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NEA News

NEA-Retired Celebrates 40th Anniversary and Welcomes New President

At the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting, a salute to history and a look ahead.
NEA-Retired Annual Meeting group photo with leaders, delegate and members Justin Green
More than 300 NEA-Retired leaders, delegates, and members gather around NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman (center) at the 2023 Annual Meeting.
Published: July 2, 2023

“NEA-Retired is in the house!” exclaimed NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman, speaking to the more than 300 delegates and members at the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting—held in Orlando, Florida, on June 29 and 30—and to all NEA-Retired members across the nation.

On the 40th anniversary of NEA-Retired, Borgman reflected that back in 1983, a time of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, when “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police was the No. 1 song in the country, NEA-Retired was just getting started. Today, NEA-Retired is 325,000 strong and growing!

NEA and NEA-Retired leaders cut a 40th Anniversary cake at the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting.
Leaders of NEA and NEA-Retired celebrate the 40th anniversary of NEA-Retired (NEA-R). (Left to right) Marilyn Warner, NEA-R secretary; Noel Candelaria, NEA secretary-treasurer; Jean Dobashi, NEA-R vice president; Princess Moss, NEA vice president; Sarah Borgman, NEA-R president; Becky Pringle, NEA president Credit: Justin Green

NEA-Retired’s 40th year will be a time of change as Borgman ends her transformative two terms, spanning from 2017-2023, and turns over the gavel to Anita Gibson, from Alabama. Gibson ran unopposed and has served most recently as a Retired member of the NEA Board of Directors. Gibson also served as president of the Alabama Education Association.

In recognition of Borgman’s contributions, NEA-Retired honored her with the Distinguished Service Award, the organization’s highest honor

Happy 40th birthday,

NEA-Retired leaders past and present joined in the anniversary celebration, along with NEA President Becky Pringle, Vice President Princess Moss, and Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria. The leaders praised NEA-Retired members’ long history of activism for public schools, Medicaid, Medicare, and pension protection, and for supporting candidates who are friends of public education

“We have accomplished so much because we have experienced and endured so much,” reflected Borgman. “We went to the bargaining table and filed grievances. We went on strike. … And some of you also have walked the picket line, and you have gone to school board meetings, and you have written letters to the editor, and contacted your legislators.”

NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman at the podium addressing the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting.
NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman addresses the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting. Credit: Justin Green

Citing growing threats to the education profession and public schools, she added, “I know that we will not turn back.”

‘We the People’

Pringle thanked NEA-Retired for four decades of service and dedication, saying, “I am honored to be here with you as you mark 40 fabulous years of power and progress,” adding that NEA-Retired continues to grow “not just in number, but also in influence and strength!”

Earlier that day, June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling against affirmative action on college campuses, a decision that Pringle called a “gut punch.” She delivered an impassioned plea to NEA-Retired members to keep standing up for our students, because “We the People,” applies to all of us.

‘Blazing a trail’

Moss added to the accolades. “I’m not just congratulating you for blazing a trail for public education through four decades,” she said. “I also congratulate you for setting the example throughout our entire association for what it means to serve students, educators, and communities.”

NEA President Becky Pringle at a podium speaking to the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting.
NEA President Becky Pringle delivers an impassioned speech at the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting. Credit: Justin Green

She told the crowd that NEA-Retired’s activism and leadership is more important now than ever, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others like him spread lies about students and educators.

“You know people like him … don’t want our students to have the information they need to learn to think critically, because they know they will use those critical-thinking skills to build a more equitable future. Instead, [these politicians] want to whitewash and dumb down public education.”

“I know you will not allow that to happen,” she stated. “As you step into your 40th decade, know that I am cheering for you, and standing alongside you, and fighting with you.”

Candelaria also praised NEA-Retired’s four decades of contributions, stating, “NEA-Retired has called us to something bigger. You have helped us become the more perfect nation that we are still aiming to be.”

But as Pringle said, “You’re not done yet!”

Supporting pro-public education candidates

NEA-Retired is already making a difference in elections. Over the last five years, members have contributed well over $1 million to the political action committee. At the 2023 annual meeting alone they contributed—both through live and virtual auctions—more than $42,000. You can make a contribution here.

Standing up for seniors

Borgman lauded NEA-Retired’s tremendous efforts in putting Congress on notice that the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act have got to go. The measures deprive many retired public servants, including many retired educators, of the Social Security benefits they have earned.


On NEA-Retired’s second annual GPO/WEP Day of Action, held on May 16, members sent 10,585 emails to Congress and made more than 130 in-person visits to members of Congress and their staff.

“We will not give up on the wiping out and stealing of our members’ money through GPO/WEP,” Borgman stated.

Click here to call on your member of Congress to support the Social Security Fairness Act.

Supporting the next generation of educators

Thanks to members’ generous contributions, NEA-Retired awarded five aspiring educators with Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarships, in the amount of $3,500 each. Established in honor of a former NEA-Retired vice president, the award helps NEA-Aspiring Educators members fulfill their dream of becoming teachers.

Kinnaman Scholarship recipient Hannah St Clair addresses 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting
Aspiring educator Hannah StClair, a three-time winner of the Jack Kinnaman Scholarship, expresses her thanks to the 2023 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting. Fellow winners (left to right) Elena Sloboda and Briana Hale also spoke to the crowd. Credit: Justin Green

The winners are: Briana Hale, from Florida State University; Ashley McCreedy, of the University of Massachusetts; Elena Sloboda, at Arizona State University; Hannah St. Clair, from the University of Oregon; and Anesha Ward, of Capital University, in Ohio.

Hale, Sloboda, and St. Clair were present to accept the award and express thanks to NEA-Retired. St Clair, who is the only student to have received the scholarship three times and is beginning her master’s degree this summer, told the crowd: “This year, I served as the first Aspiring Educators chapter president at my university. We doubled our Aspiring Educator membership!”

To donate to the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship Fund, go to

Passing the gavel to a new NEA-Retired president!

NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman passes a gavel to NEA-Retired President-Elect Anita Gibson.
After serving for two transformative terms as NEA-Retired President, Sarah Borgman (left) passes the ceremonial gavel to NEA-Retired President-Elect Anita Gibson, whose term will begin on Sept. 1. Credit: Justin Green

Delegates also cast their ballots in the NEA-Retired elections. Congratulations to all of the winners! Two positions on the NEA-Retired Executive Council were up for election and went to JoAnn Smith-Mashburn, of Tennessee, and Thomas Wellman, from Nevada. Two seats were also up for election for NEA-Retired positions on the NEA Board of Directors. The winners were Judy Rohde, from Minnesota, and Julie Rivera Horwin, from Arizona. The NEA Board Alternates are John Heineman, from Nebraska, and Doris Marie Glover, from Georgia.

NEA-Retired President-Elect Anita Gibson at podium addressing 2023 Retired Annual Meeting
NEA-Retired President-Elect Anita Gibson addresses the 2023 Retired Annual Meeting. Credit: Justin Green

The winners of the six seats on the NEA Standing Committee on Resolutions for 2023 – 2024 are George Sheridan, of California; Kathleen Purdy, of Ohio; Sandra Hatley, from North Carolina; Bobby J. Pierson, of Alabama; Karen Solheim, from Georgia; and Ira LaVerne Reed, from North Carolina.

The annual meeting drew to a close with the ceremonial transfer of the gavel from President Borgman to President-Elect Gibson, whose term begins on Sept. 1.

“I am honored to stand before you as your NEA-Retired President-Elect,” Gibson said. “Working with you we will … develop future leaders as we push back against racial and social injustice and push back against forces that aim to dismantle our public school system. … I pledge to you that with your help, we have nowhere to go but forward.”

Sam Evelyn Morgan Rock

Learn more about NEA-Retired

Now more than ever the commitment continues. Learn how NEA-Retired works to meet the needs of retired education employees (like Sam Evelyn Rock from the Chattanooga Hamilton County Retired Teachers Assn in Tennessee at right) and how to join.
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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.