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Elizabeth "Libby" Duncan Koontz, the first black president of the National Education Association, is dead at 69.

A former special-education teacher, Ms. Koontz became president of the nea in 1968. An advocate of "teacher power," she took the helm of the organization as it began to play a more assertive role in politics and labor negotiations.

She left the n.e.a. in 1969 to head the Women's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor.

Ms. Koontz was one of the few Democratic officials in the Administration of President Richard M. Nixon, as well as one of its first high-level black appointees.

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