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NEA Appoints Karen White to Deputy Executive Director Position

White holds the 2nd highest staff position in the nation’s largest labor organization


WASHINGTON - October 12, 2016 -

National Education Association (NEA) Executive Director John Stocks recently announced that Karen White has been appointed deputy executive director of the organization. White is the first woman to hold this position in NEA’s 159 year history.

“Karen has a passion for NEA members, deep knowledge of the Association, and is a proven leader,” said Stocks. “She is a top strategist and a relentless champion for social justice. I have great confidence that in her new role as deputy executive director, Karen will be a tireless champion for NEA’s organizational success and its mission to ensure every student has access to a great public school.”

White has most recently served as senior director of Enterprise Data and Information Strategy, leading a national project to build, deploy and support an enterprise data system among NEA’s state Affiliates. She has also served as NEA’s national political director. In that role she was responsible for managing and executing all aspects of campaigns, including member campaigns, independent expenditures, issue advocacy campaigns, ballot initiatives, internal organizing drives and all federal electoral campaigns.

“Karen is very familiar with NEA and she has a thorough understanding of the issues facing educators across the country,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “She will be an effective and unwavering advocate for students, public education and working families.”

White learned early in life that political action is vital for students and school personnel and spent time on picket lines while her family lobbied legislators for better conditions in the classroom. Her work in Democratic politics helped her hone her skills in understanding diverse groups of people and is a huge benefit to NEA.

Prior to joining NEA, White served as the national political director for EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest political action committee and a prominent political network for pro-choice Democratic women candidates across the country. She has also been recognized for her work on numerous gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns. Her successful management of Parris Glendening’s 1998 re-election campaign for governor of Maryland earned her a key position in the Glendening administration. White served as the deputy secretary and chief of staff of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She also served as the governor's senior adviser, developing meaningful strategies to deal with complex and politically sensitive issues, thereby allowing the governor to achieve a number of high-profile legislative priorities.

White graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education. She resides in Maryland with her husband and three children.


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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.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser  202-822-7823, cfbusser@nea.org