Linda Misja has been teaching for over 41 years. She holds four university degrees and six Pennsylvania teaching certifications, having taught English, ESL, French, Study Skills, and Linguistics in seven different countries around the globe. When she’s not at school, Linda uses her vacations to embark on mission trips to terrorism-stricken Mali – all by herself – bringing toys, clothes, and school supplies to children who would otherwise go overlooked. As Linda describes: “For a child in Mali, owning a pen or pencil is a big deal. Children would follow me around begging for a pen. One of my former students offered me a pair of new Converse shoes and asked me to take them to Mali. I did, and the joy in a teen’s eyes at receiving them was something I can never forget.”
Despite her unwavering, decades long mission to educate the world, the Pennsylvania State Education Association still tried to bully Linda. But they got much more than they bargained for. Having lived in some of Africa’s poorest regions – often surviving with no stove or hot water – Linda does not take for granted the blessing of life in America, and she appreciates the freedoms that we all enjoy.
Therefore, when the PSEA (which Linda has never been a member of) was granted contractual authority in 2012 to charge nonmember fees from teachers, she objected to paying for certain causes the PSEA supports:
“Morally and ethically, I had no choice but to file my lawsuit against PSEA. As a Christian, it was not possible for money from my paycheck to go to support causes that directly violate my principles and religion. As a mother to 4 sons, I hope I am a role model for them in teaching them to always stand up for what they believe in no matter how unpopular this may be.”
Linda believes her court battle is a matter of public service and is a continuation of the work she’s dedicated her entire life to. From volunteering in hospitals as a teenager, to offering her time visiting prisoners and ringing bells for the Salvation Army, Linda Misja has always prioritized serving others. She joined the Peace Corps at just 20 years old, making her one of the youngest volunteers to ever serve, and she has even received Pennsylvania’s “Governor’s Award” in recognition of her lifelong volunteer work!
We are truly honored to have Linda as a member of our AFFT family, and her dedication inspires us to do what we do!