UMW alumna lands national VP position to support teachers
A position Princess Moss won last week with the National Education Association (NEA) will give her a larger voice for teachers and students throughout the country. A 1983 Mary Washington graduate, Moss will trade her current post as secretary-treasurer of the nation’s largest professional organization, representing three million educators, to become vice president.
She was a Mary Washington music major when she began her nearly four decades of service with NEA, becoming a student member of the affiliated Virginia Education Association (VEA), of which she later served two terms as president. With the COVID-19 crisis further exposing inequities in public schools, Moss wants teachers to know that, in her new role announced last week, she will work to provide safe learning spaces for all, and that she stands with them.
She’s been there, having spent 21 years in the classroom as a public school elementary music teacher. Along the way, she’s held influential positions, supporting the NEA’s mission to ensure students receive well-rounded educations and advocating for the arts in schools. Moss credits her success, at least in part, to her undergraduate career, which gave her strong leadership and communication skills, she told University of Mary Washington Magazine in 2014.
That year, she was elected secretary-treasurer of the NEA, and spent two three-year terms overseeing the multimillion-dollar budget and fiscal integrity of the organization, for which she has held leadership positions at national, state and local levels. Virginia Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine both tapped her to serve on the commonwealth’s P-16 Education Council, which coordinates education reform from preschool through higher learning.
Moss earned a master’s degree in elementary and secondary administration and supervision from the University of Virginia. A member of Mary Washington’s College of Education (COE) Advisory Board, she received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2006 and served on the UMW Board of Visitors from 2007 to 2011. Last month she joined COE Dean Pete Kelly and Spotsylvania County Schools Director of Human Resources Melanie Kay-Wyatt ’92 to teach “The Pandemic’s Impact on K-12 Education,” the final installment of UMW’s free eight-week online “COVID-19 in Context” summer course.
“Princess Moss is a passionate and powerful advocate for teachers and the teaching profession,” Kelly said. “The COE and our students benefit from her service and support on the COE Advisory Board. I feel fortunate to have her as an advisor, a colleague, and a friend.”
Moss has been “unapologetic and relentless” in her fight for students to receive support and resources, outgoing NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said in a release last week on the neaToday website.
“Our students are not for sale,” Moss said, renouncing the promotion of vouchers that divert funding from public schools, on a recent promo video for her bid for the NEA vice presidency. To teachers, she said: “I am in awe of you. You’re always there for your students, sometimes putting your own lives at risk, making sure your students have what they need in order to be successful.”
In the video, she pledged to continue her service to the NEA, working to ensure strength, stability and future growth for the organization, putting it in the position to navigate crises, such as the current pandemic, in the rapidly evolving world of public education.
“You know me. You know my work. You know my heart … ” Moss said in the video. “Working together, we can change the world. Let’s do it.”