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CEA’s Own Recognized at NEA RA

Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen from Greenwich, CT speaks at the NEA RA today.

Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen from Greenwich, CT speaks at the NEA RA today.

CEA member, Greenwich Education Association member, and National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen, was recognized today at the NEA RA.  CEA delegates were proud to see one of their own in the spotlight.

After 21 years as a New York City police officer, Anthony Mullen decided to “exchange a pair of handcuffs for a set of textbooks,” and for that his students, so many of them inspired to graduate by this Connecticut teacher, can be thankful.

Mullen, who won the National Teacher of the Year award from President Barack Obama this year, told the Representative Assembly today that “the ability to graduate from high school is a fundamental right.”

Every 30 seconds, another student drops out of school, Mullen told the delegates. That’s more than 1 million a year — including a disproportionate number of poor and minority students. “Shouldn’t these shocking statistics be treated as a national crisis rather than a postscript to a failed education?” he asked.

Mullen (third from right) poses with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel (at left) and other education leaders on the pitching mound at PETCO Park. They posed before Van Roekel threw out the first pitch in front of a sold-out crowd for a game between, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the evening of July 3. The park celebrated NEA's "Night at the Ballpark" event that was attended by more than 7,000 NEA delegates.

Mullen (third from right) poses with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel (at left) and other education leaders on the pitching mound at PETCO Park. They posed before Van Roekel threw out the first pitch in front of a sold-out crowd for a game between, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the evening of July 3. The park celebrated NEA’s “Night at the Ballpark” event that was attended by more than 7,000 NEA delegates.

The answer: Yes, of course! The dropout crisis is a chief priority of the NEA. (Learn more about NEA’s efforts to increase graduation rates.)

Mullen became a teacher — joining the faculty of the ARCH School, an alternative education branch of Greenwich High School — so that he could make a real difference in the lives of young adults, he said. And that’s exactly what he does, said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Tony proves that with passion, perseverance, and professionalism, all of us have the power to make a difference.”

Take, for example, the 16-year-old mother, abandoned by her father, placed in foster care by her mother. “She’s combative, rude and vulgar, the type of person who does not believe the meek will inherit the Earth,” Mullen said. But she’s also a lonely, frightened teenager — and Mullen sees that person and believes in her.

“Every day I’m given a chance to save one child at a time and prevent another dropout,” Mullen told delegates. “These are the riches we are given as teachers and educators.”

Click “read more…” below to see 4th of July photos from the CEA delegation.

Two Connecticut delegates -- Enfield Teachers Association member Mary Lombardo and Greenwich Education Association member Rae Baczek -- were part of a chorus of NEA delegates who sang during a special Fourth of July celebration at the NEA RA in San Diego.

Two Connecticut delegates — Enfield Teachers Association member Mary Lombardo and Greenwich Education Association member Rae Baczek — were part of a chorus of NEA delegates who sang during a special Fourth of July celebration at the NEA RA in San Diego.

Naugatuck Teachers Association member Angela Szantyr talks with a delegate from New Hampshire during a break in business at the NEA RA on July 4.

Naugatuck Teachers Association member Angela Szantyr talks with a delegate from New Hampshire during a break in business at the NEA RA on July 4.

Connecticut delegate Barbara Yohe -- an elementary teacher in Sharon -- writes the name of the winning delegate in CEA's "Instant Lottery." Connecticut delegate names are randomly drawn during the NEA RA business sessions to win small prizes donated by other CEA delegates.

Connecticut delegate Barbara Yohe — an elementary teacher in Sharon — writes the name of the winning delegate in CEA’s “Instant Lottery.” Connecticut delegate names are randomly drawn during the NEA RA business sessions to win small prizes donated by other CEA delegates.

CEA Vice President Sheila Cohen (right) talks with Massachusetts delegate Kerry Costello, who is dressed in red, white, and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July.

CEA Vice President Sheila Cohen (right) talks with Massachusetts delegate Kerry Costello, who is dressed in red, white, and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Waterbury Teachers Association member George Flaherty Jr. speaks to delegates explaining his amendment on July 4 to a new business item related to charter schools.

Waterbury Teachers Association member George Flaherty Jr. speaks to delegates explaining his amendment on July 4 to a new business item related to charter schools.

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