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February 6, 2020

Executive Compensation at the National Education Association (NEA)

by Anne Paddock

The National Education Association of the United States (NEA) is a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (c) (5) – a labor organization – that represents public school teachers, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The largest professional employee organization in the US, NEA has more than 3 million members (which is also about how many public school teachers there are in the US).

Based in Washington, DC, NEA reported total revenue of $374 million in 2017, most of which ($370 million) came from membership dues, which means the average membership dues were $123.

Expenses totaled $361 million with the largest expense being compensation ($121 million for the 653 employees, which equates to an average compensation of $185,300). However, only 368 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 13 most highly compensated employees listed below:

  • $585,079:  Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President
  • $572,578:  John Stocks, Executive Director
  • $474,548:  Rebecca Pringle, Vice President
  • $453,411:  Princess Moss, Secretary-Treasurer
  • $427,341:  HT Nguyen, State Affiliate Executive Director
  • $410,458:  Michael McPherson, CFO
  • $378,161:  Michael Edwards, Senior Director
  • $372,900:  Karen White, Deputy Executive Director
  • $359,704:  John Springer, Senior Director
  • $359,356:  Alice O’Brien, General Counsel
  • $351,506:  Derrick Johnson, Senior Director
  • $345,387:  Ramona Oliver, Senior Director
  • $341,706:  James Testerman, Senior Director

The 13 employees listed above were compensated $5.4 million, which equates to an average compensation of $415,000. 7 of the 13 (54%) most highly compensated employees are male while 6 of the 13 (46%) are female.

NEA pays for companion travel, provides a housing allowance or residence for personal use, and allows discretionary spending accounts.  Specifically, the housing allowance is offered to three (3) employees (President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer). The companion travel benefit is available to the full Executive Committee including the three (3) elected officers. The discretionary spending account includes limited and capped travel and personal allowances for each of the three (3) officers and the Executive Director. Travel allowances are capped at $5,500 per year and personal allowances are capped at $3,000 per year. In addition, NEA board members have a travel allowance up to $1,200 per year because these are non-accountable plans, and therefore reported as taxable compensation.

69 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five (5) most highly compensated listed below:

  • $4.1 million:  Weber Shandwick of Washington, DC for advertising
  • $3.1 million:  Expoplus of Atlanta, GA for convention management
  • $2.3 million:  The New Media Firm, Inc. of Washington, DC for advertising (agency)
  • $1.5 million:  Lindemeyer Central of Purchase, NY for paper print and distribtion
  • $1.2 million:  Communications Plus, Inc. of New York, NY for event management

In summary, the NEA is the largest non-profit labor organization in the US with more than 3 million members who paid an average annual dues of $123.  The organization raised $374 million in 2017 and spent $361 million, $121 million of which was spent on compensating 653 employees who received an average compensation of $185,300 (although only 368 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation). The 13 employees who make up the most highly compensated received $341,000-$585,000.  NEA paid for companion travel, provided housing allowances, and allowed discretionary spending accounts.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year ending August 31, 2017, click here.

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