Teacher takes office as Top Leader of the Louisiana Association of Educators

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
North Iberville graduate, Dr. Tia Mills assumes her duties as president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) Monday, July 15, 2019.

Teacher and public school activist, Dr. Tia Mills, assumes her duties as president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) Monday, July 15, 2019.

"My mission is to continue the work of the LAE in creating great public schools for every child in Louisiana," Mills said.

Dr. 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, LAE’s parent organization.

President Mills succeeds two-term president, Deborah Meaux, a 38-year classroom teacher veteran from Vermilion Parish. 

"Dr. Mills is passionate about her work in education, and because of this, I know she'll work hard to drive the LAE forward," Meaux said. "Our education system is at a crossroads, and educators need a strong professional network to support them. Dr. Mills has the heart to lead the organization in the best direction to meet the needs of Louisiana's committed school employees."

Dr. Mills' immediate focus is 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 graduated from 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 and plans to hit the ground running.

"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."

Contributed by La. Association of Educators