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NEA honors entrepreneur Ted Dintersmith with NEA Friend of Education

‘Ted is committed to positive change for our students, educators and public schools’

MINNEAPOLIS - July 03, 2018 -

Ted Dintersmith, public education advocate and former venture capitalist, received NEA’s highest honor today, the NEA Friend of Education Award. Dintersmith received the award from the more than 6,000 educators at the 2018 NEA Representative Assembly.

“Ted is committed to positive change for our students, educators and public schools,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “He believes every student, everywhere, deserves the opportunity to succeed and that we should prepare our students for life, not standardized tests. He values the voices of educators who speak up for student-centered, teacher-led practices and policies. Our 3 million members are proud to honor Ted with the NEA Friend of Education Award.”

Dintersmith is one of America’s leading advocates for education policies that foster creativity, innovation, motivation, and purpose. He knows what skills are valuable in a world of innovation, and how we can transform our schools to prepare kids for their futures. His contributions span film, books, philanthropy — all across America.

Dintersmith also is a successful former venture capitalist and father of two. He has devoted most of his time and energy, as well as millions from his personal fortune to education-related initiatives that promise to remake what and how students learn. He has emerged as one of the leading advocates of student-centered, teacher-led classrooms in the nation. His commitment to innovative education is unparalleled. He has traveled to all 50 states to learn all he can about best practices as well as the art and science of teaching and learning.

Dintersmith is adamant that for innovative teaching — no matter the form — to succeed, teachers and their unions must be part of designing and implementing school plans. His book, “Most Likely to Succeed” and the forthcoming, “What School Can Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America,” highlight the outstanding work in America’s schools and ways to inspire creative and innovative teaching and learning in all corners of our country. Dintersmith doesn’t just talk the talk. He has financed and produced the compelling documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.” The over-arching message of the film is that students and teachers should be given the latitude and trust to define their own approach to learning.

From 1981 to 1987, Ted ran a business at Analog Devices that helped enable the digital revolution. In the public sector, he was a staff analyst in 1976-78 for the U.S. House of Representatives, and was appointed in 2012 by President Obama to represent the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly. Ted earned a Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford University and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, with High Honors in Physics and English.

The NEA Friend of Education Award, presented each year during NEA’s Representative Assembly, recognizes a person or organization whose leadership, acts or support have significantly contributed to the improvement of American public education. Dintersmith joins previous award recipients: Nobel-prize winners Malala Yousafzai

and economist Paul Krugman; education policy writer and researcher Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond; leaders of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB); U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and William Jefferson Clinton; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); U. S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley; Sen. Edward Ted” Kennedy.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel González, NEA Communications

To view more imgages from The NEA Friend of Education Award Ceremony in Miineapolis, MN, click here.

Entrepreneur and author Ted Dintersmith honored as NEA Friend of Education