Kim Anderson: An advocate for equity and excellence in public education

On September 1, 2019, Kim A. Anderson will be the Executive Director of the National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest union, representing more than 3 million educators.  Anderson’s life long commitment to breaking down barriers for others has never wavered, and with this appointment, she breaks down one of her own:  she will be the first woman and first person of color to serve as NEA executive director.

She previously worked at the National Education Association for more than 15 years, leading some of NEA’s most innovative and successful national campaigns. Anderson oversaw NEA’s seminal campaign to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, the culmination of a 12-year effort to replace the test-and-punish regime of No Child Left Behind.

As NEA’s senior director of the Center for Advocacy & Outreach, she led several departments, including: Campaigns and Elections, Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy, Government Relations, Human and Civil Rights, and Minority Community Organizing and Partnerships. One of her proudest achievements was assisting NEA affiliates to align student-centered advocacy and labor-community partnerships and organizing to enhance public education for students and respect for educators’ expertise.

Prior to her role as senior director, Anderson’s work ethic and deep policy expertise, made its mark on a wide variety of legislative issues as she led NEA’s Government Relations division. Here, she led countless federal legislative efforts that positively impacted NEA members and students, including the $10 billion Education Jobs Bill which helped restore dignity to nearly 200,000 educators at the height of the last recession.

Before becoming NEA’s Executive Director, Anderson brought her political prowess to bear, serving as the Executive Vice President of the Democracy Alliance (DA) where she managed the DA’s programs, staff, and budget. In this role, she built deep partnerships and coalitions with national and global leaders to develop investment strategies to address numerous democratic concerns – everything from civic empowerment, voting rights and expansion of the electorate, winning state and local elections, progressive leadership development, climate justice, and empowering New American Majority communities.

Before joining NEA, she served as deputy legislative director and legal counsel to Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia, where she co-authored legislation on behalf of African-American farmers who had experienced decades of discrimination by USDA officials. The legislation paved the way for one of the largest civil rights settlements in American history at that time.

She was an associate at the law firm of Covington and Burling, and is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Through decades volunteering for those in need, whether as part of her church community, or serving on the boards of the New American Majority Fund, Voices for Progress, Public Campaign, Every Voice, Learning First Alliance, and Progress Now, Anderson has kept service in support of others as a hallmark of her career and life.

Anderson received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her law degree from The George Washington University where she was a member of the George Washington University Law Review, the Moot Court Board, and was the first African- American woman to serve as president of the Student Bar Association. She and her husband Patrick live in Alexandria, VA and have two children.

8 Responses to “Kim Anderson: An advocate for equity and excellence in public education”

  1. Margretta Williams

    Felicitations, Ms Anderson, on your new position. I know you will bring a wealth of expertise, fresh ideas, and inclusivity to the group. God be with you as you lead us forward!

  2. Linda Chesterfield

    Kudos President Lily and the NEA leadership on this outstandingly historic choice. Kim is someone whose work I admire and I know she will continue her legacy of advocacy in her new role as NEA’s Executive Director.

  3. Bernita Echols

    Congratulations Ms. Anderson, Your successful appintment to the position NEA Executive Director, uplifts all people of color, women everwhere, and humanity at large. Your achievement is a testament to your commitment to being the change we want to see. You are the inspirations for both the old and new guard standing shoulder to shoulder in the fight for a better life for Educators, Students, and our Global Community.

  4. Linda Bacon

    Congratulations Kim! So happy for the organization and know you’ll do a fabulous job! I appreciated working with you on achievement gaps issues back in the day, and know you’ll provide great leadership for NEA

  5. Mary Lou Cameron

    Congratulations! Hope to meet you in Houston during the RA!

  6. Elverta J.Williams

    Congratulations Ms. Anderson. I am delighted to learn that you are the new NEA Executive Director. Best wishes to you as you provide leadership to continue the NEA’s fight to improve conditions for our members and students.

  7. Rwanda Farrer

    Sending best wishes from North Carolina to Mrs. Kim Anderson. I know you will continue to work diligently to touch the future and move the NEA agenda forward to make public school education a priority. So proud of you.

  8. Jimmie Woods-Gray

    Congratulations to NEA for selecting such a well qualified leader who has worked in various capacities in the NEA. I’m so happy for Kim. I’ve watched and worked with her over the years. Best wishes for continued success!


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