BATON ROUGE EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT SERVICES TEACHER TAKES OFFICE AS TOP LEADER OF THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS
TEACHER AND PUBLIC SCHOOL ACTIVIST, DR. TIA MILLS, ASSUMED HER DUTIES AS PRESIDENT OF THE LAE ON JULY 15, 2019
Dr. Tia T. Mills wrapped up her 13th year in the classroom in May and now steps into the role of LAE’s top official. She will serve as the spokeswoman of the association where her primary duties include leading LAE’s lobbying efforts at the Louisiana Legislature and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meetings. She will preside over the LAE Board of Directors and the LAE Representative Assembly. Additionally, Dr. Mills will represent Louisiana educators at the national level through her lobbying and networking efforts with the National Education Association. Her immediate focus will be continuing the fight for increased pay for Louisiana’s dedicated teachers and school support professionals.
“While we were successful this legislative session in securing modest boosts, LAE members have my promise that we will not stop fighting until we get our educators above the southern regional average,” Mills said.
The Exceptional Student Services teacher and Southern University adjunct professor from Baton Rouge served as president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators (EBRPAE) for the past seven years. During this time, she was instrumental in helping increase membership in the local association by 30 percent. She led the EBRPAE’s efforts to fight for increased salaries for school district employees and convinced the school board to unfreeze educators’ pay schedules. She also led the local association’s push for fair standards for the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. Dr. Mills’ state-level association involvement includes her service on the LAE Board of Directors. She’s also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana.
In 2017, LAE honored Dr. Mills with the association’s top honor, the LAE Teacher Image Award. She advanced to the national level where she was selected as one of the top five finalists for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Mills has a doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Leadership. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a Master of Arts degree in Social Science, and an alternative certification in Mild/Moderate Special Education, all from Southern University in Baton Rouge. She is a graduate of North Iberville High School. Outside of her work in public education, Dr. Mills is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 100 Black Women of Metropolitan Baton Rouge, Junior League of Baton Rouge, a life member of the Southern University Alumni Federation, and the East Baton Rouge Democratic Parish Executive Committee.
As the youngest president in the history of the LAE, Dr. Mills said she’s excited to bring fresh ideas to the organization.
“There’s much work to be done, and I’m prepared to take on the challenge,” she said. “I’m ready to continue raising LAE’s status as an organization that supports its members and the public school children of Louisiana.”
FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK
Dr. Tia T. Mills, President
With the backing and encouragement from a number of public education supporters, I humbly step into the role as LAE’s leader – your leader.
It is an honor to embark on this new journey as LAE President. I hope you are as excited as I am about the new school year. This is my first time not heading back to school for the new season, and while that does make me a little sad, I’m excited for what lies in store for our educators in the 2019-2020 school year. I know every Louisiana school employee is looking forward to the months ahead that are sure to be full of growth, discovery, and one-of-a-kind experiences with your students. As you begin your first few weeks of school, remember that your LAE family is right alongside you, cheering on your efforts. Allow me to send a great big “thank you” out there for every sacrifice you’ve made on behalf of the children of this state.
An institution established before the start of the Civil War, every student’s right to a great public school lays the foundation to ensure a pathway to academics for those who wish to achieve the American dream. As you know, Louisiana educators continue to fight for the survival of our public school system. Before we get too consumed in the business of back-toschool, I want to remind you about a few areas that continue to be top priorities for your sisters and brothers in the teaching profession:
• educator salaries
• school funding
• student discipline
• professional respect
These areas often lend to an unhealthy environment for Louisiana’s school employees – and ultimately, the students across the state. Rest assured that LAE continues to remain vigilant in our advocacy efforts surrounding these critical issues. As a Louisiana educator and member of this great association, I’m asking YOU to stand with us, fight beside us, and speak up on behalf of our public schools and our students.
Election season is right around the corner. I know you’re fully aware of the Governor’s race — each day brings forward a new political ad with a new perspective to consider. I want you to know that the LAE political action committee-the LAE Fund for Children and Public Educationhas endorsed John Bel Edwards for reelection as governor. His track-record of supporting public education proves his commitment to Louisiana’s educators and children. He continues to champion our schools, teachers, school support professionals, and students by striving for improvements in education. He has made it his mission to continue to support raising teacher pay until Louisiana reaches the same level of compensation as surrounding states. Governor Edwards is also fully aware of the need to raise school support workers’ salaries and has made a commitment to fight for pay boosts for these professionals. He understands that making this investment in our school employees is the key to keeping the best and the brightest in Louisiana’s schools.
No other candidate running for governor has come forward with this promise.
With the hype surrounding these elections, I want you to know how important other races are to the future of Louisiana’s public education system. The people we elect to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate) play a major role in determining the direction of our schools. The women and men serving in these offices have the final say on the policies and the budgets that govern our schools. It is up to us to make sure that we don’t let another four years go by under misguided leadership. The leaders of the LAE Fund for Children and Public Education will interview and make recommendations on the candidates we feel best support public education, but it is ultimately up to Louisiana voters to decide who takes office. Make sure you learn about the candidates running so you can make an informed decision when you cast your vote on October 12.
Please make sure you are registered to vote. It’s easy…all you have to do is go to geauxvote.org and follow the instructions.
My sincerest wish for every educator out there is a school year filled with memories, milestones, and much success. LAE will continue to stand firm in our support for the tremendously dedicated and talented professionals working to make our schools warm and inviting homes away from home for our students. My thoughts are with you for the exciting days ahead. I know you will do your best to advance educational excellence in our schools. I look forward to working with you and making you proud.