By Laurin Stroud
After being elected president of the Tennessee Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) in June of 2019, Lynn Tucker of Dyer was ready to assume his duties on July 1, 2020.
The ongoing COVID-19 health crisis had other plans for the retired educator, and TRTA canceled all of its state meetings.
“The effects of the pandemic greatly affect all of us, but maybe retired folks more than others,” Tucker said. “We are in an older category, may have more health-related issues, and we may have a greater need for social contact. As a state organization, we are encouraging local units to remain in contact with their members with telephone calls and Facetime or Zoom meetings. We are conducting our official business through virtual meetings and conference calls.”
Tucker was supposed to attend a weeklong National Education Association (NEA) meeting in Atlanta earlier this month. The meeting was held virtually instead, with 8,000 people from across the country participating in the online meeting over two days.
“It was certainly not the same as face to face or in person, but this is how we’re currently operating,” Tucker said.
TRTA was formed in 1957 for the purpose of promoting the economic, social, and professional interests of retired teachers. The organization works in cooperation with active teachers statewide through the Tennessee Education Association (TEA), nationally through NEA-Retired, and locally through any organization that supports public education and local teachers. TRTA currently has a membership of 8,700 retired educators with 89 local chapters across the state, including the 90 members that are part of the Gibson County Retired Teachers Association (GCRTA).
GCRTA was formed 52 years ago and has remained active in the community. The group typically meets six times a year, goes on an annual field trip, and hosts programs focused on retired individuals and legislative updates.
“Much of our work centers on monitoring state legislation and lobbying for improvement in retirement benefits for retired educators,” Tucker said. “As retirees from public schools in Tennessee, we are dependent on retirement through the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, social security for our subsistence, and Medicare for health care. As retired professional educators, we are also concerned about issues that may do harm to a sound public education system. We support our active teachers in classrooms across the state.”
In recent years, GCRTA members, with help from the community, have established a grant program for classroom teachers. Grants are awarded to help teachers across the county implement academic and enrichment programs. Tucker’s wife Jackie, who has served as GCRTA president for the past two years, has played an integral role in the grant program.
Lynn Tucker began teaching in Dyer in 1970 and later moved into administration as principal of Dyer School. In 1997, he accepted a position as an administrator in the central office for Gibson County Special School District. He retired with 43 years in education.
For more information on Tennessee Retired Teachers Association, visit http://www.teateachers.org/trta-tennessee-retired-teachers-association.