Making Rhode Island public schools great for every child!

Welcome / About Us

We are the National Education Association Rhode Island, commonly known as NEARI. We teach in kindergarten story circles, high school physics labs, and college lecture halls. We answer school phones and keep buildings clean and safe. We direct school plays and coach soccer, counsel adolescents and help students with financial aid. We are the 11,800 members of the National Education Association Rhode Island, affiliated with the three million members of the National Education Association.

Our Association is a remarkable blend of union and professional organization, with a proud history of serving Rhode Island. Since its inception in 1845, our members have been at the center of every struggle to advance the finest of American dreams: the promise of a quality public education for every child. One in every 100 Rhode Islanders is a member - chances are, you know us already!

2015-16 NEARI Officers

President Lawrence E. Purtill
Vice President Val Lawson, East Providence
Secretary Robert Mayne, Chariho
Asst. Secretary Crystal Bergantine, CCRI ESPA
Treasurer Sue Verdon, East Greenwich ESP
Asst. Treasurer Vacant
NEA Director Marianne Lowe, North Smithfield
Executive Director Robert A. Walsh, Jr.

Biography - President Larry Purtill

NEARI President Larry Purtill is serving his ninth term in office. During his 16 years as president, Purtill has held numerous positions of leadership on statewide boards and commissions, in both the labor and education communities. He currently is secretary/treasurer of the Institute for Labor Studies & Research, president of the Ocean State Action coalition, chair of the Certification Advisory Committee, and on the board of directors of the Working Rhode Island coalition.

Purtill serves on the new Rhode Island Board of Education.  He also is a member of the boards of the NEA Fund for Children & Public Education and the NEARI Children’s Fund, and is on the planning committee for the RI MS 150 cycling fundraiser. He taught history in Exeter-West Greenwich for 22 years prior to taking office in 1999.

Vice Presidents:
Region I, Marlene Prichard (Barrington)
Region II, Amanda Boswell (Portsmouth)
Region III, Vin Levcowich (Chariho)
Region IV, Michael Twohey (Smithfield)
Region V, Kevin Dubois (North Kingstown)
Higher Education, Richard Tessier (CCRI Faculty)
Higher Education ESP, Linda Lowe (ESP of URI-NEARI)
K-12 ESP, Kristin Chase (East Providence Teacher Assistants)
Municipal/State/Student/Substitute/Retired, William Finelli (NEARI Retired)

NEARI members are teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, state health department workers, librarians and other municipal employees, and retirees.
Amazing Members - Shannon Donovan
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