Dennis Van Roekel

Last updated
Dennis Van Roekel
Occupation Trade union leader; Teacher
Known forFormer President, National Education Association Former president, Arizona Education Association

Dennis Van Roekel is an American labor leader who served as president of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States.

National Education Association US teachers trade union

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union and professional interest group in the United States.

A trade union, also called a labour union or labor union (US), is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, benefits, working conditions or social and political status through collective bargaining and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by creation of a monopoly of the workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers. The most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



Van Roekel was born in Le Mars, Iowa. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City and a master's degree in math education from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He taught math for more than 20 years at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona. He has held key positions in all levels of the teachers union, including Paradise Valley Education Association President, Arizona Education Association President, and served two terms as NEA Secretary-Treasurer, and NEA Vice President. He was elected NEA President by the 2008 NEA Representative Assembly, succeeding Reg Weaver in that position. [1]

Le Mars, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Le Mars is a city in and the county seat of Plymouth County, Iowa, United States. It is located on the Floyd River and is northeast of Sioux City. The population was 9,826 at the 2010 census.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

University of Iowa public research university in Iowa City, Iowa, United States

The University of Iowa is the flagship public research university of the State of Iowa, United States. Its main campus is in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organized into 11 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees.

Dennis Van Roekel is a recognized activist on children education who has testified in front of United States Congress on education policy. [2]

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.


As NEA President, Van Roekel has been a vocal supporter of the broader union movement. He gave a speech calling for unity at a meeting in January 2009 with the leaders of the AFL-CIO and the breakaway Change to Win; The New York Times called his attendance at that meeting "somewhat surprising" since the NEA has been more independent in the past. [3] He has been outspoken about the neediest schools in the country, and has testified before Congress that union staffing rules would not stand in the way of putting the best teachers in high-needs schools. [4] [5] [6]

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

He was succeeded on September 1, 2014 by Lily Eskelsen García. [7]

Lily Eskelsen García is an American teacher and trade union leader. As President of the 3 million-member National Education Association, she leads the largest Union in the United States.

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  1. "25-Year Teaching Veteran Elected President of NEA," NEA press release
  2. Dennis Van Roekel
  3. "Labor Calls for Unity After Years of Division," The New York Times , January 7, 2009
  4. "NEA moves to help poor schools with best teachers," USA Today , September 30, 2009
  5. "House Panel Targets Distribution of Teachers in ESEA, Stimulus," Education Week , October 2, 2009
  6. "Teachers Union Shifts Stance, Backs Looser Staffing Rules," Wall Street Journal , October 1, 2009
  7. NEA, "NEA's 2014 Back to School Tour"