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NEA News

Helping the Next Generation of Educators

The 2021 recipients of the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship express their thanks.
Published: January 15, 2021

Jack Kinnaman was a devoted teacher for nearly three decades who served at every level of NEA. Even after he retired from the classroom in 1986, he stayed engaged with NEA, becoming Vice President of NEA-Retired. After he died in 2002, Kinnaman’s family wished to establish the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship in his honor—thus providing needed assistance for aspiring educators.

In the first year of the program, a scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to one recipient. Today, NEA-Retired members have continued to generously donate, increasing the amount to five scholarships of $2,500 each. Let’s meet some of the 2021 winners!*

Madeline Burk

Madeline E. Burk

Spanish major; University of Oregon, in Eugene 

Entering her final year of undergraduate work at the University of Oregon, Madeline Burk is studying social science, Spanish, and education, while working her way toward becoming a high school teacher.   She is grateful for receiving her second Kinnaman Scholarship.  Madeline has been very active in the NEA Aspiring Educators program, and declares that the organization has been the most formative part of her academic journey.  “The people I've met, the perspectives I've gained, and the endless opportunities for pre-career professional development, are setting me up for a lifetime of gratitude and commitment to this teacher's union.”  She added, “I am confidently looking forward to the day that I get to work with NEA-Retired.” 

Will Crawford

Will Crawford

Secondary Math Education major; University of Tennessee at Martin 

Will Crawford is a secondary math education major at the University of Tennessee at Martin who is immensely grateful for receiving the Jack Kinnaman scholarship.  Will’s selection as a scholarship recipient allows him to focus less on student debt and follow his lifelong dream of being an educator. “I was inspired to be an educator by the wonderful teachers I have had throughout my life. They…taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life. As an educator, I want to do the same that my teachers have done for me by preparing students for the future and for further education if they seek it.”  Will was elected as the President-Elect of the Student Tennessee Education Association for this year.

Tatiana Oney

Tatiana Oney

University of North Texas

Tatiana Oney has just been elected as president of the Texas Aspiring Educators, and the Kinnaman scholarship allows her to focus on the important work she will do.  She plans to put her “all” into serving Aspiring Educators and the community.  The Aspiring Educators program has been quite influential in her life. She shares that being an AE member has helped her “in times where I have doubted what I wanted to do with my life. Through this program, I have met peers who have uplifted me and professors who have mentored me. I have learned the importance of being a lifelong learner, and a lifelong advocator.” Tatiana attends the University of North Texas.

Hanna St. Clair

Hannah St. Clair

University of Oregon

A student at the University of Oregon, Hannah St. Clair will begin her two-year term this fall as the Aspiring Educators member on the NEA Board of Directors. The scholarship “allows me to focus on supporting the Aspiring Educators program to the best of my abilities.” Looking to the future, she added, “We are the generation who will build atop the work done by previous educators who came together to change our public education system into something completely reimagined. As our NEA President Becky Pringle says, ‘We, the NEA, will lead a movement to reclaim public education as a common good and transform it into something it was never designed to be - a racially and socially just, equitable system.’”

Kelsey Tetzle

Kelsey Tetzle

Fifth Year of a Five Year Certificate for Music and Math; Butler University

“I believe a better world starts with education, and I can't wait to be a part of that change,” affirms Kelsey Tetzle, a Butler University student who is in her fifth year of a five year certificate for music and math.  The timing of the Kinnaman Scholarship is especially important as her previous scholarships ceased at the end of her fourth year. “I am very honored and determined to pay forward this kindness to my future students when I begin student teaching in the spring and every year after.”  She credits the Aspiring Educator program with providing her with opportunities to become a better “…leader, professional, and advocate. Being a part of the Aspiring Educators program has enflamed my passion for public education and assured me that teaching and the world of education is how I want to serve the world.”

How to Apply

Complete the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship application. Make sure you meet all the requirements and submit a complete packet. Applications submitted by first class mail must be postmarked by April 17, 2023, 5:00 pm, ET..

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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.