Cheyney Chapter President Norma George is also an APSCUF officer-at-large. APSCUF photo

One of APSCUF’s newest officers-at-large, Cheyney Chapter President Norma George, got her start in education on the same campus she is now serving.

As an international student from Grenada, George originally wanted to be a foreign-language writer. She majored in Spanish and French, earning two bachelor’s degrees from Cheyney. During her time as a student, George studied abroad in Spain and France, wanting to immerse herself into the culture as well as the language. George said she felt that the atmosphere of Cheyney was what drew her into staying there. The sense of community amongst a small student body reminded her of life back in Grenada. George said she felt only positivity from her professors; she knew they only wanted what was best for her and helped her achieve that.

Once she graduated, she worked for the Philadelphia School District as a bilingual teacher. George then returned to Cheyney as an adjunct professor; later, she secured a tenured position. Her new colleagues were her former professors, and she joined them in the union. As she became aware of the benefits of being an APSCUF member, she wanted to get more involved. George went on to serve on various committees, such as the grievance and negotiations committees. George has also served on statewide meet-and-discuss and in APSCUF’s legislative assembly.

In 2017, George received a retrenchment letter from her administration. She said she felt a sense of security because of her membership in APSCUF. During the time that was needed for George to be reinstated, she went to Taiwan to teach English and studied Mandarin. After being reinstated, George explained that she wanted to take a step back from APSCUF leadership — to focus on teaching. But more retrenchments were happening around her.

“APSCUF needed me,” George said, discussing how she wanted to help and protect fellow colleagues in similar situations. She soon after was elected Cheyney’s APSCUF chapter president.

George was elected in April to an officer-at-large position on the executive council of State APSCUF. In this position and as chapter president at Cheyney, she said she wants to help unify Cheyney APSCUF members and get more members involved in APSCUF.

“APSCUF is my union,” George said. “APSCUF is my voice.”

—Chloe Kissinger,
summer 2023 APSCUF intern