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NEA delegates re-elect leaders to stand strong for nation’s students and public education

Dennis Van Roekel and Lily Eskelsen re-elected as president and vice president

CHICAGO - July 03, 2011 -

Facing unprecedented attacks on their rights and profession, thousands of National Education Association (NEA) members from across America today delivered a vote of confidence in their current leadership. Delegates to NEA’s 90th Representative Assembly in Chicago re-elected President Dennis Van Roekel and Vice President Lily Eskelsen to continue to stand strong for the nation’s students and public education. “I am honored by this vote of confidence from my colleagues, ” said Van Roekel. “I am proud and grateful to have the opportunity to continue speaking up for students and public education on behalf of our members.  We will continue the work already underway to stand strong to defeat efforts to silence the voices of educators and push back against harmful actions that undermine public education.” 

Nearly 9,000 educators from every state are attending NEA’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly (RA) through July 5. The RA is the top decision-making body for the 3.2 million-member NEA. Delegates set Association policy and address issues facing schools, students and the teaching profession.

Van Roekel, a 25-year classroom veteran, is finishing his first term as NEA president. The math teacher from Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., has served in numerous key Association offices, including NEA vice president, secretary-treasurer, Arizona Education Association president, and Paradise Valley Education Association president.

NEA delegates also re-elected Lily Eskelsen as vice president. Eskelsen, an elementary school teacher from Utah, is finishing her first term as vice president. Previously, she served two terms as NEA secretary-treasurer. Eskelsen, who is Hispanic, is one of the highest-ranking labor leaders in the country.

“Now more than ever, as members and working families face political and economic challenges, we need to stand strong for our students, great public schools and America’s middle class,” said Eskelsen. “This vote sends a message that our leadership is going to continue to push hard on elected officials to stop catering to large corporate interests at the expense of our middle class and our nation’s students.”

NEA delegates also re-elected Princess Moss and elected Earl Wiman to the NEA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is comprised of NEA’s three executive officers and six members elected at large by delegates to the Representative Assembly. The Executive Committee is responsible for general policy and financial interests of NEA and acts for the NEA Board of Directors in between the board's four regularly scheduled meetings each year.

Princess Moss is an elementary school music teacher in Louisa County, Va. A champion of children and public education at the local, state, and national levels, Moss has had more than two decades of education experience. Before being elected to the NEA Executive Committee, she served two full terms as president of the 62,000-member Virginia Education Association.

A former kindergarten teacher, principal and media specialist now on special assignment for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Earl Wiman will begin serving his three-year term on the Executive Committee this July. For more than 30 years, Wiman has been an ardent advocate for teachers and education support staff. He is the past president of the 55,000-member Tennessee Education Association.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee 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,