About Bryan Proffitt

Bryan Proffitt has been committed to organizing and equity work since before he began his teaching career, but his long term fight for the schools our students deserve was sparked by his experiences in the classroom. Check out his long history of education and social justice work below!

Teaching Jobs

  • 2004-2007→ Apex High Math Interventionist and Social Studies Teacher
  • 2007-2015→ Hillside High Social Studies Teacher
    • 2010-2012→ Chair of School Improvement Team

Prior to Organizing Around Education 

  • 2002-2008→ Organizer and lead trainer of Men Against Rape Culture, an anti-racist community organization committed to training men to be leaders in ending violence, especially sexual violence agaisnt women
  • 2002-2007→ National Steering Committee, United for Peace and Justice, the largest anti-war coalition in the U.S.
  • 2008-2013→ Co-founder and lead education organizer for People’s Durham, which successfully fought to save 180 teaching jobs from budget cuts in 2010

Local

  • 2013–>Hillside High Teacher of the Year, and finalist (top 5) for DPS Teacher of the Year 
  • 2013-2015–>High School Director, Durham Association of Educators
  • 2015-2019→ President, Durham Association of Educators

Highlights from DAE Work Under My Leadership

  • 2015→ Won first raise for classified staff in district in 7-8 years
  • 2016→ Led nation-wide campaign to stop the deportation, end the detention, and bring Wildin Acosta back home to graduate with his classmates
  • 2016→ Led 20+ mile Students Deserve More march from Durham to Raleigh, that resulted in arrests and a significant communications hit against Pat McCrory, who was defeated later that year
  • 2016→ Recruited candidates and supported winning races in the Durham School Board elections
  • 2016→ Led DAE through dismantling racism leadership development workshops
  • 2016→ Listening campaign that resulted in over 1000 surveys filled out and a 20 point “In This Together” vision for the future of DPS
  • 2017→ Worked with film class at Duke to produce 6 short documentary films that highlighted our work
  • 2017→ Re-elected President and doubled the number of members who voted (close to 50% participation, up from 2% in 2013)
  • 2017→ Durham led statewide efforts to defeat House Bill 13, which would have eliminated “specials” from elementary school
  • 2017→ Led a campaign to stop the privatization of 2 elementary schools in Durham and coached/supported other locals in defeating the Innovative School District in their counties
  • 2017→ Received grant from the NEA to fund a full-time organizer for the Community Schools organizing campaign 
  • 2018→ Led efforts to organizer custodians and win the de-privatization of district’s custodial services, resulting in improved wages and benefits (previously, custodians didn’t even get sick leave)
  • 2018→ Won school board/county funding for 4 Community School Coordinators
  • 2018→ Won a follow up grant from the NEA to continue support for the Community Schools initiative
  • 2018→ Listening campaign that resulted in over 1800 surveys and a commitment from the district to: 
    • Revise its Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council to include all types of staff and more rank-and-file participation in agenda creation/implementation 
    • Ensure that time before/after school and during planning is protected
  • 2018→ Led the state in shutting down schools and turning out thousands for May 16
  • 2019→ Won a follow up grant from the NEA to continue support for the Community Schools initiative
  • 2019→ Led the state in shutting down schools and turning out thousands for May 1
  • Increased visibility through constant campaigns, weekly Red 4 Ed photos, and DAE shirts all over the district
  • Grew membership by over 28% while the rest of the state lost membership every year
  • Grew base of active leaders from 0 to roughly 40
  • Attendance at mass meetings grew from less than 10 to about 75
  • Won over $200,000 in grants from the NEA for our work over the last 4 years

State 

  • 2013-2014→ Won NEA grant for statewide organizing skills training that I developed and facilitated in almost every region in the state
  • 2013-present→ Led efforts to design, implement and evaluate the following campaigns: 
    • 2013→ Statewide Walk Ins
    • 2013-14→ Decline 2 Sign 
    • 2014→ We Heart Public Schools
    • 2015→ Schools Our Students Deserve
    • 2018→ May 16 mobilization 
      • Shut down 42 school districts
      • Put 30,000 people in the streets in Raleigh
    • 2018-19→ Strong Students, Strong Schools, Strong Communities 
      • Designed, trained facilitators for, and led 4 statewide trainings that trained over 330 people 
      • May 1 mobilization 
        • Shut down 30+ school districts
        • Put 20,000+ in the streets
  • 2016-Present→ NCAE Board of Directors-Region 5 Director (won 2 elections)
  • 2016-present→ Board liaison to the Membership and Organizing Committee
  • NCAE Organize 2020 Racial and Social Justice Caucus 
    • 2013-present→ Co-founder, co-chair 

National 

  • 2015-2018→ Recipient of a Full-Time Release Grant from the NEA so that I could leave the classroom and lead the local full-time
  • 2016→ Finalist (final 5) for NEA Social Justice Activist Award
  • 2017→ Invited, and participated in, NEA workshop on Community Schools initiative that resulted in us taking up the initiative
  • 2017→ Presented (by request) a workshop at the NEA Racial and Social Justice Conference
  • 2018→ Presented (by request) a workshop at the NEA Racial and Social Justice Conference

What People Say

“Bryan and I bonded over our love of history and international travel.  I was immediately drawn to his confidence, competence, and compassion. Bryan has a way of energizing and explaining that makes me want to hear more and become engaged.”

Arielle Hogarth Dyer
Past President of the Alamance-Burlington Association of Educators

Bryan’s Story


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