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Eskelsen recognized as Hispanic Business Magazine’s 2009 Woman of the Year finalist

Award acknowledges rise from cafeteria worker to leader of largest labor organization in U.S.

WASHINGTON - June 06, 2009 -

Hispanic Business Magazine today recognized Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, as 2009 Woman of the Year finalist. The business magazine honored Eskelsen for her hard work as well as her unwavering dedication to the teaching profession and commitment to improving the lives of all children. Each year, the magazine salutes a select group of Hispanic women who have made a national impact by demonstrating the highest levels of achievement in their professions.

“I am honored by this recognition from the Hispanic business community,” said Lily Eskelsen, NEA vice president. “A great education and a strong economy go hand in hand, and we need strong active partners—like Hispanic Business magazine—to ensure great public schools for all students.”

Eskelsen began her career in education as a lunch worker in a school cafeteria.  She became a kindergarten aide and was encouraged by the teacher to think about going to college and becoming a teacher herself. She worked her way through college on scholarships, student loans, and as a starving folk singer, graduating magna cum laude in elementary education and later earning her master’s degree in instructional technology. Today, Eskelsen is one of the highest-ranking labor leaders in the country and one of its most influential Hispanic educators.

“It is humbling to be singled out among so many amazing women working to improve our communities and protect the basic right of every student to receive a quality public education,” Eskelsen said.

Eskelsen joined the magazine’s Woman of the Year recipient, the Honorable Frances Garcia, inspector general of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and other WOY finalists, including Marion Luna Brem, president and CEO, Love Chrysler; Dr. Amelie Ramirez, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; and Ramona Romero, corporate counsel for the Logistics and Energy Division of DuPont.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez (202) 822-7823,