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California special education teacher wins seat on NEA’s Executive Committee

Delegates at the National Education Association’s annual convention elect Robert V. Rodriguez

MINNEAPLOLIS - July 05, 2018 -

California special education teacher Robert Varela Rodriguez was elected to NEA’s Executive Committee, the highest-level governing body that oversees and helps establish policy for the 3 million-member National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union. Delegates elected Rodriguez, from San Bernardino City Unified School District, for a one-year term that begins August 1.

During his remarks to the NEA delegates, Rodriguez recognized the hard work of his immigrant parents who encouraged him to study hard and become the first in his family to graduate from college. He also recognized the struggles educators and communities face as a San Bernardino teacher and student were killed during a shooting at North Park Elementary School last year.

"We are living in difficult times, but I believe that only through organizing and collective action can we effect change," said Rodriguez. "Educators and students are demanding action, demanding change and demanding justice! I will stand up and advocate for all educators and students as a member of the NEA Executive Committee. It’s my hope that when our grandchildren look back, they will say this was the start of an incredible labor movement where working people came together, united, to demand a better life and a better future."

A passionate educator and longtime union activist, Rodriguez has represented California on the NEA Board of Directors for six years, served three years on the NEA Budget Committee and just completed a two-year term on the CTA Board of Directors. He served for three years as the president of the San Bernardino Teachers Association and three years as vice president. During his 14 years of teaching, Rodriguez has worked at the elementary, middle school, special day class and resource specialist levels.

"Now more than ever we need Robert’s voice, passion, and dedication advocating for students and public education," said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. "I am confident that he will draw on his years of experience as a classroom educator and association leader to continue to fight for and to deliver on the promise of great public schools for every student."

The NEA Executive Committee consists of nine members — three executive officers and six members elected at-large by more than 6,000 delegates attending the NEA Representative Assembly, which was held this year in Minneapolis. The committee is responsible for general policy and interests of NEA and acts for the NEA Board of Directors in between its four regularly scheduled meetings each year.

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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: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
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Read Robert Rodgruez's bio.

NEA Executire Committee NEA’s top elected officials are determined by popular vote among NEA members.