Evergreen Magazine

NEA Welcomes New Executive Director

Nation's Largest Union Welcomes Greener Leadership

John Stocks '81 was named executive director of the nation's largest union in September, the 3.2-million-member National Education Association (NEA). He oversees a Washington, D.C., staff of 535 and an annual budget of $371 million.

John StockStocks had been serving as the NEA's deputy director since 2004. He spearheaded the NEA's policy, political and membership priorities. Under his leadership, the NEA charted a new course of mobilizing its ranks in support of improving the federal No Child Left Behind law, transforming its political organization and building new strategic alliances to champion public education.

From 1990 to 2004, Stocks was the assistant executive director for public affairs at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). Prior to joining WEAC, he served as executive director of Idaho Fair Share, a grassroots citizen action organization dedicated to keeping utility rates affordable for working families. He also served as a member of the Idaho Senate. Originally from New Orleans, La., he lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, Connie, and their two children.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says Stocks has "supreme strategic skills and an unflagging commitment to students and our members… He understands the needs of students, especially those in poverty, and the challenges that face educators."

Stocks has been recognized as an agent for progressive change. In 2007, he was honored by the Midwest Academy, a grassroots training institute with a long tradition of preparing progressive leaders. He was also honored by the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center for his innovative work in ballot measure campaigning, winning difficult battles in support of students, educators and the middle class.

"NEA members are deeply committed to the success of their students, and I am honored to work for an organization that represents them," says Stocks. "Public education is and must continue to be the one universal public institution that provides equal opportunity for America's disadvantaged children and families."