Dennis Van Roekel, a 23-year teaching veteran and longtime activist for children and public education, is president of the National Education Association, which represents more than 3 million educators. As NEA president, he leads the nation’s largest labor union and advocate for quality public schools.
Van Roekel is committed to improving student learning and enhancing the professionalism of education employees. In 2010, he established the Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, a national, independent panel that is examining policies and practices governing the teaching profession to craft a new “teacher-centered” vision of teaching and the teaching profession. He is also a member of the US Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission, which is tasked with studying, and recommending solutions to, inequitable school finance systems and their effect on student achievement.
A recognized leader on education issues, he has testified before Congress on ESEA reauthorization and federal education policy, ensuring the voices of educators are at the forefront of critical decision-making. He serves as vice president of Education International for North America and the Caribbean, pursuing a common course of action on issues like collective bargaining, raising student achievement, and adequate funding that resonate around the world. He also serves on leading boards, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Executive Committee and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education Executive Board.
Van Roekel has been the invited speaker at numerous forums and national summits sponsored by the Coalition for Community Schools, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and an invited guest at the White House Conference on Bullying. He is frequently invited to discuss education issues with leading publications and networks, including C-Span, MSNBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Education Week, and TIME.