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New Board Members Elected at NEA Annual Meeting

Local leaders will help shape policy for 3.2 million-member National Education Association

WASHINGTON - July 05, 2008 -

The  National Education Association has elected 10 at-large members-one from higher education and nine education support professionals- for three-year terms to serve on the NEA Board of Directors. 

"Keeping the connection inside the classroom and within our schools and universities is what helps NEA deliver one message with many voices," said NEA President Reg Weaver.  "These educators who have been elected to the NEA Board of Directors are active in their communities and true advocates for public education.  Together, they will work with NEA to ensure that every child has access to a great public school."

The election is one of the many actions the nearly 10,000 NEA delegates have made over the six-day Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly.  During the convention, delegates discuss, debate and vote on critical issues facing public education.  

The Board of Directors and NEA's nine-member Executive Committee are responsible for the general policies and interests of the Association.  The Board of Directors consists of at least one director from each state affiliate, as well as an additional director for every 20,000 NEA active members in the state.  The Board may also include at-large representatives of ethnic minorities, administrators, classroom teachers in higher education, and active members employed in education support positions. 

Sally Pestana, professor of health sciences at the University of Hawaii, was elected to the at-large higher education position.  She ran unopposed.  Her top priorities include transforming the No Child Left Behind Act, securing a living wage for all members and ensuring affordable quality health insurance for all members.

The following active members were elected to ESP at-large positions:

Leslie A. Dake, Sioux City, Iowa.  Dake is currently a secretary at Sioux City West High School and has served at the local, state and national levels of NEA.  Her goals include continuing to work to elect pro-public education lawmakers at all levels of government and "providing meaningful professional development and a competitive living wage for all education employees."

Arthur L. Goff, Cobb, Ga.  Goff is a paraprofessional at the Cobb County School District. He is a prior member of NEA's Board of Directors, and has co-chaired NEA's Black Caucus.  He will continue to focus on making changes to NCLB and decreasing the dropout rate. 

Veronica Henderson, Baltimore, Md. Henderson has been an ESP with the Baltimore County Public Schools for almost 30 years.  She is a prior member of NEA's Board of Directors and was NEA's 2007 Education Support Professional of the Year.  She will continue to work on issues such as unrealistic and unfunded NCLB mandates and the recruitment and retention of educators. 

Marguerite Jones, Seattle, Wash.   Jones is a special education assistant with Seattle School District #1, where she has worked for 39 years.  She plans on working to close the achievement gaps and will address the underfunding of NCLB.

Marie Knutson, Amery, Wis. Knutson is a kindergarten paraeducator in the Amery School District.  She is currently president and ESP program director of her local association.  "I … believe that our greatest priority is lobbying Congress to fix the health care crisis."

Jim McClure, Painesville Township, Ohio.  McClure works as a material handler at Mentor Public Schools, where he has worked since 1985.  He has served as local association president since 2004.  Among McClure's priorities are "fixing and funding NCLB, fully funding special education, and ensuring professional salaries and health care for teachers and ESPs."

Donna Nielsen, La Porte, Ind.  Nielsen has worked as a school bus driver for La Porte Community Schools since 1987.  She has served three terms as chair of Indiana State Teachers Association's State ESP Council.  Nielsen's primary issues are "a living wage for ESP colleagues" and affordable health care. 

Jolene E. Tripp, Redlands, Calif. Tripp is a bus pass coordinator and former school bus driver for the Redlands School District.  Tripp feels there is a "real lack of respect and acknowledgement of how vital public education is." 

E. Jameel Williams, Vance County, N.C. Williams is currently a teacher assistant and school bus driver for the L. B. Yancey Elementary School in Henderson, N.C.  He has been Vance County Education Association president for four years.  Williams believes that "quality education for our students and fair professional employment are a must.  Salaries must reach the national average in order for educators to survive without working two or three jobs."

For more information and a full listing of scheduled events:

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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: Staci Maiers  (202) 822-7823