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NEA family mourns passing of KNEA president Karen Godfrey

Educators will remember Karen’s steadfast leadership and unbending support of public education

WASHINGTON - July 24, 2014 -

Karen Godfrey, the president of the Kansas National Education Association, has passed away surrounded by family at home after losing her fight with cancer. She was 54 years old. Godfrey started her career as a teacher in the Seaman School District in Topeka, Kansas, and later, after serving as its secretary-treasurer and vice president, became KNEA president on July 15, 2012. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel expressed his condolences to KNEA members in a private letter and issued the following statement on behalf of the NEA family.

“Today, sadly, we mourn the loss of one of our own. Those who were blessed to work alongside Karen came to know her as the most dedicated advocate for the education and well-being of children in Kansas. We will remember and cherish Karen for her steadfast leadership, acts, and unbending support of public education, her activism on behalf of KNEA members, and the many lives she touched, personally and professionally. The public education community – and more specifically, the NEA family – is deeply saddened to lose such a loyal and committed advocate and friend.

“Karen’s commitment to serving and uplifting Kansas educators and ensuring a quality public education for every Kansas student leaves a wonderful, valuable, and lasting legacy.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to Rich Godfrey and to the KNEA family. Our hearts and prayers go out to her colleagues, friends and loved ones.”

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 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