About Us

Arlington Education Center 1969-2018


The existence of Arlington County as a separate entity from Alexandria dates back to 1920, when Alexandria County became Arlington County, but interest in forming an Arlington Retired Teachers Association didn’t develop until the fall of 1971, when five ladies, longtime and recent APS retirees, met for lunch and discussed the formation of such a group. Since Alexandria already had a retiree group, contacting their president to see whom to contact in Richmond was the first step taken, and in January 1972, the same ladies met again and planned for the first meeting of such an organization in Arlington. That spring, March 1972, ten retirees held an informal meeting at St. George’s Episcopal Church and elected officers; since there was no money to mail out notices for the first official meeting, each person present donated two dollars!

The first official meeting was held at Key School on April 12, 1972, and the group immediately became active in working along with the Arlington Education Association to secure for those who retired prior to June 1969 a benefit which had recently been given to active employees/teachers, inclusion in the Arlington Supplementary Retirement Plan. [This feat was accomplished in March 1974.] At the May 24, 1972, meeting, Legislative, Program, and Constitution Committees were established, and by the September 12, 1972, meeting, a bare year after the idea was initiated, there were 68 members, and nine more joined that day. In March 1973, a Constitution and By-Laws were approved, and that June, Arlington and Alexandria groups met to form District H in order to have a voice in the Virginia Retired Teachers Association, of which former Arlington Superintendent Ray Reid had just been elected President.

That was the past – by September 1973, there were 100 members, and ARTA continued to grow, for many years meeting at the Church of the Covenant in Arlington. A celebration there in October 1997 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the association, and its fortieth was celebrated at the 2012 annual spring luncheon held at the Ft. Myer Officers’ Club. Membership plateaued at under 200 during the first 25 years but has grown tremendously in the 21st century, reaching 500 at one point and continuing to hover around that number. Recent changes include separating from Alexandria and District H to form our own District U, a new meeting place at Arlington Community Church, and a new website, plus increasing reliance on electronic communication [email] in addition to a quarterly newsletter. After years of belonging to the Arlington County Scholarship Fund for Teachers and giving dozens of one-year scholarships, ARTA now has two funds for five-year renewable scholarships given through the Arlington Community Foundation to students planning to teach. Membership donations and endowments give us a strong financial position to continue to contribute positively to future educators, in addition to contributing to other groups that benefit current students.