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Aspiring Educators

NEA’s Aspiring Educators are the leading voice for the next generation of educators.
Aspiring Educators at the NEA RA

Program Overview

NEA’s Aspiring Educators Program supports, develops, and empowers diverse, pre-service teachers with the resources, networks, and opportunities to lead in their schools, communities, and in all phases of their career. This is accomplished through an embodiment of its four core values in all program activities:

  1. Educator Quality
  2. Community Engagement
  3. Political Action
  4. Social Justice

Aspiring Educators become activists at all levels of the organization—local, state, and national—so that all their students can maximize their potential.  

NEA Aspiring Educators matter because they are the leading voice of the next generation of educators and leaders in this nation. Aspiring Educators make a difference because of their passion, commitment, and vision as association members who believe in public education and its potential to uplift individuals, families, and communities.  

Like you, NEA Aspiring Educators advocate for and support:  

Join NEA and Aspiring Educators—a pathway to excellence as an empowered educator and leader—today and tomorrow!

Aspiring Educator Candidates for NEA Positions

This summer, the NEA Aspiring Educators will elect members to represent them at the national level in several positions.  Potential candidates had until May 1, 2021, to submit Declaration of Candidacy Forms.  During the 2021 Aspiring Educators Conference, a formal nomination process will occur on June 4, followed by candidate speeches and a Q&A session on June 18.  Voting by mail will occur after the NEA Representative Assembly this summer.  The following Aspiring Educators have submitted Declaration of Candidacy Forms:

Board of Director—1 year term

Yesse Cano

Yesse Cano

I am a proud Hispanic woman, born from two Mexican immigrants, raised and currently living in the state of Oklahoma. As a current junior at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, I am a history major with a minor in education. On campus, I serve as co-president in Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO), president in Student Government Association (SGA), and treasurer at the local level and legislative representative at the state level in Oklahoma Aspiring Educators Association (OAEA). As well as having the distinguished honor of serving nationally on the Advisory Committee for the Aspiring Educators. These involvements have taught me the hard work that goes into education, racial and social justice, political action, and community engagement. It is not easy work, but necessary work. I am beyond honored and excited to be running to serve on the NEA Aspiring Ed Board of Directors, where I hope to represent all my colleagues well, fight for change, and for the betterment in the world of education.

View the candidate flyer

Olivia Haas

Oliva Haas is a senior at The College of New Jersey and is studying Mathematics Secondary Education. In the future, Olivia plans to attend Graduate School to obtain a Doctoral Degree in Math Education in the future.

Prior to serving as NJEA Preservice Vice President, Olivia served as the NJEA Preservice President during the 2020-2020 year. In this role, Olivia helped planned and lead Preservice events, such as Preservice Preview and the newly implemented Game Nights for members. To increase membership, Olivia spoke at colleges throughout the state about the importance of unionization and the opportunities NJEA Preservice provides its members.

She has served on the Women in Education committee and she has been a member of the Mercer County Education Association Legislative Action Team. Additionally, Olivia attends the National Education Association Aspiring Educators State Leaders meetings and helped lead a discussion on teacher prep exams with Cameo Kendrick.

At TCNJ, Olivia is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa circle, the Gamma Zeta chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, and is a new inductee of the Theta Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon. She also serves as the secretary of the Women’s Club Soccer Team and is an active member of Best Buddies on campus. Olivia has worked as a tutor in the Tutoring Center and The College of New Jersey since the Fall of 2019. In Spring of 2020, was a Learning Assistant in a Calculus B course on campus and is currently a class tutor for a Number Theory course this Spring of 2021.

As the newest NJEA Preservice Vice President Olivia looks forward to being more involved in the Preservice community, working to grow membership and aid the next generation of future educators. She is looking forward to sharing the bountiful opportunities and benefits that the union offers with aspiring educators. 

Richard Sequeira

My name is Richard Sequeira Teixeira Alves (He/Him/His). I am currently a member of the NEA Advisory Committee for Aspiring Educators. I have had experience with the NEA at multiple levels of the Association. I have been a member of the NEA for almost six years.

You may have seen me at your chapter meetings, statewide meetings, or in protests. I come from a strong background in unionism and the labor movement. I also identify as System Impacted, where I have repeatedly called for the dismantling of systems that hurt our students and communities.

At both the Student CTA and NEA levels I have been a strong support of members and chapters. I firmly believe that we must put our organizing capacity in building a stronger membership base and chapters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these trying times, I have seen the power of unity and community in chapter meetings and socials. This has not hampered us from organizing.

At the NEA level, I have been a strong advocate for organizing members to utilize the power of our union to bring the issues that pertain to us as aspiring educators. In addition to this advocacy, I have championed ways to build stronger mentorships with higher education professionals. My goals and priorities since the beginning is to integrate our state affiliates with the NEA and forge stronger ties to work for our common goals.

As your board of directors, I will make it a priority to expand on the work that we currently do on racial and social justice as a keystone towards making our union a fighting union.

View the candidate flyer

Dylan Toth

My name is Dylan Toth and I am entering my fourth year as a dedicated leader at the local, state, and national levels. My passion for public education and social justice drives my work as President of the Illinois Education Association’s Aspiring Educators affiliate. In fact, my first action as State President was appointing Illinois’s very first Racial & Social Justice Coordinator to prioritize advocacy for education justice. Prior to my term as State President, I served as President of my local chapter, the largest in Illinois, when we increased membership by over 50% by recruiting hundreds of new members to our program. In 2019, I was appointed to the NEA-AE Advisory Committee and had the opportunity to facilitate numerous events for members all over the country, including the very first virtual Aspiring Educators Conference and NEA graduation.

My strong leadership during such an unprecedented time for member engagement and student retention makes me a strong candidate for the NEA Board of Directors. I have stood up for labor rights, gun control, undocumented students, government accountability, climate justice, and so much more…and I don’t plan on stopping - so let’s send a bold, unapologetic voice to the NEA Board of Directors.

View the candidate flyer

Board of Director-2 year term

Hannah StClair

My name is Hannah StClair, and I am running for the 2-year Board of Directors Member position.

I’m studying Education, French, and Legal Studies at the University of Oregon. I’ve lived and learned in Alaska, Kansas, and New York too!

During my freshman year, I was a founding member of our local Aspiring Educators Chapter. I attended an Oregon Education Association Conference, which led to me representing Oregon at the 2020 Aspiring Educators Conference. The sense of community and activism left me wanting more. I applied for and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of Aspiring Educators and now work on our Digital Engagements Subcommittee and State/Chapter Supports Workteam. Additionally, to replicate the educator experience of overworking for my passion, I joined the NEA Leadership Team, AE Caucus for NEA RA, and the State Board for Aspiring Educators in Oregon!

The Aspiring Educator Program has been invaluable to me. I have built relationships with leaders around the country while creating chapter events— such as Decolonizing Your Bookshelf— and engaging online with the Black Lives Matter Week of Action, Aspiring Ed Life Week, and AE Talks Tea events. Overall, this program is emboldening me to fight for educational justice.

View the candidate flyer

Resolutions Committee

Brenda Quispe

Roman Trejo

Hi, my name is Roman Trejo and I am an Aspiring Educator from Illinois. I am pursuing a degree in secondary education social sciences. Being raised by my grandmother and single mother, my family ensured I was raised with my native culture. As a Latinx, Native American, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community; I relied on my hardworking ethic and voice to raise myself above structural barriers to success. After experiencing amazing mentorship from a Latinx educator, I had decided to give back the gift of potentially changing one of my own student’s life by answering the call to teaching. I became engaged with the National Education Association through my devotion to grassroots organizing and promoting equitable representation for People of Color. As an Aspiring Educator I have led the charter of a chapter dedicated to recruiting and retaining future educators of color, fundraised scholarship grants to graduating collegebound Latinx seniors, and organized in support to local associations protesting in the community. I proudly serve as the Aspiring Educators representation on the NEA Hispanic Caucus board, my state chair-elect, and as a member of the NEA Board of Directors. I hope to continue serving the Aspiring Educator’s voice as your representative on the NEA Resolutions Committee.

View the candidate flyer

2021 Mental Health Week!

The AE program partnered with the National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine to launch a Mental Health Week to create a space for Aspiring Educators to share and grow together. Check out the activities, resources, and events.”

Member Cameo Kendrick
Through NEA, I’ve gotten a deeper understanding of the issues impacting public education. I’ve learned about who my students actually are and how to best serve them, while also learning how to dismantle the things that will work against them.
Quote by: Cameo Kendrick, Aspiring Educator Program Chair, Kentucky Education Association
students participate in Black Lives Matter demonstration

Our Voices, Our Power

Check out the 2021 issue of the Aspiring Educator magazine to learn how future educators are surviving the pandemic, what motivates their activism for social and economic justice, and why they're ready to lead in their careers and communities. Plus, find out about NEA's supports and advice for aspiring educator members.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.