Kim Anderson




Labor Union Activist

Executive Director, National Education Association




Patrick Anderson

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Kim Anderson is the executive director of the National Education Association (“NEA”), the nation’s largest labor union, and the former executive vice president of the Democracy Alliance.

Anderson was named Executive Director of the NEA—which represents nearly three million government workers, principally teachers—in June 2019, and began work the following September. Anderson had previously spent 15 years at the NEA from 2001 to 2016. She worked there as a lobbyist beginning in 2001, became the director of government outreach in 2009, and in 2011 created and served as the first senior director of the NEA’s Center for Advocacy and Outreach. 1

NEA Executive Director

In an interview after she was named as the NEA executive director with The Crisis, a magazine published by the NAACP, Anderson said that her number one priority was increasing funding for public education. 2

Since taking the helm at NEA, Anderson emerged as a critic of the Trump administration’s response to the spread of COVID-19. She criticized President Trump’s advocacy of reopening closed secondary and elementary schools as “malfeasance” and the administration’s response to COVID-19 as “just appalling.” 3 Anderson and the NEA urged Congress to provide $175 billion or more in funding to state and local governments to reduce class sizes in order to promote social distancing, pay for more stringent disinfectant protocols, and prevent teacher layoffs. She also called for Congress to fund wireless hotspots at schools and provide wireless-enabled devices to low-income K-12 students. 4

Anderson and the NEA also opposed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s use of $180 million in funding provided by the March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to provide “microgrants” that parents of elementary and secondary school students can use to pay for educational services, including private school tuition. 5

Democracy Alliance

In 2016, Anderson left the NEA to for three years to work as executive vice president of the Democracy Alliance, a collective of left-of-center donors that has been active in orchestrating “the activities of a permanent ‘left infrastructure’” since 2004. In this role, Anderson managed the Democracy Alliance’s programs, staff, and budget. 6

NEA Lobbying

Anderson was a staff member at the NEA for more than 15 years before joining the Democracy Alliance.

In 2011, Anderson was named senior director of the NEA’s newly formed Center for Advocacy and Outreach, directing campaign and elections efforts, government relations, and community organizing. As the center’s director, Anderson was a critic of charter schools, arguing that foundations that supported charter schools had wasted money that would be better spent on traditional public schools. Anderson especially criticized a plan by the Walton Family Foundation to provide $1 billion in support for charter schools. 7

Anderson and the NEA also lobbied for passage of a gun control bill supported by the Obama administration after the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The Obama proposal, the product of a task force led by then-Vice President Joe Biden, proposed requiring background checks on all gun purchasers, banning certain semi-automatic rifles in common use and standard-capacity magazines, and increasing funding for mental health treatment. Anderson call President Barack Obama’s plan “genius” and said that the “comprehensive nature of this response is something that [the NEA is] very pleased with.” 8 Anderson and the NEA organized several hundred NEA activists to directly lobby Congress members to pass the Obama administration proposal. 9 Ultimately, the measure failed, though portions of it were enacted later. 10

Anderson was director of government relations for the NEA from 2009 to 2011. In the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, Anderson and the NEA lobbied for more than $100 billion in direct federal support for public schools to avoid layoffs and cutbacks caused by falling state and local tax revenues. Critics of the proposal noted that the U.S. Department of Education had already received more than $100 billion in economic stimulus for distribution to local school systems and state departments of education. 11

In 2011, Anderson and the NEA also led campaigning for a referendum in Ohio that overturned Senate Bill 5, a state bill that restricted collective bargaining by government workers. Anderson told National Public Radio that the NEA contributed more than $10 million to defeat the referendum. The union also mobilized thousands of NEA activists from at least 20 state affiliates. 12

Before the NEA

Before joining the NEA, Anderson served as deputy legislative director and legal counsel to Sen. Charles Robb (D-VA). 13 Under Robb, Anderson authored legislation changing the statute of limitations to permit African-American farmers who claimed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had discriminated against them to pursue legal claims. The legislation paved the way for a $1.3 billion settlement, one of the largest civil rights settlements in American history at that time. 14 Critics later charged that this settlement “proved a magnet for fraud” and undeserved payouts. 15

Prior to joining Robb’s office, Anderson was an associate at the law firm of Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. 16

Other Activism

Anderson is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia. She sits on the boards of a number of left-of-center organizations, including New American Majority Fund, Voices for Progress, Every Voice, Learning First Alliance, and Progress Now. 17


  1. “NEA announces Kim Anglin Anderson as its next executive director.” National Education Association. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  2. Emiene Wright. “Q&A: Kim Anglin Anderson Takes Helm of NEA.” The Crisis. Sept. 9, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  3. “State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says it’s crucial for schools to reopen while staying safe.” KOCO-TV. July 8, 2020. Accessed July 23, 2020.
  4. “NEA’s Priorities for COVID-19 Relief.” National Education Association. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  5. Tim Walker. “At 2020 NEA RA, Educators Vow to Help Lead Nation Through Crisis. NEA Today. July 3, 2020. Accessed July 23, 2020.
  6. Thomas B. Edsall. “Opinion: Are Liberals Fundraising Hypocrites?” New York Times. September 30, 2015. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  7. Shea Stewart. “Waltons put $1B toward school aims.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Jan. 8, 2016. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  8. Tony Pugh. “Experts applaud Obama’s sweeping gun-control plan.” Associated Press. Jan. 16, 2013. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  9. Jackie Kucinich. “Gun-regulation groups rebuilding after NRA’s sway.” USA Today. Jan. 13, 2103. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  10. John Parkinson. “President Obama Blasts Senate After Failed Votes on Gun Control Measures.” ABC News. June 21, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2020.
  11. David Goldstein. “Election-year politics derail bid to save teachers’ jobs.” McClatchy Newspapers. May 28, 2010. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  12. “Teachers Unions Mobilize In A Fight For Their Lives.” National Public Radio. Nov. 12, 2011. Accessed July 20, 2020.
  13. “NEA announces Kim Anglin Anderson as its next executive director.” National Education Association. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  14. John Boyd. “Shame on The New York Times for Their Black Farmers and “Spigot” Story.” Huffington Post. May 2, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  15. Sharon LaFraniere. “U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination.” New York Times. April 25, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  16. “NEA announces Kim Anglin Anderson as its next executive director.” National Education Association. Accessed July 22, 2020.
  17. “NEA announces Kim Anglin Anderson as its next executive director.” National Education Association. Accessed July 22, 2020.
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