California Educator

October/November 2020

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T H R E E F I G H T E R S W E R E e l e c t e d to lead the 3 million members of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States. B e c ky P r i n g l e , a s c i e n c e t e a c h e r from Pennsylvania, was elected NE A p r e s i d e n t a f t e r s e r v i n g s i x y e a r s a s v i c e p r e s i d e n t . O n S e p t . 1 , s h e assumed her new duties and became the highest- ranking African American female labor leader. P r i n g l e i s j o i n e d o n t h e n e w leadership team by NE A Vice Presi- d ent P rinc e ss Mo ss of Virgini a and Secretar y- Treasurer Noel Candelaria of Texas. Normally, the elections would have been held in person at the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly. But with the pandemic forcing the RA to be held virtually for the first time, the election wa s al s o h el d rem ot ely w ith n early 6,000 elected NE A delegates casting ballots by mail. Delegates also elected Mark Jewell of North Carolina and reelected Hanna Vaandering of Oregon to the NEA Executive Committee. Pringle's election is the culmination of a long and distinguished career as a classroom teacher and a tireless advocate for public education and racial , social and economic justice. As a science teacher in Philadelphia, Pringle served as a local president and steadily rose through the ranks of NEA leadership, serving on the NEA Board of Directors, the Pennsyl- vania State Education Association board, and NEA's Executive Committee. In h e r a c c e p t a n c e a d d re ss i n Au g u st , P r i n g l e delivered a charismatic call to action for educators to confront head-on the plague of inequity. "We cannot — we will not — put off for one more second creating schools that serve the needs of all our students regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expres- sion, immigration status, or language," Pringle said. "Now is the time to address the systemic inequities that beset our most vulnerable students." Pringle joined striking educators in Los Angeles and Oakland and sent a message of support when New Haven Teachers Association went on strike last year. e CTA delegation to the RA voted to endorse all three eventual winners: Pringle, Moss and Candelaria. Pringle takes the helm of NEA as the nation faces crisis in a pandemic that has leveled the economy and disrupted the education of 78 million students across the country. COVID-19 has exposed and exac- erbated systemic inequities in education and our communities. In the midst of all this, the nation's edu- cators are being asked to put their lives and the health of their families at risk with pressure at all levels to return to in-person instruction when it is unsafe. "I've spent months Zooming with thousands of you, so I know you're nervous about keeping everyone safe, and anxious about how to center your advocacy in equity," Pringle said. "But know this. NEA will support your demands that you get what you need to safely do the jobs you love." Becky Pringle Elected to Lead America's Educators Moss, Candelaria win races to serve as NEA officers Noel Candelaria Princess Moss 41 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 A

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