Nearly 600 delegates from New Jersey attended the annual National Education Association’s Representative Assembly (NEA RA), held this year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Approximately 8,000 educators, including teachers and educational support professionals from across the United States, attended this year’s convention.
NJEA member Amy Wiggins Brown, a middle school math teacher from Atlantic City, was named the first-ever NEA RA mayor. Brown completed all 15 activities of the NEA RA Mayor game, ranging from connecting to New Jersey Education Association's social media sites to signing up to host an Educators for Obama house party. View the grassroots video Brown recorded on YouTube and her photo message to Mitt Romney on Tumblr.
Delegates heard from President Barack Obama, who called in and spoke with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel about his education priorities. In addition, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, a former NEA member and current community college teacher in Northern Virginia, addressed the delegation.
The Educational Support Professional of the Year, Judy Near, an elementary school health technician from Colorado, and the Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki, gave speeches reaffirming their commitment to public education and their students.
In addition, NEA honored Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman with the 40th Annual Friend of Education Award. Krugman received the honor for his work helping to raise the issue of education inequality.
The NEA RA gathers NEA members from across the country to make decisions about policy, programs, and the budget. In order to maximize the number of public school employees who can participate, NEA holds the convention over the July 4th holiday every year. The 2013 NEA RA will be held July 1-6 in Atlanta, Ga. More information about the 2012 NEA RA, including news articles, photos, and videos is available here.