Executive Director's Message
Wanda Ruffo Twigg
In May of 1945, were you sleeping in your bassinet, attending or teaching school, working in a factory to support the war effort, or were you not yet a twinkle in your parent’s eye?
It was on May 16, 1945 that a group of 23 retired teachers met at the YMCA in Baltimore to discuss issues faced by retired Maryland public-school employees. The group of 23 teachers hailed from Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, St. Mary’s and Wicomico Counties. This group became known as the Retired Teachers of the State of Maryland.
The primary concern of those 23 teachers was financial. Many retired educators were receiving a monthly pension of $50 or less. Others received between $50 and $100. It wasn’t long before the group was advocating to Governor O’Connor for significant increases to the teacher pension.
It was mid-May of 1945. V-E Day had just occurred, the first atomic bomb had not yet been dropped, and victory in Japan was a few months away. The first Baby Boomers were soon to be born and the American economy was roaring.
Perhaps it was the strength of the American worker (think Rosie the Riveter) that fueled the victory in WWII that moved these early leaders to band together as the war was winding down. Maybe it was understanding how much stronger we are when we work with our allies to achieve a common goal that led them to start the journey of advocacy for retired educators. Perhaps it was the optimism derived from victory and the hope derived from pending world peace.
Whatever their motivations, those of us who have benefitted from their advocacy are sincerely grateful for the work and vision of these early leaders of our association almost 75 years ago.
Wanda Ruffo Twigg
MRSPA Executive Director