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More than 7,000 educators will gather to discuss, vote on key education issues

NEA hosts its Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly June 26–July 6 in Orlando


WASHINGTON - June 24, 2015 -

More than 7,000 educators from every state will come together to address the pressing issues facing schools, students, and educators during the National Education Association’s 153rd Annual Meeting and 94th Representative Assembly (RA) June 26–July 6 in Orlando, Florida.

The RA is the top decision-making body for the nearly 3 million-member NEA, and sets Association policy for the coming year. Delegates adopt the strategic plan and budget, resolutions, the legislative program, and other policies of the Association. By secret ballot, they vote on proposed amendments to the NEA’s Constitution and Bylaws. NEA’s RA is also the world’s largest democratic deliberative body. The NEA convention is visiting Orlando for the first time since 2006, bringing an estimated $35 million to the local economy.

The theme for this year’s Annual Meeting is “NEA: Unite. Inspire. Lead.”

 WHO:

 More than 7,000 education professionals, including NEA President Lily Eskelsen García

 WHAT:

NEA’s 153rd Annual Meeting, 94th Representative Assembly, and related
pre-convention events and activities

 WHEN:

 Friday, June 26–Monday, July 6, 2015
 WHERE:  At or near the Orange County Convention Center (Unless otherwise noted)
9400 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Florida. 32819

Highlights of the 2015 NEA Annual Meeting, RA and pre-convention activities:

Monday, June 29–Tuesday, June 30
NEA will host the 2015 Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women, themed "Organize, Educate, and Lead: Empowering Our Diversity through Action.” At the conference, participants will engage in an in-depth exploration of social justice issues that affect student. They will also exchange insights and experiences with educators from across the country, and recharge their professional and social activist batteries.

Keynote speakers include Marissa Franco, prominent organizer of the #Not1More campaign; Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, an educator, scholar and advocate who is dean and professor of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco; and Stacy Y. Abrams, House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly.

Tuesday, June 30
Days before educators from every state in the nation descend on Orlando for the Annual Meeting and RA, hundreds will come early to kickoff NEA’s Leaders Empowering Grassroots Advocacy for Communities and Youth (LEGACY) Project. Nearly 800 elementary age students will join volunteers from the NEA Student Program and Osceola County Education Association (OCEA) at a community fair at Osceola High School and Thacker Avenue Elementary School. The two schools are less than half a mile apart. (This event is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Osceola High School in Kissimmee.

Wednesday, July 1
As part of NEA’s Read Across America, Orlando Public Libraries will host free summer reading events throughout the metro area beginning June 29. Award-winning Read Across America summer reading packets and kits will be distributed to branch libraries, slated to host events throughout the week. The same day, NEA will host the signature Read Across Orlando read-in at the Main Branch with nearly 200 local students. In this high-energy event, students will be treated to a “Seuss-tastic” morning of readings, activities, and entertainment, and a special visit from the Cat in the Hat and his friends, Thing 1 and Thing 2. The main event will be held July 1 at 10:30 a.m. EDT, at the main branch of the Orlando Public Library, located at 101 E. Central Blvd. in Orlando.

Thursday, July 2
Empowered Educators Day will showcase the work of educator innovators who are leading the way for quality instruction and student success and will highlight ways to empower educators and support their career development. More than 750 educator leaders and RA delegates will participate in this event. The day will be hosted by Roland S. Martin, host and managing editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now, syndicated columnist and former CNN contributor. Featured speakers include Eskelsen García; Becky Pringle, NEA vice president; Dallas Dance, Baltimore County, Md., superintendent; and other local and state education leaders. A TEACHTalks session—modeled after the well-known TED Talks—will feature voices from the field, including students. The event will be held at the Orlando Convention Center, and will highlight innovative projects and leadership journeys that reflect successful students, empowered educators, and dynamic collaborations.

Since 1967, NEA has honored human and civil rights heroes at an annual black-tie awards dinner. And every year, those heroes have inspired. This year, NEA will thank and honor the outstanding work of a dozen of America’s human and civil rights heroes at its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2. The theme “Justice for All: Never Forget, Never Give Up” recognizes those who fought—and continue to fight—for social justice. For a full list and bios of this year’s winners please visit here.

Friday, July 3
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García’s keynote address will open the four-day RA at approximately 10:30 a.m. Follow President Eskelsen García throughout the RA at @Lily_NEA.

Saturday, July 4
NEA Executive Director John Stocks
will deliver an address that will focus on NEA’s way forward in a time of great change.

The 2015 NEA Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year will be awarded to Janet Eberhardt, a paraeducator at San Francisco United School District in California. Eberhardt was named to the post at the NEA Education Support Professionals Conference held in March in New Orleans. She is a member of the California Teachers Association and United Educators of San Francisco.

Sunday, July 5
The NEA will present the 2015 “Friend of Education Award”—the organization’s highest honor. The recognition goes to the individual, organization, or group whose leadership, acts, or support provide significant benefits to public education, education employees, and students across the nation. (This event is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, July 5.)

NEA will present the Social Justice Activist Award. The NEA Social Justice Activist Award is presented to one exceptional member who demonstrates the ability to lead, organize and engage educators, parents, and the community to advocate on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators and the communities they serve. (This event is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, July 5.)

Monday, July 6
Shanna Peeples
, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, and an English high school teacher in Amarillo, Texas, will address delegates. The 12-year classroom veteran and NEA member teaches students from diverse backgrounds in a city that is among several across the nation that helps refugees find new paths in life and gain access to critical resources. (This event is tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 6.)

The Political Activist of the Year award recognizes the commitment politically engaged educators make to the success of every student. Educators know the importance of political engagement and they take this civic responsibility seriously. Whether attending school board meetings, sending emails to elected officials, knocking on doors, or phone banking, they understand that politics—what happens in their schools and classrooms—doesn’t stay in the halls of political power. NEA RA delegates will recognize this year’s recipient as one of their own.

Note to media about logistics and access:

  • The above events are open to media. Please display your media credential at all times. Although some events related to the NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly are listed as public, these are generally intended for NEA members and RA delegates, and not all events are open to the media.
  • There is a dedicated section for credentialed media covering the Representative Assembly. Interviews with RA delegates are strictly prohibited on the convention floor during the handling of official business. Interviews may be permitted within other areas of the convention center. Please see a senior press officer to schedule interviews.
  • Any meeting hosted by an NEA state affiliate for the purpose of conducting business of the affiliate is not accessible by media unless the state affiliate has granted permission for special access.
  • The Legislative Hearing; Resolutions Hearing; and Hearing on Strategic Plan and Budget are open to media.

Requests for media credentials can be made online at nea.org/grants/press-credentials.html

For more information, and a full listing of scheduled events, go to nea.org/annualmeeting

Follow us on Twitter at @NEAMedia and #neara15

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org

CONTACT: Richard Allen Smith  202-716-6461, rasmith@nea.org