Baton Rouge teacher Dr. Tia Mills takes over as head of the Louisiana Association of Educators, after the retirement of former President Debbie Meaux. This comes after teachers won a $1,000 pay raise, their first in over a decade. Mills says they will continue to push for a better salary in next year’s session.

“The focus is to remain vigilant and committed to ensuring that we get our educators to at least the southeast regional average,” said Mills.

Before the rise, the average Louisiana teacher salary was $2200 below the SRA.

Mills says the LAE will also actively support Governor John Bel Edwards’ re-election bid.

“We stand behind him in making sure he continues to push forward,” said Mills.

Mills says she was encouraged by lawmakers’ decision to increase public education spending in the last session, but she says the new funding level isn’t the destination, but the first step.

“We want to continue to move that needle and continue to see those strides because we are making great efforts already, but we still have some ways to go,” said Mills.

Mills was a special education teacher at Eden Park Superintendant’s Academy and received the Horace Mann Award for excellence in teaching in 2017.