. I asked that those in attendance remember their past educators and how they have influenced them. Today, I would like to ask all of us to remember ourselves but a bit younger - before becoming teachers - what would you say to yourselves and what type of guidance would you offer?

I think if I were to talk to myself over 25 years ago I would give the following advice:

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself: give yourself a break; nobody starts out as the perfect teacher.
  • Rely on your more experienced colleagues - they offer so much insight and wisdom. Use them to your advantage.
  • Don’t let one tough class or day get you down. Oftentimes students don’t realize their actions and it’s ok for them to have bad days, too. Tomorrow is a new day.
  • Build supportive relationships with your students. Connect with them on a personal level when it’s appropriate.
  • Build supportive relationships with your colleagues as well. Everyone needs a port in the storm.
  • Use your time off outside of school to recharge and take a break…stop checking your email on a Sunday afternoon …  it’s ok!
  • Don’t jam the copier and walk away … its annoying!
  • Finally, you’ll be surprised what your students will remember about you - it’s often nothing to do with a lesson or activity, but rather how you created a fun, engaging environment to grow and learn and how they felt a sense of belonging in your class. These are the moments we all strive for.

    Oh, and I’d probably mention that a global pandemic will come in 2020 and totally upend our schools, wreak havoc and cause stress in all of our lives, but that’s a different speech for a different day!

    This year within NCTA we’ve been busy. We rejoiced with our locals who shared how they used the NCTA Pandemic relief funding from last year in creative ways. We held NCTA Union Leader virtual meetings to support one another through negotiations, we continued our very popular Grants Program for educators to inspire learning in their students, and our excellent graduate course program continues to thrive. It’s not too late to sign up for a course - registration closes in a few weeks - you can find our course menus on your tables. And finally this afternoon we celebrate with all of you at this banquet. 

    Today is a rare opportunity to gather with one another, celebrate, and lift up our profession. I hope you are as proud to be here as an NCTA member as I am … we are stronger together. 

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    April, 2023

    Spring is in the air! We are entering that time of year again when we begin to both look ahead to the end of the school year and look back on the year with our current students. It's my hope that you are reflecting on a productive and positive experience thus far and that whatever you have planned for the rest of the year goes well.

    It gives me great pleasure to share that this year's Annual Awards Banquet planning is well under way. Our final banquet to be held at Lombardo's will be on Tuesday June 6, 2023 beginning at 4pm. We look forward to seeing many of our members, their families and colleagues as we all share in celebrating one another. Please take a look here for more information about the banquet and how to reserve a seat:

    As before, we will recognize both educators and other people in our locals with our Honor and Service awards as well as graduating seniors with the NCTA Future Educator award. New this year is the NCTA Rookie of the Year Award which is given to educators from our locals in their first 3 years of teaching. This award is meant to acknowledge those who are new to our profession since we understand how important it is to encourage and support our newest colleagues as they embark on their journey as educators. 

    NCTA continues to offer quality and engaging professional development. Registration is now open for our very popular summer courses. Please consider registering for an online course! Here is a link to our summer course menu:

    All the best to you. I hope to see many of you at the awards banquet in June.

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    December, 2022

    Greetings Fellow Educators:

    As we approach the midyear point and take a moment to spend time with family and friends this holiday season, I want to share with you a few updates from our association.

    First, the NCTA Full Board of Directors hosted our annual All-Presidents' Dinner Meeting held at Lombardo's on December 7th. This event is always well-received and gives us an opportunity to connect with one another, share best practices and meet the MTA leadership. In attendance were Mr. Max Page and Deb McCarthy who shared some of their vision for the MTA and how we can all get more involved. Some pictures of the event can be found on our Facebook page here:

    Also, given the spirit of the event I always try to deliver a meaningful message to my fellow colleagues. This year's theme was remembering past educators and all that they did on our behalf. Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen many of our beloved colleagues leave the profession and it is more and more challenging to fill our vacant classrooms with quality educators. I have included my parting message below for all of you to consider as we begin a new year. It has helped me and I hope it resonates with some of you.

    Another important milestone is our Administrative Assistant's 25th anniversary with the NCTA.  Ms. Janice Hayes was acknowledged with a card signed by all of us in attendance as well as a small gift as a token of our appreciation for all that she does daily for our association. A huge THANK YOU to Janice for a job well done!

    As always, don't forget to check out our 3 credit graduate course offerings and register by January 15th. These are high quality and affordable options at a discounted price. The full course menu can be found here:

    An excerpt from the NCTA President's Address on December 7th:

    "We remember the positive impact our educators had on us as we work each day with our own students, address their needs and deal with the challenges we all face. What keeps us going? It’s the knowledge that we are making a difference – both big and small each day in our own classrooms. We are leaning on one another for support when necessary and we are persevering in solidarity. We firmly believe that a public school education gives our students a foundation for success and what we are doing is so important.

    I ask that you remember your past educators. They went to school each day facing many of the similar issues we face now, although we probably didn’t notice. They also dealt with an ever-changing and demanding profession. What impact did they all have on you? What do you do as an educator that replicates a similar experience you had as a student in their classes? I’m sure they would be thrilled to know that their legacy continues in all of us."

    Happy Holidays,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    September, 2022


    Greetings Fellow Educators, 

    It is that time of year again! I hope that you have all found time to rejuvenate over the summer break. 
    These past few days I have been reminiscing about the summer before I began my first teaching job in 1999. I was full of anticipation and excitement albeit with a healthy dose of nervousness. As educators, we know all too well that feeling leading up to the first day of school and it never quite leaves us. With all the anticipation surrounding this special day, somehow everything always turns out just fine regardless of all the worrying we do ahead of time. I know that will be the same for all of you - enjoy the day and welcome your students with a smile since now they can see our unmasked faces.
    Last June we celebrated our 39th Annual Awards Banquet with 429 guests. Being able to host an in-person banquet once again (the last one being in 2019) was a true joy and I am already looking forward to the next one. This is our flagship gathering and so important to our members for so many reasons. Visit our Facebook page to see some pictures from last year's banquet.
    As I enter my 4th year as your president, we are in very good shape continuing to support our members through our various programs and offerings. Our first full Board of Directors meeting will be held in a few weeks and I will lay out our plans for the upcoming year .... stay tuned.
    I am also very curious to see how the NCTA Pandemic Relief Fund was used in our locals who took advantage of this one time gesture to boost morale and solidarity. Reach out to your NCTA Director and share the good news so that they may bring that information to our first meeting.
    One last thing: a friendly reminder to visit our website and sign up to take a NCTA graduate course, as well as apply for a $300 grant for your students.
    All the best during these much anticipated first days of school.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    June, 2022


     As we approach the end of another school year of teaching during COVID, I want to acknowledge all of you for your hard work and dedication each day. Educators and students have adapted and learned so much over the course of this pandemic and none of it has been easy. Soon we will all have a chance to enjoy a brief summertime respite from these busy days which is so important.

    I feel it's important to acknowledge the terrible tragedy that occurred last week in Uvalde, Texas. How tragic and shocking for all of the victims and their families. These senseless shootings affect us all in a very profound way and we are all processing it on such a personal level. The MTA is planning a day of action on June 1st and more information can be found here

    The NCTA Pandemic Relief Fund was well received and appreciated by many of our locals. To me, this is what makes us so strong: the ability to support one another through challenges and lift each other up. I truly hope that this fund will help boost morale and welcome a "feel good" moment for you all.

    The NCTA Summer Graduate Course Registration process is well underway and will close on 6/15. There's still time to sign up for a quality 3-credit online course. Take a look at our menu here and sign up today!

    I'm happy to share that preparations are well under way for our 38th Annual Awards Banquet to be held at Lombardo's on June 7th. Over 400 guests have reserved a seat to celebrate the many people who make up our membership. I'm happy to host my first banquet as President since we've been on a hiatus due to the pandemic and I'm looking forward to seeing many of you there.

    Enjoy the rest of the school year with your students and take a moment to reflect with them as you close your classroom doors in the coming weeks. Don't forget to plan some days of self reflection and relaxation over the summer - you certainly deserve it.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    March, 2022

    Hello Friends:

    It's been a while since my last post and I'm eager to share with you some important news.

    Undoubtedly, teachers, students and families continue to grapple with the pandemic in so many different ways. Various outbreaks and surges have made this year seem longer than it's been, but at this point in the year we are beginning to see mask mandates lifted and smiles emerge in our classrooms. A recent post I saw on social media stated that getting to know someone wearing a mask is like watching the movie instead of reading the book; I tend to agree!

    This past week, the NCTA hosted an MTA Candidates Forum where we heard from candidates running for MTA President and Vice President. Shared with us were many ideas for recovering from the past two years, building connections and keeping our union strong. Do keep an eye out for the election process and stay informed.

    It's also been a busy few months here at NCTA. Our Full Board of Directors recently passed my proposal to disburse a one-time payment from the NCTA Pandemic Relief Fund to our locals of $250. These funds are meant to assist with boosting morale in creative ways after the arduous experience of the pandemic. I'm grateful for the opportunity to see these funds put to good use and I'm looking forward to hearing from our locals as to how these funds will be used.

    As always, I remind you to browse our Summer Graduate Course options and consider taking a course with NCTA. Our courses continue to provide excellent professional development opportunities for our members at an affordable rate. We are also proud to support our colleagues in public higher education. 

    Another recent decision by our Full Board of Directors has allowed us to begin planning an in-person Annual Awards Banquet for the first time since 2019 - also the first in-person banquet that I will host as your president. We are excited to be able to offer this important and celebratory experience for our members after a two year hiatus. You may find more information about the banquet on our interactive website on our home page. Please spread the word and join us on Tuesday, June 7 at Lombardo's in Randolph for this special occasion. 

    As always, keep doing what you do best and I truly hope you are looking forward to the many offerings from NCTA this spring. We continue to be in this together and only together will we continue to thrive.

    In Solidarity,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President



    December, 2021

    Dear Colleagues:

    We are approaching the winter months after seeing what school looks like after a year of remote and hybrid teaching. Many things have surprised us including the ever-present need to support our students in all areas of their growth both academically and socially, as well as the need to support one another more than ever before. Also, we continue to keep a keen eye on various contract negotiations for educators and support personnel in many of our locals. There is no doubt that being an educator is not easy right now and we are sometimes struggling to meet all of the demands that are placed on us.

    As we continue to grapple with these issues, it's important to lean on one another as well as look for ways to connect with our students in meaningful ways. These times, although challenging, are still full of teachable and memorable moments. 

    I would like to shine a spotlight on two of our programs that mean a great deal to me. This year's applicants have been notified of their $300 NCTA Grant to be used in 28 of our members' classes this year. The projects range from the ability to purchase materials for special projects to the invitation of a guest speaker. These experiences would not be possible without this program and I encourage all of you to take a look at our Grants webpage to see some of the amazing things our members are doing with these added funds.

    Another newsworthy note is that for any educator who signs up for a Spring 2022 Graduate level course with NCTA by January 12 will qualify to be awarded a scholarship for a FREE SUMMER COURSE!  We are so proud to be able to offer this opportunity to our area educators looking to further their education through our trusted, local university and many local instructors. Take a look at our course menu and register today HERE.

    Lastly, I'm looking forward to hosting our annual All-Presidents Meeting on December 1st. This will be our first in-person event in two years and so vital to maintaining the special network we have recently formed in light of the pandemic with our NCTA Regional Union Leaders Meetings. The MTA President, Ms. Merrie Najimy will be our guest speaker amongst our member leaders who will share the latest from their locals.

    I know it's tough right now, but together we will get through this. All the best for a wonderful and safe holiday season.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

     August, 2021

    Dear Colleagues:

    We are about to enter another year of school during a pandemic, but I would like to showcase what we have learned from this past year and a half and welcome us all into this new year with optimism. I would also like to update you on some NCTA happenings.

    As many of our local communities debate the use of masks and buckle down to come up with plans that ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed, educators have been quietly recharging for the new school year.

    So, what have we learned and how can we face our students even though the confusion and anxiety surrounding the pandemic is still present? We have learned that educators always rise to the occasion - we support ourselves so that we may support one another. We are creative and caring, always looking for ways to reach our students. Educators have a bag of tricks that can be easily accessed in the most challenging of classes. In sum, we are resilient and able to "roll with it" as we continue to have our students' best interests at heart.

    Here at NCTA, we held our first in-person / hybrid Executive Board meeting at my home this past week. I also chaired a meeting with local union leaders as we shared ideas and advice on a return to school. This year we will welcome some new Directors to our board from Millis, Norwood, Milton, Braintree and Dover-Sherborn. Currently, we are holding steady by offering our members valuable and engaging graduate course options, a grants program as well as scholarships and ways to network. Don't hesitate to visit our new interactive website to access our programs and course offerings as we are currently open for fall course registration. 

    Although we are still in the midst of a challenging time for us all, we continue to rely on our ingenuity, collegiality, connections with families and personal support systems. Now is the time to focus on the excitement of the first day of school, welcome our students into our little worlds that are our classrooms, and do what we do best: teach!

    In Solidarity and all the best for a safe school year,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

    June, 2021

    Dear Colleagues:

    As I reflect on the past year, many thoughts and questions come to mind. What has inspired me the most is how we have coped with the past year and dealt with all of the challenges as caring, dedicated professionals. In many ways, teachers inspire students through what we do in the classroom and also what they don't necessarily see in front of them. As educators we are always mindful of the impact that our actions have on our professional careers as well as the influence we have on our students. I can truly say that we did the best we could, our students were watching, and we continued to do the hard work of educating and modeling through very challenging situations and for that we should be proud.

    It's also been a busy year for NCTA. We have closed our office in Randolph and our Administrative Assistant will now perform her work duties from home. We offered several opportunities for local union leaders to collaborate with one another through our Regional Union Leaders meetings that began last summer. We organized a virtual awards ceremony for our locals to share with their colleagues in lieu of a banquet. All of these accomplishments showed a team approach to problem solving and doing what is best for our members. We are happy to continue our work with all of you as we look optimistically into the future.

    As we cleared out the office, it's worth noting the history of NCTA and all of the records and documents we have on file. My hope is that soon we will be able to showcase some of this association's accomplishments over the past 174+ years and share it with all of our members on our website.

    I look forward to serving as your NCTA President through our 175th year. I am hopeful that we will meet in person again for our upcoming banquet in June of 2022 and that next year will be full of what we do best: teach and inspire both our students and one another.

    Have a relaxing summer break and take some time out for yourselves... you definitely deserve it!


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

    March, 2021

    Seeing the Light

    Dear Friends,

    Last month the title of this blog post was a "Glimmer of Hope" and after a few short weeks it may be that now we can begin to see the light, however undoubtedly the path to the end of the tunnel is looking like it's going to be challenging.

    Just a few days ago the Governor gave permission for educators and staff members to receive the vaccine which has given us a little more confidence to face our students in person each day. It has also allowed DESE (now BESE, I believe) more confidence to force the full-time reopening of our schools. Although most of our districts within NCTA are operating under a hybrid model, the addition of more students into our buildings poses many challenges that districts are struggling to solve. Clearly with new variants and cases of COVID continuing to persist in our communities, there is still much to consider.

    The question remains as to why this year has been such an uphill battle? Public perception of educators continues to be mostly negative, Commissioner Riley insists on largely ignoring teachers' voices, and local School Committees forge ahead with reopening plans that blindly follow DESE's mandates. What happened to working together as an educational community to solve these unprecedented problems? Why has this pandemic turned into a political debate? Have students needs really been considered all along or has this all simply been a way to undermine teachers unions and divide us? 

    The truth is that educators and staff members who have devoted their professional lives to nurturing and educating children continue to care. We have our students' interests in mind at all times and we want them to feel welcomed and valued in our classes. We understand what they need and how they learn. We also understand that this year has been difficult on families and that without the usual rhythm of the school year, many voids have been created including the social and emotional well-being of our students. The hybrid learning model that many of us have been working under has not allowed us to reach all of our students effectively although we have tried our best. 

    As we look ahead to welcoming more students in person the fact remains that students need us as much as we need the support of our entire educational community as we inch towards school as we knew it before the pandemic. Enough with the blaming and arguing - more of coming together on behalf of our students which is what should have been the focus all along and that is where the true hope lies.

    In NCTA news, we continue to move forward with our office relocation planning which has kept us very busy. Looking through historical documents and convention brochures from years past has been really interesting. We are putting together some pictures and highlights from our long history (c. 1847) and we hope to share it on the website sometime in the future.

    Our Annual Awards Ceremony will be virtual this year. Our First Vice President Jolene Wagner is developing a virtual slideshow that will be shared with our locals in order for them to upload information and pictures of their honorees. We are looking forward to resuming an in-person banquet in June of 2022.

    Don't forget to plan ahead this summer and take a 3-credit graduate level course with us!  Visit for the summer course menu to find 40 online courses in various subject areas taught by local educators.

    Stay well,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

     February, 2021

    A Glimmer of Hope?


    As we begin to round the corner on a full year of dealing with all of the challenges that this pandemic has sent our way, it's somewhat encouraging to begin to think about the future and how we will overcome this difficult period in our lives.

    First, as you know the vaccine is beginning to be administered to those who are most vulnerable. Although there are some logistical concerns and availability issues, educators are hopeful that we will soon be given the opportunity to receive this very important first step to ensuring that we go back to a "normal" school year in the fall. 

    Next I would like to shine a light on the emerging conversations and plans that are beginning to take shape in our locals as we work on helping our students recover from the unintended consequences of school closures, the hybrid/remote teaching model and reduced time spent with peers. Schools are about people whether it be the adults who work in them, the families within the community, but most especially the students we serve each day. There are many issues that must be addressed by schools including academic support, social-emotional well-being, curriculum changes, and community building endeavors. These are tall tasks, but also they harken back to what is truly important and how we can work together to address these important issues.

    Among many others, here are some important questions to consider: 

    How will students be welcomed back in the fall?  

    What can we do to foster a community of respect?

    What types of positions do we need in order to ensure students have access to specialized support personnel?

    What is truly important in our curriculum?

    How can our families and the community at large help with this transition?

    Although difficult, to stay optimistic about what school will look like in the near future gives us all some hope. Especially noteworthy is how this pandemic has highlighted the importance of the school experience for our students and how our educational communities are vital to the growth of our most prized possessions: our young people.

    Here at NCTA, we have been busy as well. By this June, our physical office space will be closed and our very hard-working Administrative Assistant will have the opportunity to work from home. This enables us to maintain the high quality services to our membership while reducing our overhead expenditures. Also, we are planning for a virtual/online Annual Awards Ceremony in order to celebrate the special people in our locals. More information on our banquet and programs can always be found by visiting our website at  A future blog post will include more details about the banquet and our very exciting Summer Graduate Course Menu.

    Stay safe and be well,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

    A Note of Gratitude and Recognition                      

    Dear NCTA Members, Directors, Employees & Officers:
    I want to take this first snow day of the school year to wish you all a happy holiday season as we approach winter break. Undoubtedly, this year has been full of challenges and uncomfortable situations, however, as always educators have risen to the occasion and done the best we can to ensure learning continues for our students.
    Many of you have learned new technology as you've begun to teach your students remotely or in a hybrid model. You've engaged with your colleagues to try new online lessons that make learning fun for your students. You are champions of this pandemic and you deserve a tremendous amount of credit. Additionally, your work as NCTA Directors is valued and appreciated as we stay steady and strong throughout a very unusual year.
    Here at NCTA it's important to recognize our employees and officers for their hard work. Janice Hayes, our administrative assistant works diligently to ensure our internal operations are running smoothly by paying close attention to detail, helping out with our course registration process, and answering my endless emails and texts, and more. Debbie Barrett is our Director of Graduate Programs warrior and always delivers for our clients and instructors who demand a personal touch as well as a rigorous learning experience. The Executive Board is also hard at work keeping a keen eye on all facets of NCTA operations as well as ensuring our new initiatives are supported and well-planned. You are all devoted and hardworking and we are so ever grateful for the work that you do.
    Here's to 2021 and I look forward to seeing you all in January as we continue our important work together. All the best to you and your families.
    Christopher M. Brillant
    NCTA President

    December, 2020

    Dear Colleagues:

    As we enter into the holiday season and a new calendar year, it's important to keep in mind everything that has occurred since March in our personal and professional lives and how it has transformed us. It's also important to reflect on this time and try to find the positives - the little things that keep us going each day.

    Our students appreciate us in many different ways whether it be a sense of routine, engaging in a class discussion via Zoom, participating in a fun online activity, enjoying an outdoor mask break together, or simply laughing at one of our teacher jokes that may indeed never be funny, but very predictable! These are the moments that make teaching special and they are happening even during the pandemic. In the face of adversity, what inspires you to get up each day and be the best teacher you can be for your students may be the only thing that you find comfort in as the world around us sometimes feels as if it were closing in.

    As we approach rising numbers in cases and an unpredictable winter season, I encourage you to try and look at each day with a different perspective. Remember why you are an educator, what motivates you, how you reach your students, and how they react to your teaching style. Will it sometimes be hard? Yes. Will you sometimes feel that you can't do it? Yes. Will you look back on the year 2020 and be happy that it finally ended? Yes. However, some day you will reflect on this past year and you will want to remember the good things, those special moments, the hard work that ultimately paid off.  It's for those things that you will be forever grateful.

    Continue to lean on each other, support your colleagues, reach out to those around you who get you through the tough days. Don't forget to laugh, celebrate your successes, enjoy some free time and connect with people outside of school as much as you can. 

    All the best to you during this holiday season and may we all enjoy a much better New Year. 

    In Solidarity,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

     October, 2020

    Dear Colleagues:

    As we finish the third week of instruction with our students, I want to share with you some of my personal thoughts on being a school teacher during a pandemic. I've heard from many of you as we struggle to balance so much: making personal connections with students, developing quality online/hybrid lessons, avoiding screen time overload, and experiencing the huge learning curve that is happening in real time as we teach like never before. Reinventing teaching is hard work especially when many of our members are faced with budgetary constraints and lackluster support from our district and school leaders.

    However, there is a ray of hope that I continue to see amongst colleagues and that is the continued dedication and willingness to forge ahead on behalf of our students. No matter what, we are doing the best we can and I am ever so grateful to work with the many educators that make up our membership within the NCTA. You are valued, you are respected, and you are important.

    Being an educator right now is challenging.

    What we are doing each day is difficult.

    How we are feeling is valid.

    How we support each other is important.

    What we offer our students is valuable.

    The support systems that we have are necessary.

    Our students need us.

    Teaching during a pandemic is hard. 

    Some day in the future, our students will look back on these times and remember those who were there for them: family members, friends, and their teachers. Best of luck and continued successes in your classes - whether big or small. We are public school educators and we are here, as always, for all of our students and for each other. 

    In Solidarity,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

     August/September, 2020

    Dear Colleagues:

    To sum it up, it's been a long summer. Over the past few months, many of our districts have seen unprecedented challenges as they face the reality of returning to school during the COVID 19 pandemic.  There are no easy solutions to the problems that we face, however, we have seen that swift action by many of our local associations has created a network of educators who are willing and able to tackle these issues and create favorable conditions for teachers and students to return to school safely.

    I am also aware that there are many of our locals who are struggling during this time. Budget cuts in the spring coupled with the crippling safety protocols and guidelines that must exist to welcome our students into our buildings have also ushered in a sense of uncertainty. Many of our buildings are not considered safe due to ventilation issues and lack of space in order to maintain the proper distance between students in a class. Other districts are grappling with transportation and scheduling issues - the infamous debate over "hybrid vs. remote" learning models has created heated discussions in our communities. It's essential that school leaders alongside parents and educators work together to solve these problems instead of the contentious battles we have seen in some of our locals.

    On a personal note, I am proud of the work that NCTA has done over the spring and summer. Each Friday for the past few months, I have hosted virtual Regional Union Leader Meetings where up to 40 participants have come together to share ideas and network in order to assist in negotiations and learn from other locals. The MTA President, Ms. Merrie Najimy has also joined us to offer her support as well as offer us space at statewide virtual meetings to share what some of our locals have been doing. These regional union leader meetings have created an essential network of educators and I plan to continue hosting them into the school year. We have also drafted a statement that our locals are invited to share with their membership which can be found here.

    Our yearly planning calendar has been approved and we anticipate virtual meetings up until our December Holiday Presidents Meeting at Lombardo's. We will wait until our October meeting to determine if it is safe to meet then. If not, we will hold the meeting virtually.

    In the meantime, I encourage all educators to apply for a $300 NCTA grant this fall. The application and website with exemplars is now available by visiting this link.  Also, you're invited to sign up for a graduate level course this fall - I hear we have some amazing new courses along with our already attractive array of exciting educational opportunities!

    I truly wish you all the best this coming school year. We are all facing challenges that we never anticipated, but as this summer has shown we can continue to work together and support one another. Now more than ever our students need us to be strong and supportive - as we have been to each other - and together we will get through this!

    In solidarity,

    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    June/July, 2020

    Dear Colleagues:

    By now you've finished with online teaching, entered grades or report card comments, and most likely you've returned to your classroom for a final walkthrough and to pack up anything left behind back in March.  What a challenging spring this has been for us, our students and our families. Especially noteworthy is the fact that educators quickly rose to the occasion, adapted to virtual teaching, and always held students' best interests in mind. It reaffirms the fact that we are resilient and consistent in our goal to support young people both academically and emotionally. Although not a perfect situation, it was truly a job well done!

    I'm well aware that many of our locals are facing devastating budget cuts that are adding to an already uncertain future. We stand in solidarity with you and offer any help we can to ensure a full staff of teachers and support personnel will be present to adequately welcome all of our students in the fall. I'm hopeful that the HEROES Act will be able to alleviate some of these cuts and lessen the burden on our local school budgets. If you haven't done so already, please reach out to your legislators via this link to ask them to support these vital funds:

    Just yesterday, the DESE released some preliminary guidelines for districts to consider as we plan for the upcoming school year. Although daunting, it does allow us the summer to brainstorm ideas, create new schedules, and solve different scenarios that will undoubtedly occur. Many districts have created task forces to work out solutions to a possible return to classrooms. The guidelines can be found here:

    In case you missed it, in light of the unfortunate incidents in our nation and especially after the death of George Floyd, the NCTA released a statement of dedication to anti-racist teaching that was shared with over 8,000 of our members. The link to that statement can be found here:

    NCTA Statement on Anti-racism

    In other news, I'm proud to say that almost 300 of our members chose to take an online course with NCTA for the summer session. The courses we offer, many of which are taught by local educators, are an invaluable way to stay informed and maintain licensure at a discounted rate. Be on the lookout later this summer as we release our fall course menu if you're interested in pursuing a convenient way to learn something new and earn graduate credits.

    Soon, we will be planning NCTA's Calendar of Events and Activities. The plan is to have most of our fall meetings virtually, with the hope that we will still be able to host the Annual Presidents' Holiday Dinner in December at Lombardo's. Also on the summer agenda is a plan to create New Teacher Packets, likely virtual ones, that we can share with locals as they welcome new teachers to their districts.

    As we enter into "summer mode", I encourage you to take a break from the news cycles, read a book, take a stroll, relax with family and friends, and simply breathe. You've earned this time to regroup and recharge for what will be a new approach to teaching and learning, but as educators have all proven recently, our dedication to students will continue to be the focus regardless of the challenges that face us.

    I'm looking forward to a second year as President and connecting with many more of you as we continue our important work together.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    May, 2020

    It's certainly been a challenging spring for many of us as we've learned how to navigate a new world of remote, online teaching as well as balance our other professional and personal responsibilities. As usual, educators have risen to the occasion and continued to do what's best for  students despite this unwelcome change to our daily lives.

    As many of you have heard, our Annual Awards Banquet has been postponed until next June - the first time since its inception in 1983. Any local who submitted names for the Teacher Honor Award and Service Award will have the opportunity to celebrate with their friends and colleagues next year. We're looking forward to being with all of you at that time.

    Our Future Educator Book Awards are being processed and we are happy to honor our graduating seniors who are considering a career in teaching. We wish them all the best!

    Most recently, many of our locals have heard the difficult news that reduced state aid will bring to our schools. To that end, NCTA encourages you to promote the $3 trillion HEROES Act with your state legislators which would allocate more funding for public schools. More information can be found here:

    As I write this, I'm preparing for a virtual meeting alongside NCTA Directors, Local Presidents and the MTA President Ms. Merrie Najimy to discuss the implications of school closures, student needs, budgetary woes and next steps for the eventual return to our classrooms. I'll be sure to share any insight with you on our website, Facebook page and future blog posts.

    Also, I hope many of you consider taking a summer online graduate course with NCTA. These 3-credit courses taught by many local educators and that are supportive of public higher education (Framingham State) are a great way to stay up to date while fulfilling recertification requirements. The deadline to register for a course is June 15th. More information can be found here:

    This school year has certainly tested us, but it has also cast a light on our resilience and perseverance to serve our students' needs both academically and emotionally. In many cases, our students need us now more than ever and we are there for them, as always.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President

     March, 2020

    I hope this message finds you well.  These are uncertain times for all of us, however, we can find comfort in the fact that we are united in our common goal of keeping everyone safe and healthy.

    By now your school district is working on plans to keep learning alive as we deal with statewide school closures due to the coronavirus's arrival in our area. Many of our locals are negotiating fair terms of any type of agreement that allows for learning at home due to several factors including access to the internet as well as access to the curriculum for those who require one-on-one assistance.

    Your local Presidents as well as MTA have been hard at work to ensure a plan that's best for all including signing a petition to cancel MCAS testing this spring among other initiatives. I encourage you to visit the MTA website for ongoing updates and important information. I've added a link on our website which can be found here:

    Additionally, for those who like to plan ahead and would like to take an engaging online course, our Summer Graduate Course Offerings are currently online and can be found here:

    As of now, our 37th Annual Awards Banquet is still scheduled for June 2nd at Lombardo's in Randolph. Your local NCTA Director is currently in the process of facilitating who your honor and service award recipients will be for this year. Please reach out to them if you have any questions about that process. Your Director's name can be found here:

    Our students continue to be our top priority and we are grateful to all of those who support and encourage us as educators during these challenging times.


    Christopher M. Brillant, NCTA President


    January, 2020

    Happy New Year!

    It's hard to believe that we've entered a new decade and that 20 years have gone by since the turn of the century.  For NCTA, this is the second time the organization has seen a century begin and we hope to see another in 2100!

    With the future in mind, it's been a tremendously busy year for NCTA and I'm happy to share some of what we've been doing so far. As I mentioned in August, we began our Strategic Planning process which has been both engaging and informative for us as we begin to carve out specific action plans that will guide us moving forward. More to come on that process later on this spring - so stay tuned.

    Additionally, I have been looking at ways to improve communication by the use of different platforms such as our new Facebook page and Google Forms to facilitate both communication and outreach to our members.  I encourage you to like and share our Facebook page entitled "Norfolk County Teachers Association". There you will find links to course registration, pictures of our events such as the December Presidents' Dinner as well as other news and updates.

    We are anxiously preparing for the Spring, 2020 course semester and registration closes on January 15th.  NCTA consistently offers engaging and affordable graduate level courses that are ever-changing to meet the needs of all educators.  I invite you to contact us if you are thinking of teaching a course through NCTA.  It's a tremendous opportunity and a way for you to share your enthusiasm and knowledge with colleagues across the county.

    That's all for now.  I hope winter continues to be kind to us. In fact, as I write this post, it's 70 degrees outside and it feels as though Spring is knocking on our door.  All the best with your students as we approach the mid-year point.  I'll be back here in June with my final blog post with the year in review.


    Christopher M. Brillant


    August, 2019

    Greetings Fellow Educators:

    It is with great pleasure that I begin to serve in my new role as NCTA President!  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead the oldest teachers' association in the country that is full of over 7,500 dedicated, engaged and passionate educators.   

    I have been a member of NCTA since 1998, and I began my involvement with the board back in 2005.  Since then, I have served in many capacities: as a local director, grants coordinator, first vice president, and annual awards banquet chair.  In these roles I became more aware of the great work that we do not only as educators, but as leaders in our schools.  Given today's political climate and economic challenges, our work as teachers is not easy, but I firmly believe in public education and the positive impact we have on our students and colleagues alike.

    At NCTA, we believe the best way to serve our locals is to continue our legacy of offering a wide array of graduate level courses at discounted prices, hosting our annual awards banquet where we celebrate the achievements of educators, students and friends of our locals, as well as continuing our grants program that allows teachers to create awesome learning experiences for their students. 

    I'm happy to announce that this year NCTA will begin a strategic planning process that will guide our association moving forward for the next 3-5 years.  A collaborative and inclusive process will ensure that all locals are heard.  I'm eager to see what comes of these meetings and I will be sure to keep you informed here on our website.

    I wish you all a positive and successful year with your students!


    Christopher M. Brillant

    NCTA President

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