Meet MAE’s new executive director, Antonio Castanon Luna

MAE members and local leaders:

I hope that each of you and your families are safe during these trying times across our state.

I want to take this opportunity to share how extremely humbled and excited I am to have joined the MAE team as your new executive director. I come to you by way of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) where I served as the Manager for UniServ, Membership, and Organizing. I joined GAE after working at NEA, where I helped develop national recruitment, leadership development, and advocacy programs as part of a seasonal cycle that mirrors our academic year.

With these experiences providing a foundation for our work in Mississippi, I step into this role empowered by the opportunity to work alongside you and our public school educators to ensure that our students have every resource and support necessary to become productive members of our communities. I am of the firm belief that by working together, having honest dialogue, and uplifting our personal stories and collective narrative, we can ensure that our Association continues to grow its power to support our students as well as the personal, professional, and leadership development of all of our members across Mississippi.

As the son of an educator who received an incredible amount of support in our public schools, the mission outlined above and my hopes for this partnership are part of my lived experience. During my middle school years, one of my educators not only supported me in the classroom, but also advocated on my behalf to help me enter into our district’s gifted program. This support provided my mother, a single parent and first-generation immigrant, with the hope necessary to call our country home. This courageous decision, grounded by the promise of opportunity by our public school system and our democracy, is what has allowed and inspired me to become a partner in this work.

Right now, we find ourselves at a point in our history in which only by coming together, neighbor with neighbor, educator with educator, constituent with public servant, we will be able to support our students in developing a lifelong curiosity for knowledge, and compassion for others and the world that we live in.

I look forward to being a leader for our organization who listens openly without judgement, supports personal and professional growth, practices our shared values and helps achieve our collective mission, and serves MAE members and leaders with the utmost effort deserved by those working for our students across Mississippi.

I look forward to many years of shared success.