Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lily Eskelsen to Serve as NEA Vice-President

Lily Eskelsen
Secretary-Treasurer, National Education Association

Lily Eskelsen, an elementary teacher from Utah, has served as secretary-treasurer of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association since 2002. Eskelsen will be named NEA Vice-President by acclamation at this year's RA in Washington D.C.

Lily’s constant message is one of pride in the teaching profession, respect for all who work in America’s schools, and the importance of public education as the foundation of everything we hope to accomplish in our country.

Her 20 years of service to children include working as a lunch lady in a school kitchen, a kindergarten aide, and as a teacher at Orchard Elementary School in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. She also taught at the Family Homeless Shelter School and at the K-6 one-room school at the Christmas Box House, which is the county children’s shelter for hard-to-place foster kids.

Lily is a proud “Army Brat.” Her mother is from Panama. Her father is a retired soldier from Mississippi. She was raised in Texas, Georgia, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Utah.

Lily and her husband, Ruel, worked their way through the University of Utah on scholarships, student loans, and as starving folk singers. She graduated magna cum laude in elementary education in 1980 and later earned her master’s degree in instructional technology.

After teaching at Orchard Elementary for only nine years, she was named Utah Teacher of the Year in 1989. One year later, she was elected president of the Utah Education Association.

Lily has also served as president of the Utah State Retirement System (only the second woman to ever be elected to the position); as president of the Children at Risk Foundation; as a member of the Utah La Raza Education Committee; and as a member of the White House Strategy Session on Improving Hispanic Education. In 1998, she was the first Hispanic chosen as her party’s nominee for U.S. Congress in Utah.

Lily authored a humor column on parenting that ran in 22 local newspapers. Her interviews have been published in Time Magazine, Working Mother and Woman’s World. Lily has been featured on countless radio and television interviews including Hannity & Colmes and Lou Dobbs Tonight. She’s been the invited keynote speaker for hundreds of education events in virtually every state and was highlighted in Education World in their “Best Conference Speakers” edition.

Lily and Ruel Eskelsen now live in Washington, D.C. They use all their frequent flyer points to visit their children and grandchildren in Utah.

May 2007