A K-5 bilingual resource teacher from Oak Park has been elected by her peers to serve as a director of the nation’s largest organization of school employees, the National Education Association (NEA).
Gina Harris was elected to the office of NEA director on April 16, during the annual meeting of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the state affiliate of the NEA. Some 1,200 delegates from throughout Illinois cast votes in the election. Voting representatives included teachers, higher education faculty and education support professionals.
Harris is a 36-year resident of Oak Park. She currently teaches at Emerson Elementary School in Maywood. With her selection, she becomes one of seven NEA directors elected from Illinois. The national board of the NEA is comprised of 164 elected directors representing all states.
“I’m truly honored that my colleagues have placed their trust in me to serve and to help guide our national organization,” Harris said. “My voice always will be as an advocate for children, students, public education and the outstanding professionals who teach and work in our schools.”
Harris attended Oak Park public schools and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School. She earned a BS degree in management at the University of Illinois-Chicago as well as advanced degrees from Dominican University in River Forest. She also teaches part time at Triton College in River Grove.
Harris currently chairs two IEA committees: the Human and Civil Rights Committee and the IEA Minority Caucus. She has served in a variety of other organizational roles, including political activist, region council representative and local treasurer.
Her three-year term of office as NEA director will begin in September.
As the nation’s largest organization of school employees, the NEA currently enrolls some 3 million teachers, higher education faculty and education support professionals. IEA is the largest organization of school employees in the state, with membership exceeding 130,000.