Tabernacle educator selected as 2020 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow

Learning journey to prepare Michael Dunlea, students as global citizens

The NEA Foundation, a public charity founded by educators for educators, today named Michael Dunlea, a third-grade teacher at Tabernacle Elementary School in Tabernacle, New Jersey, as a 2020 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow. Previously an educator in Stafford Township, Dunlea was the 2011-12 Ocean County Teacher of the Year and a state finalist for New Jersey Teacher of the Year. In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Dunlea took a leadership role organizing Stafford Township Education Association members and others in clean-up and repair efforts in the Beach Haven West community.

As a fellow, Dunlea will spend a year in a peer learning network of 44 educators from across the country, building his comprehension of issues concerning global significance and ability to bring them into the classroom.

“Michael has been a longtime leader in the classroom, and an inspiration to his colleagues and fellow NJEA members,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “We’re proud of all he has already accomplished, and we look forward to all that he will do with his experiences as a Global Learning Fellow.”

The 2020 fellows teach all grade levels and all subjects. They work in rural, suburban and urban schools. Beyond the classroom they are National Board Certified, curriculum coaches, advisers, foreign language speakers and more.

“We are thrilled that Michael earned the opportunity to participate in the NEA’s Global Fellowship,” said Tabernacle Education Association (TEA) Co-President Tom Crilly. “His experience will help our students, staff and community learn from other educators all over the globe.”

“Tabernacle is very fortunate to have an educator like Michael,” added TEA Co-President Juliann Toone. “His hard work over the next year as a Global Learning Fellow will certainly increase the impact he has already had on our schools. We look forward to learning from him to better ourselves as a district and a community.”

The fellows reflect the diverse workforce of public education, which allows them to learn from each other and to bring global perspectives to a wide range of students. They share a passion for global education and an unwavering commitment for preparing America’s students with 21st century skills.

“The new Global Learning Fellowship class joins a dynamic peer learning community like no other,” said Sara A. Sneed, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “The fellowship has a decade-long track record of fostering collaboration among educators and enhancing their ability to prepare students for an increasingly interconnected world.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and program alumni will support the fellows as they immerse themselves in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop this fall and a nine-day international field study next summer in Peru. The field study brings the cohort together as they investigate the historical and cultural context of the country they visit and interact with local educators, students, administrators, and policy-makers; make school visits; and hear from business and nonprofit leaders.

“I look forward to this opportunity to expand my understanding of the diverse cultures of South America,” said Dunlea. “The experiences I’ll have will help bring the outside world into my classroom and enhance my students’ learning.”

Dunlea is also a United Nations Teach Sustainable Development Goals ambassador. Through that program, Dunlea is part of an international cohort of educators dedicated to promoting sustainable development goals in an educational context. In addition, he serves on the NJEA Elections Committee and the Burlington County Education Association Executive Committee.

The 2020 fellows will use what they learn during the year to prepare their students for global citizenship. They will also share their methods for globalizing instructional practice and advocate in their communities and beyond for global education.

Get to know all of the 2020 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows by visiting

The NEA Foundation will begin accepting applications for the 2021 Global Learning Fellowship this fall.

About the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, the foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. The foundation elevates and shares educator solutions to ensure greater reach and impact on student learning. The foundation believes that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools and students all benefit. Visit for more information.


Related Articles

Send this to a friend