Meet Tia Mills advocating for educators during the coronavirus pandemic

Internationally, 2020 was a year of medical, social, political, racial, and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More than 7,000 Louisianans died while 173,000 were unemployed and all 710,000 K-12 students and teachers were sent into virtual schooling. Within the struggles of the year, the America saw its own horrors and beauty. Moving into 2021,  The Drum sought Louisianans who are not only people to watch but are people who work for the community, for the demands of nation building, and for the growth of others. They are People for 2021.

As president of the state’s association of educators, Tia Mills Ph.D. is a leading advocate for teachers who is intentional about building collective support for educators. “Our desire is to ensure that all educators are equipped with the tools and support they need to be successful in the classroom,” said Mills during the middle of the nation’s most erratic academic year caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Drum asked Mills about 2020 and her focus for 2021. “2020 gave us the opportunity to pivot. To incorporate more technology into our everyday activities. It allowed us to shift the paradigm of old structure and merge new strategies to ensure success,” she said.

What advice would you give others? The purpose of a test is not to hold you back but they are to prove that you retained something that qualifies you to advance to the next dimension. So no matter how rigorous life may have been, it was to prove to yourself that you have what it takes to keep advancing.

What’s the best thing to do during quarantine? Connect with your household family members by having a movie night or playing a board game.

What is your motto for 2021? Don’t waste time promoting change when you can BE THE CHANGE!


This year I resolve to emerge from the shadows of calamity to equip, empower, and enrich Louisiana educators with effective leadership to WIN in the face of adversity.

How will you impact others? My goals this year are for our classrooms will be seen as what Albert Einstein calls “a valuable gift” and, for our educators to be respected and receive the best support possible.

What can we expect? In 2021, you should expect our voices to be louder. As a unit, we (LAE) will become more visible to continually promote change that will better assist our educators to empower the students who they serve.

What are your recent successes? LAE Teacher Image Award, 2018 NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award (given to top five educators in the nation), 2017 Southcentral Region Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Soror of the Year Graduate Small Chapter, LASAP TRIO Achiever Award, Louisiana State Conference NAACP Daniel Ellis Byrd Community Service Award, The Rouge Collection Honoree Black Ball 28, Southern University Alumni Federation 40 Under 40 Inaugural Cohort, and the 2019 The Network Coalition Award.

What are you reading? “The Source of Self-Regard” by Toni Morrison

What’s on my playlist? Bebe and Cece Winans

What are you watching? “The Pursuit of Happyness” (I never get tired of that movie)


About Zenobia Reed 67 Articles
Zenobia Reed is a Ponchatoula native and the social media editor for The Drum Newspaper. Follow her work on twitter and Facebook @theDrumNews.