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Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Helps a New Generation of Educators

NEA-Retired members continue their long legacy of helping Aspiring Educators with a scholarship award of $2,500 per student.

Key Takeaways

  1. Meet the 5 winners!
  2. Learn how to apply.

For two decades, NEA-Retired members have generously contributed to the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship Fund for NEA Aspiring Educators (AE).

Kinnaman was a teacher for nearly three decades and a long-standing NEA member and leader, who served as vice president of NEA-Retired. After Kinnaman died in 2002, NEA-Retired established a scholarship fund in his honor. Today, the scholarship supports five Aspiring Educators each year. The 2022 winners are:

Headshot of Dajsha Williams, Kinnaman Scholarship winer

Dajsha Williams—early childhood education major, The Ohio State University at Newark, Ohio

As chair of the Ohio Education Association AE (OEA-AE) chapter and a member of NEA’s advisory committee, Williams has learned the importance of trusting the union and supporting other Aspiring Educators. “Behind my achievements is a strong desire to learn and impact the world of education,” Williams says. As chair of the OEA-AE chapter, she enjoys using her voice to propel the mission and vision of the union.

Headshot of Roman Trejo, Kinnaman Scholarship winner

Roman Trejo—social studies major, Satin Xavier University, Chicago, Ill.

“Although the [pandemic] changed the way we interacted, it did not disrupt the need to continue fighting for union values,” Trejo says. He uses his NEA platform to support Latinx voices with the goal of increasing advocacy among young Latinx individuals. Trejo is also active in his community, where he has helped eligible immigrants complete residency applications.

Headshot of Jaclyn Deal, Kinnaman Scholarship winner

Jaclyn Deal—math major, Wingate University, Wingate, N.C.

Under Deal’s leadership as president of her university’s AE chapter, membership numbers have nearly quadrupled thanks to her efforts to enhance engagement through campus-wide outreach events. Described as gracious and confident by her professors, Deal also tutors students at a local Title I high school. “Since joining the local chapter of Student North Carolina Association of Educators my freshman year, I have gained invaluable leadership skills that are directly applicable to my career in teaching,” Deal says.

Headshot of Hannah St. Clair, Kinnaman Scholarship winer

Hannah St. Clair—educational foundations major, University of Oregon, Eugene

St. Clair is serving her first year on the NEA Board of Directors and on the AE Committee for the Oregon Education Association. She is also president of her university’s AE chapter. St. Clair says, “[The Kinnaman scholarship] will alleviate some of the stress of paying out-of-state tuition and graduate school tuition, especially as I begin student teaching.”

Headshot of Sofia Vandersluis, Kinnaman Scholarship winer

Sofia Vandersluis—double major in elementary education and educational policies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

As president of Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin and the campus chapter leader, Vandersluis’ goal has been to improve member-to-member relationships by shifting to a “neighborhood” approach, meaning members with similar career interests are paired. She created a YouTube channel for members to upload lessons, so they can practice virtual teaching. The Kinnaman scholarship, she says, will “help reassure my family that, even during crisis, I will receive my degree and graduate.”

How to Apply: Complete the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship application online at Make sure you meet all the requirements and submit a complete packet. Applications must be submitted by April 17, 2023.


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National Education Association

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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.