Executive Director, National Education Association
John C. Stocks
John C. Stocks, a national leader in the fight to transform America’s public schools, is the executive director of the National Education Association (NEA).
The nation’s largest union, NEA and its affiliates across the country represent 3.2 million educators from pre-school to university graduate programs. As executive director, Stocks oversees the day to day operations of the Association, which has a staff of 535 and an annual budget of $371 million. NEA’s membership includes teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.
As deputy executive director from 2004-2011, Stocks spearheaded NEA’s policy, political and membership priorities. Under his leadership, NEA charted a new course: mobilizing its ranks in support of improving the federal No Child Left Behind law, transforming its political organization, and building new strategic alliances to champion public education.
His commitment to public education spans decades. From 1990-2004, Stocks served as assistant executive director for public affairs at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), with oversight for the 98,000-member Association’s public relations, legislative, political action, and teaching and learning departments. With Stocks at the helm, WEAC championed legislative efforts to expand early childhood education, improve student achievement, lower class sizes, and ensure comprehensive standards for teachers.
An unmatched drive for social justice and positive change in education has been the signature of John Stocks’ career. Prior to joining WEAC, he served as executive director of Idaho Fair Share, a grassroots citizen action organization dedicated to keeping utility rates affordable for working families, and spearheaded legislation on behalf of low and moderate income utility ratepayers.
In 1988, Stocks ran for State Senate in Idaho, defeating a four-term incumbent. His legislative record includes successfully shepherding a bill to improve protections for people facing foreclosure on their homes due to family medical crises – it is one of his proudest achievements. He established his bona fides in political strategy as chief architect of the Idaho Senate Democrats’ re-election plans, securing seven new Senate seats and protecting all incumbents over three election cycles.
Stocks has been recognized by leading national organizations as an agent for progressive change. In 2007, he was honored by the Midwest Academy, a grassroots training institute with a long tradition of preparing progressive leaders. He was also honored by the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center for his innovative work in ballot measure campaigning, winning difficult battles in support of students, educators, and the middle class. He currently serves on the boards for several organizations including Democracy Alliance and Learning First Alliance.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Stocks is a graduate of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He and his wife, Connie, have two children.