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25-Year Teaching Veteran Elected President of NEA

Iowa native, former head of Arizona affiliate to take office in September

WASHINGTON - July 04, 2008 -

Longtime teacher and advocate for public education, Dennis Van Roekel, was elected president of the National Education Association today by nearly 10,000 delegates at its Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

"My goal is to continue the work of the Association in creating great public schools for every student," said Van Roekel.  "Obviously, I am going to have projects and issues that are close to my heart. Regardless, I plan for this Association to stay the course of making sure that all children-regardless of their race, zip code, or economic status-have access to quality public schools."

Van Roekel, currently finishing his second term as NEA vice president, assumes his new duties on September 1, 2008. The math teacher from Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., has served in numerous key Association offices, including NEA secretary-treasurer, Arizona Education Association president, and Paradise Valley Education Association president.

As NEA president, Van Roekel will serve as chief executive officer, lead the organization's efforts on Capitol Hill and preside over meetings of the Representative Assembly, Board of Directors and Executive Committee. 

His accomplishments include dramatic increases in membership and voluntary political action committee contributions while president of the Arizona Education Association.  As NEA vice president, he oversees the NEA Advisory Committee on Membership. He also serves on the NEA Strategic Planning and Budget Committee and on the Board of Directors of NEA Member Benefits.

Van Roekel was born in LeMars, Iowa, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He earned a master's degree in math education from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He and his wife, Julie, have two sons, Brian and Chad, who live in Phoenix with their families.

Van Roekel succeeds two-term President Reg Weaver, a 30-year classroom veteran from Illinois. "I have enjoyed working with Dennis, and I know he will work hard to keep NEA members energized," said Weaver. "The entire country is ready for change, and a new direction for public education, and Dennis has the skills and leadership to take us there."

Dennis Van Roekel's bio is available at:

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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: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823