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Local Presidents Training Cadre

Marisa Hanson - California Teachers Association (CTA)

My name is Marisa Hanson, and I am entering my 25th year an education. I have taught middle school math, followed by teaching high school math. I became the ESTA President after serving a year as ESTA Vice President. I just completed my 11th year as ESTA President and I will be returning to the classroom to teach Math once again for the 2018-2019 school year.

I am excited to be joining the NEA Training Cadre and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences as a local president of 1,200 members with new and experienced presidents.


Dr. Tia T. Mills - Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE)

My name is Dr. Tia Mills and I am entering my thirteenth year as an elementary practitioner in special education at an alternative school.

This fall will be my seventh year as a non-release time local president of a “wall-to-wall” association with approximately 950 members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators-located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

As a strong educator and union activist, I am honored to be a member of the NEA Local Presidents Cadre because I believe that the local’s work is truly where the rubber meets the road. Nothing has direct impact in reaching our members more than the local affiliates.

We appreciate you signing up to participate in this critical training. I am elated to work with the group! It brings me great joy to assist with building the confidence of our local leaders.


Shannon Rasmussen - Washington Education Association (WEA)

I am Shannon Rasmussen, currently in my 34th year as a middle school teacher, and I became involved in Association work because I found that my union offered me the opportunity to positively impact public education and the children in my classroom.

During my time as an Association leader I have been a local president of the Federal Way UniServ Council (1750 certificated and ESP members), Puget Sound UniServ Council president (4,800 members), Washington Education Association Board Director, and an officer in the National Council of the Urban Education Association (NCUEA).

I am proud to be a member of the NEA/NCUEA Training Cadre – NCUEA has long-advocated for these trainings as we understand that engagement and capacity at the local level is absolutely critical to the health of our Association.


Robert Varela Rodriguez - California Teachers Association (CTA)

Robert Varela Rodriguez is a special education teacher in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Delegates elected Robert to the National Education Association (NEA) Executive Committee for a one-year term in July 2018.

A passionate educator and longtime union activist, Robert has represented California on the NEA Board of Directors for six years, served three years on the NEA Budget Committee and completed a two-year term on the CTA Board of Directors. He served for three years as the president of the San Bernardino Teachers Association and three years as vice president. During his 14 years of teaching, Robert has worked at the elementary, middle school, special day class and resource specialist levels.

Robert believes that only through organizing and collective action can we effect real and lasting change for educators, students, and public education. He is committed to ensuring that every student - regardless of race, zip code, or economic status - have access to great public schools.

Robert received his bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in education from California State University, San Bernardino.


Sandi Ryan - NEA-Alaska

I am entering my 35th year as a teacher of high school mathematics and computer science. I have spent the last 25-years in Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City of Alaska. I currently serve as the full-time release president of Fairbanks Education Association, representing more than 900 teachers, counselors and certified professionals in a district of over 13,000 students. I am a dedicated advocate that believes that educators should be the ones making decisions about education. We are the leaders in our professions, and our union allows us the opportunities to grow and hone our craft.

I am proud to be a member of the NEA/NCUEA Training Cadre which develops connections between local leaders while building a strong education professional network.


Kim Schroeder - Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC)

My name is Kim Schroeder and I am a 24 year veteran fourth grade teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools. I am currently serving at the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Secretary-Treasurer. Before this, served as the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association President. During the four years previous to that, I was the MTEA Vice President and Lead Release Member Organizer, focusing on membership and political campaigns. During my time as president, the MTEA defeated a state takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools, led the effort to have MPS become a Sanctuary District for undocumented students and families, and has grown in member activists and leaders.


Mary M. Wilson - Kentucky Education Association (KEA)

My name is Mary Wilson and I am currently serving as President of the Boone County Education Association (BCEA) representing more than 1,000 certified union members in the Boone County School District. As part of my role as BCEA President, I counsel members through due process hearings, corrective action plans and other administrative difficulties. I advocate for teacher rights on the local level with the Board of Education and school district and at the state level.

I am a member of the Budget Committee, Teaching and Learning Committee, and Safety Committee for the Boone County School district. I am also a member of the National Council of Urban Education Association (NCUEA). I also serves on both the NKEA Board of Directors and the KEA Board of Directors. I am a proud alumnus of KEA Emerging Leaders. I co-chair the Boone County annual Read Across America event and most recently co-chaired the Northern Kentucky Education Rally in October 2017. I have also coordinated Walk-Ins throughout Boone County Schools and worked with my Superintendent and Board of Education to allow the entire district to Rally at our State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky in April 2018.

I am also a registered lobbyist serving as a liaison between the Boone County School District, BCEA and state legislators representing Boone County at the state capital in Frankfort, Kentucky.


NEA Center for Organizing - Affiliate Zone Map: Identify the NEA Center for Organizing Associate Director for Affiliate Relations and Growth responsible for affiliate support in your state.