Skip to main content

WHAT'S NEW: Meet our President, Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins


For more than 25 years, Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins has been an active member in the Detroit Federation of Teachers. She started her career as a first grade teacher at Spain Elementary & Middle School in 1997. Upon completion of a Master’s Degree in counseling and the timely retirement of Spain’s counselors, Lakia was able to obtain a counseling position at Spain and continue advocating and building relationships with students, families, and staff while leveraging support from stakeholders in the community in which she loved. Lakia recalls the anxiety of walking the picket line in the strike of 1999 and the excitement of delivering Spain Schools’ ballots in the election of officers to the DFT office, which formerly stood next to Dittrich Furs on Third Avenue. Lakia has always provided support to the DFT at the building level as the Building Representative, Alternate, and Union Committee.

In 2014, Lakia was elected to her first term on the DFT Executive Board. Since then, Lakia has served as both Vice President and Executive Vice President of the DFT. With the onset of the 2023-2025 biennium, Lakia is humbled, privileged and blessed to be elected as the 9th President of the DFT. Professionally, Lakia is honored to represent over 3000 of the world’s best educators and support staff.

In Lakia's family, education and unionism have a long history. Her mother was the first black teacher at St. Anne Catholic School in Southwest Detroit for 7 years (now closed). She ultimately retired as a proud MEA member from Mount Clemens Public Schools after 24 years of teaching both kindergarten and first grade. Lakia’s father, after 40 years of work, retired as a proud Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant employee. Her uncles were Sleeping Car Porters, and she has three UAW proud brothers who worked for each of the Big Three—Ford, Chrysler, and GM—with one becoming a union steward for the Bakery and Confectionery Union at Hostess Cake. Her aunts were educators as well. Currently, Lakia’s sister teaches 1st grade in Maryland, her goddaughter is a second year teacher in Tennessee, while her nephew is a professor in Texas. “The love of learning and teaching runs in the family”, claims Lakia.

A lifelong Detroiter—born, raised, living and working in Detroit, Lakia is an outspoken advocate for social, educational and economic justice. Lakia has been featured on many media outlets. Most notable are her appearances on C-SPAN during the AFL-CIO Raising Wages Summit, AFT “Life Inside Detroit Public Schools”, NBC News Learn, and HBO Real Sports.

Lakia is a Mount Clemens High School alumna. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Science Education, and Oakland University with a Master of Arts in Counseling. She holds Principal Certification from Lamar University, and is currently working toward her doctoral degree in Leadership at the American College of Education.

Lakia, who still qualifies herself as a newlywed, shares her home with her amazing husband Michael and their energetic eight-year-old son Noah.

WHAT'S NEW: Save Our Schools, Support Our Students


Take Action!

Reach out to the DPSCD School Board and let them know  we want them to meet with labor and community leaders by next Tuesday. We need each and every one of our employees. All play a crucial role in supporting our students.

WHAT'S NEW: DFT Election Results

Here are the results of the DFT Election which were announced at the end of the March 2023 General Membership Meeting. 

one (1) vacancy on Executive Board

  • Gavin Buckley 26
  • Stephen Conn 22
  • Rachele Green 39
  • Kwesi Matthews 4
  • Kimberly L. Mitchell 69

Kimberly L. Mitchell was declared the winner in this race. She will be sworn in at the April General Membership meeting.

three (3) positions on the Election Committee

  • Cheryl Constantino 21
  • Hope Gibson 42
  • Theodosia Gulley 21
  • Tamika Merchant 87
  • Jacqueline Robinson 93
  • Queen Watkins 102

The three members who were elected to the Election Committee are Queen Watkins, Jacqueline Robinson and Tamika Merchant. They will be sworn in at the April General Membership meeting.

WHAT'S NEW: Premiere of Rosa Parks Film


The DFT was proud to be a part of this special event: the film premiere at the Detroit Institute of Arts about the life of Rosa Parks.  After the screening AFT National President, Randi Weingarten, was part of a special conversation  moderated by the film’s executive producer Soledad O’Brien with Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, the film’s directors Yoruba Richen and Johanna Hamilton, the book's author, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis and Lonnie McCauley, Rosa Parks’ grandnephew. 

WHAT'S NEW: Take Action at DPSCD School Board Meeting

Arrive early! See you all there!

WHAT'S NEW: DFT Mourns the Loss of Former DAEOE President, Ruby Newbold


The DFT joins the community in expressing our sorrow for the former long-time president of the DAEOE, Ruby Newbold. She served as president of the Detroit Association of Educational Office Employees, Local 4168, affectionately called the “clericals union”. She was a labor activist her entire career, from her start as a payroll clerk with the Detroit Public Schools until her retirement in 2018. During her long career she served in various capacities with AFT Detroit, the Coalition of DPS Unions, AFT Michigan and even with AFT National. Here in Detroit the DFT appreciated the support she lent on the many collaborative initiatives for the membership and the community, such as Nutrition Night, Literacy Camp and First Book. She has left her mark on the legacy of the labor movement not just locally, but statewide and across the country. We send our condolences to her son, Demetrius, and his family.

Here is more about the career  of labor activist, Ruby Newbold, written by AFT National:…