NEA Appoints National Board COO Andy Coons to Lead Policy and Teacher Quality Division as Senior Director

WASHINGTON – The National Education Association (NEA) announced today that it has hired Andy Coons, chief operating officer of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, to join its leadership team as senior director of its Center for Great Public Schools. In his new role, Coons will continue his work to elevate the education profession by directing the NEA’s efforts in several key areas, including: education policy, teacher quality, products and resources, education support professionals and research. He will begin his new role this fall.

A National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and 13-year teaching veteran, Coons taught middle school math in Washington State and served as the president of the Tacoma Education Association. He has been an NEA member since 1999 and has served as a board member on the Washington Education Association, a commissioner on the NEA’s Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching and as a member of the board of examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Before joining the National Board as COO in 2012, he served as a member of its board of directors.

“NEA welcomes Andy’s experience as an educator and as a leader in increasing teacher quality and ensuring all students are prepared to succeed in a competitive, global economy,” said John Stocks, NEA executive director. “Andy is a thought leader in the broader education community. He has a keen understanding of the issues facing educators and student learning, and the role educators must play in shaping the future of education and the profession. He will be a knowledgeable and effective advocate for students, public education and educators.”

Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board, commended Coons for his leadership and congratulated him on his appointment. “Over the past two years, Andy has led the National Board through a remarkable transition that included the revision of the National Board Certification process, several new strategic partnerships, including with the NEA and the U.S. Department of Education on teacher leadership, and many complex operational hurdles that improved our ability to serve the profession,” Thorpe said. “We look forward to working with him in his new role to ensure that Board certification becomes the norm in teaching and that accomplished teachers are at the forefront of shaping education policy and practice. This will only strengthen our close partnership with the NEA.”

Addressing his colleagues at the National Board, Coons said: “National Board Certification was transformative to my practice and my career as an educator, and it was my privilege to have had the opportunity to work with my National Board colleagues and our partners to advance the great cause of accomplished teaching. I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to continue that mission at the NEA with its longstanding commitment to teaching quality and support for genuine teacher leadership.”

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and chair of the NBPTS board of directors said: “Andy Coons has been a tremendous asset to the National Board as a leader on staff and previously on our board of directors. In particular, he has overseen our effort to remove barriers in the certification process, making it more flexible, affordable and efficient, so that more teachers can benefit from it.”

Coons is Board certified in Middle Childhood/Generalist. His instructional expertise was highlighted in the “Mr. C” case study on cultivating mathematical agency with students in a recently published book, The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2013). He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a master’s in teaching from Seattle University and is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and policy at the University of Washington.

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About the National Education Association (
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

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