NEA’s ESP of the Year Doreen McGuire-Grigg, a special education paraeducator in California’s Lakeport Unified School District, takes the stage on July 5 to address nearly 7,000 of her colleagues during NEA’s RA. Long known as a “pathbreaker” and an admired leader with the California Teachers Association, McGuire-Grigg spoke of the herculean efforts of ESPs throughout the nation.

In the midst of one of the most politically gridlocked eras in Washington, D.C., two U.S. senators from opposite sides of the political aisle set aside their differences to successfully champion the passage of a federal education law–The Every Student Succeeds Act–that marked the end of No Child Left Behind and the beginning of a new era in public education. For their leadership and significant contributions to public education, NEA awarded them its highest honor, the Friend of Education Award.

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THE ANNUAL MEETING IN PHOTOS