District 7475 Governor Nominee Ann Walko - 2019-2020
Ann is a professor in the School of Education at Kean University in Union, NJ. She holds a B.A. degree in Elementary Education as well as a Master's degree in Administration and Supervision from Kean. She held a National Science Defense Grant in Mathematics at the University of Delaware, received a certificate in Arbitration and Negotiations from the Rutgers Labor Center and a Doctorate from Rutgers University. She teaches on both the graduate and undergraduate divisions at Kean University where, prior to becoming a professor, she held the post of Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and has served on a host of committees to help make Kean an environment for student learning.
As an ethnographer and author, she wrote the first book on the Estonians of Lakewood, NJ which was cited by the NJ Assembly. Ann is a national and international speaker and workshop presenter. She served as an ambassador to China on several occasions speaking on behalf of women's issues and education. Her work has been translated into Mandarin as well as English. She was invited by the World Education Congress to view the Space Program at Star City in Russia while serving as the Aerospace Education Director for the Northeast Region under the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force where she holds the rank of Lt. Col. Her last duty station was as an Inspector General for the New Jersey Wing responsible for the functioning of one-third of the squadrons in New Jersey.
Her work with UNICO, the largest Italian American Service organization in the U.S., includes having served as the first female president of the Plainfields' Chapter, 1st female Alternate Deputy District Governor for District X, as well as serving on the national level as the Membership and Retention Director while also serving on the Scholarship Committee, the Ella Grasso Awards Committee, and the Convention Site Committee. She was selected as a recipient of the Chapter Americanism Award, the District Americanism Award and the National Americanism Award for her work with veterans and homeland security. Ann moved through the national chairs to becoming the first female from the east to serve as the national UNICO president in its 95 year history, overseeing the functioning of more than 130 chapters throughout the United States.
As a community leader, she has been cited for her work by the Boy Scouts of America, the Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs, and the NJ Assembly for her work with veterans, to name a few. She is the only female in the state of NJ to receive both the Minuteman and the Minute Women awards for her work with women veterans, having produced a documentary on the Role of Women in the Military. She also co-wrote the Teacher's Guide for the IMAX movie-Fighter Pilot. She is currently embarking on training in Homeland Security, having completed courses in the area of Weapons of Mass Destruction given by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Critical Infrastructure Key Resources Awareness under the Union County Division on Homeland Security.
Ann was recently the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for her scholarly, campus and community involvement and for bringing positive recognition to the university.
Ann became a Rotarian in 2007, having been invited to join the Watchung Warren Club where she has been a productive member serving in a host of positions. She also served as an Assistant Governor and is currently the president of the Watchung Warren Club, as well as having been vetted as the District Governor Nominee Designate. She is a multiple Paul Harris recipient, has attended district conferences and assemblies, and attended her first Rotary International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia which she considered a great opportunity to meet Rotarians from all over the world while learning how to amass knowledge to help her club. Ann has served as the Director for the Public Image and Promotion Committees and as Director for the Awards and Recognition Committees for District 7510. She will remain as the Awards Director for another term.
Ann has always lived a life of service, so she and Rotary are perfect together. She has immersed herself in the Rotary process having completed all PETS training, met new friends, and has been given the opportunity to grow intellectually. There is so much to learn but that will only occur if one is engaged and active. Her son, Michael, an Eagle Scout and HAZMAT professional in Union County, has also become a Rotarian, continuing the family legacy of Service Above Self.