Corina Cortez is a seasoned campaign and communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience as an advocate, campaign manager, lawyer and public servant.
Ms. Cortez serves as a special assistant to the Executive Director of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA), one of the nation’s largest and oldest institutions, with a $350 million budget and more than 550 headquarters staff. NEA and its 52 state affiliates represent educators at every level of education, from pre-school to university graduate programs.
Ms. Cortez’ tenure at NEA spans more than ten years. In 2002, she served as the NEA Manager of State Politics and Policy. In 2003, she was promoted to Manager of Presidential Campaign Programs. During her tenure she coordinated the organization’s multi-million 2004 presidential campaign targeted to more than one million members in 10 states. In that capacity she oversaw state and local campaigns, which included paid and earned media communications, direct mail, phone calls and field operations. She also facilitated NEA’s relationships with governors and intergovernmental organizations.
While at NEA, Ms. Cortez also created numerous partner advocacy and political organizations, including 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 527 organizations. From 2004 to 2011, she founded and managed Communities for Quality Education (CQE), a national education advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a quality public schools agenda. During her time at CQE she designed and implemented dozens of issue advocacy, ballot and political campaigns throughout the country. She oversaw strategic planning, hiring, budgeting, message development, communications, survey research, fundraising and legal compliance. She also coordinated more than 100 opinion research projects on voter attitudes toward public education and related issues.
In 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Ms. Cortez to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a $7.4 billion federal agency with 18,000 employees. In 1999, she was promoted to Chief of Staff where she served until the end of the president’s administration.
Prior to her appointment to the U.S. EPA, Ms. Cortez worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, where she coordinated the national field campaign to secure health care for uninsured children. The bi-partisan campaign, led by Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and Hatch (R-UT) resulted in congressional passage of the well-known State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a $40 billion program that insures children throughout the country. The U.S. Congress recently reauthorized the popular program.
Ms. Cortez has also coordinated issue, field, media and political campaigns for numerous labor unions, as well as education and advocacy organizations.
Ms. Cortez received her Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center and her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in San Antonio, Texas at Incarnate Word College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.