Education Support Professionals

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Education Support Professionals

Education support professionals work in public schools, career and technology centers, intermediate units, colleges, and daycares. These individuals ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. 

Secretaries/Clerical employees interact daily with students, parents, and staff.  Clerical employees are on the front lines of all office operations, working in settings from schools to administrative offices to transportation facilities.

Custodial and maintenance employees keep schools safe and clean for students, staff, and the community. In addition to performing the heavy cleaning and grounds keeping duties that are most often associated with these jobs, custodial and maintenance perform an array of other tasks, such as clearing snow, making electrical repairs, cleaning up spills, painting, maintaining boilers, and any number of other necessary tasks.

Some know this position as an instructional or noninstructional aide.  An instructional paraprofessional will assist with classroom instruction and provides direct services to students.  Many paraprofessionals work with students with special needs.  Noninstructional paraprofessionals assist with preparing materials, or monitoring students in the cafeteria and other settings.

Food Service
Food service employees ensure that students have access to safe and nutritious meals. Food service Some of the aspects of food service employees include proper food handling, adapting recipes for children with special dietary needs, and nutrition education and practice. The meals provided meet recommended dietary guidelines.

Nurses in the ESP classification assist certified school nurses.  They perform a wide variety of jobs that improve and protect student health and welfare. Nurses provide first aid, monitor immunizations, conduct health screenings, and assist sick and injured children,

Bus drivers are the first people to greet students on their way to school and the last to say goodbye as they return home.  In addition to driving, drivers are responsible for first aid and emergency evacuation procedures, student conduct and discipline, and the safe transportation of students with special needs. All employees in a district’s transportation department keep up with new safety requirements, regulations, and policies.  Bus drivers must have a valid CDL while van drivers do not need a CDL.  Mechanics dispatchers are also employed in the transportation department. 

Technology Assistants
Employees in the technology department lead the effort to maintain high standards of technology and communications in our schools.  They install, repair, and upgrade computers and networks that enable the timely communication of essential information between parents, school district employees, and students.

Skilled Trades
Skilled trade employees maintain and improve the physical quality of school buildings, offices, and facilities, ensuring that they are safe, comfortable, and attractive for students, staff, and the community. Skilled trade employees perform a wide variety of jobs that require specialized expertise requiring licenses or certifications.  Skilled trades may include carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians.   

Key Issues



Subcontracting occurs when a public employer shifts the delivery of services performed by public employees to private businesses (also called outsourcing). PSEA strongly opposes subcontracting ESP member jobs, and supports local associations fighting subcontracting threats in their school districts.

News & Events

Nominate the next ESP of the Year! (2023-24)

Dolores McCracken, the first ESP member in the history of PSEA to serve as the organization’s President, began her career as a paraprofessional in the Council Rock School District. Dolores was a respected and beloved member/leader who dedicated her life to public education. To honor Dolores’ enthusiasm and celebrate her substantial achievements, the PSEA House of Delegates voted to have the annual award of the ESP Member of the Year bear her name as a tribute to her outstanding service.

ESP members in Pennsylvania have been formally organized since 1972. Each and every year, sometimes several times a year, we at PSEA hear and receive wonderful reports of the outstanding work, community service, and dedication of many of these members.The “Dolores McCracken PSEA ESP Member of the Year Award” is presented to a PSEA member who demonstrates outstanding accomplishments and reflects the contributions of ESP to public education.

The recipient of the “Dolores McCracken PSEA ESP Member of the Year Award” will then be nominated for the National Education Association ESP of the Year Award.

Find criteria and nomination procedures linked in the application below. 

Denise Kueny, the 2023 ESP of the Year!

There’s no better time than American Education Week to celebrate our hardworking ESP members. And none more deserving of recognition than Denise Kueny, the 2023 Dolores McCracken PSEA Education Support Professional of the Year.

“Over the past 21 years, I have been fortunate to go to work in a place I love, with people I love. I have met, helped, and been inspired by hundreds of incredible students who have forever impacted my life. I am grateful and humbled by this award. Thank you.”

Kueny works as a special education instructional aide at Tohickon Middle School in the Central Bucks School District. In this role, she assists students in learning skills and lessons, offering plenty of guidance and encouragement along the way.

School colleagues praised Kueny for her dedication, noting that she often spends hours of her own free time reading and preparing to help students during the next day’s lessons.

“Her commitment to our students’ success knows no bounds,” Central Bucks Education Support Professional President Deneen Dry wrote in nominating Kueny. “She goes the extra mile to ensure that each child feels valued and empowered, whether it’s providing assistance during difficult moments, offering words of encouragement, or finding innovative ways to engage and inspire.”

Dry noted that Kueny is a strong supporter of and an asset to her local union, the Central Bucks Education Support Professionals Association.

Get the facts about subcontracting

Preventing subcontracting threats is a priority for PSEA. Get the facts about what's at stake.

Dispatch Newsletter

Read the latest issue of Dispatch, PSEA's newsletter for education support professionals. 


PSEA represents more than 27,000 education support professionals. 

ESP Resources