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John WilsonJohn Wilson, a long-time special education teacher and association leader, became executive director of the National Education Association on November 1, 2000. The nation's largest teachers union, NEA also represents education support professionals, higher education faculty, school administrators, retired educators, and education students who plan to become teachers. In all, NEA has 3.3 million members, a staff of 555, and an annual budget exceeding $300 million.

During his tenure as executive director of NEA, Wilson championed a minimum salary of $40,000 for every teacher and a living wage for Education Support Professionals. He also launched an NEA initiative to engage the best teachers in sharing ideas on staffing high poverty, low achieving schools with the most accomplished teachers.

Wilson has chaired the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a coalition of 33 businesses and education groups that advocates for every child in America to graduate from high school with 21st century skills. The 3E Institute presented him with the Educator 500 President’s Award in 2006 for being “a true entrepreneurial educator.” Wilson has also chaired the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 18 leading education organizations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools.