Skip to Content

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015 Highlights

It's the start of the new school year and the National Education Association (NEA) is on the road for its 2015 Back to School tour! You can check out the highlights from the road here, but you can also follow the action on Twitter through @Lily_NEA and @NEAToday. See more highlights on Lily's Blackboard.

September 8-9


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa kicked off Back to School 2015 with a Town Hall in Atlanta, Georgia! She met with educators and community members to discuss closing opportunity gaps, parental involvement, retirement security and more:

Read the story on NEA Back-to-School Tour Focuses on Closing Oportunity Gaps

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015 on Storify


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa toured HODGE Elementary School in Savannah, Georgia. The 1st grade classroom of Ms. Bynkini Frazier, former Teacher of the Year, gave Lily a rousing "Hip Hop HOORAY!" Lily asked the students to point to the best teacher in the world and they all pointed to Ms. Frazier:

 Then it was on to Chatham Association of Educators President Mary Snowden's school, Hubert Middle:

There Lily visited the Paragon Academy for Males:

The academy takes 100 at risk males, mentors them, with hopes of turning them into productive citizens. Their core values are academic excellence, leadership and community service.

Next was lunch with the Savannah State University Student GAE Program. Lily answered questions and gave advice to our future educators. She also discussed opportunity gaps:

To end the visit in Savannah, Lily greeted parents, children, school board members, etc at a Q and A. They presented her with a photo of the school she attended just a few miles away.

NEA's Back to School 2015: Savannah, Georgia in Photos

September 10-11


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa attends a breakfast at Bluffton High School in South Carolina on September 10, 2015 during the NEA Back to School Tour:

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015: Bluffton, South Carolina in Photos


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa visits the Avery Research Center in Charleston South Carolina on September 10, 2015 during the NEA Back to School Tour:

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa meets with SCEA leaders and College of Charleston leaders in South Carolina on September 10, 2015 during the NEA Back to School Tour:


Read So Long, Savannah Hello Beaufort (the Day 3 recap)


Scenes from South Carolina: Back to School 2015:

NEA's Back to School Tour: Charleston, South Carolina in Photos:


Student shout-out for the ZooBot program Longleaf M.S. in Columbia, South Carolina, where NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa visited during NEA's Back to School Tour 2015:

 Longleaf Middle School teacher tweets some love for Lily:


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia tweets kudos to Keenan High School in Columbia, SC in NEA's Back to school Tour 2015:


Read Full STEAM Ahead in South Carolina  (the Columbia recap)


NEA 2015 Back to School Tour Visits South Carolina

NEA's Back to School Tour: Columbia, South Carolina in Photos

September 14-15


 At Crestwood Elementary, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia visted Nicole Gamble’s class to read Caroline Jayne Church’s Digby Goes Down.  She also into stopped by Kiera Ezell’s fourth grade class to read an excerpt from Christopher Paul Curtis’s Newbery Award wining Bud, Not Buddy:

At Meridian High School, Lily received a guided tour from Student Government President and MHS Senior Chelsea Grissett, along with Meridian association president and education support professional Kimberly Wilkeson. Ms. Wilkerson serves as MHS’s media specialist and has been a member of MEA for three years. Ms. Wilkerson noted that having the Back to School tour visit MHS was “really exciting,” and that “the association is for everyone who is in education, and the things we’re doing impact everyone, not just classroom teachers.”:

Read Back to School Week Two Arrives in Mississippi (the Meridian recap)

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015: Meridian, Mississippi in Photos


Back to School Week Two began with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia praising the work of the PTA group at Brown Elementary in Jackson, Miss., where local parents and community members met to discuss the importance of the entire community being an active part in the schools:

While touring Brown, Garcia was introduced to Ms. Ruby Butler, a librarian who is entering her final year at the school after 9 yearsand this is in addition to spending the previous 30 years working as an accountant outside of education. Butler transformed her classroom-size spaced into one of the most decorated and inviting libraries youll ever walk intoand the space wasnt meant to be for a library. There were colorful rugs covering the floor, fun learning activities between the rows of bookshelves, and most importantlyplenty of books for the young readers. Garcia was so blown away and inspired by Butler she plans to feature her on her blog, Lilys Blackboard, in the near future:

After Brown, the Tour headed to John Hopkins Elementary for the final stop in Mississippi. Greeting Garcia and the NEA staff at the front door was Mr. Benjamin, a school security ESP who keeps the students safe each day:

The day ended at Hopkins with a visit to the very special classroom of Damon Hoskins, who teaches Pre-Kindergarten. Mr. Hoskins classroom is what you wish every student in America got the opportunity to experience. There were interactive screens with learning games, tablets for the students, life-sized building blocks, computers, and much more to foster learning using technology and creativity. It's hard to tell who's having more fun: Lily or the students!

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015: Jackson, Mississippi in Photos:

September 17-18

Baton Rouge

 Read Back to School in Baton Rouge (the Baton Rouge recap)

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015: Baton Rouge, Louisiana in Photos:



NEA's Back to School Tour 2015: Lafayette, Louisiana in Pictures:

Back to School 2015: Lousiana Wrap Up

NEA's Back to School Tour 2015

Connect With Us!

Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon

advice & support

Best of Works4Me: Back to School

by NEA Staff editors

21 of the best back-to-school-themed teaching tips we’ve gathered over the years, each one authored the a real expert, an educator like you.

for parents

When parents and educators work
together, students succeed. Find
back to school resources for parents at


NEA's Back to School Tour: Highlights from 2014: NEA president Lily Eskelsen García and NEA leaders traveled across the country with stops from California to Virgina to meet with members, students and community partners to raise awareness on issues affecting the nation’s public schools.