VOTE CORE MAY 17th!
Thanks to our friends at Labor Beat for filming and sharing. www.laborbeat.org
I was disappointed to open the Tribune and read the opinion piece “My challenge to Karen Lewis.”
I am a math teacher in the Englewood neighborhood, and your readers should know that Lewis and the rest of the Chicago Teachers Union officers have the full support of the vast majority of the teachers and staff who work in the Chicago Public Schools. Our union is active, united and democratic, and I am proud to be a part of it.
I’m proud to have a union president who has the intellect and political skills to battle the mayor.
The teachers, parents and students of Chicago desperately need people like Lewis to lead us as we fight to save our schools and communities.
— Drew Heiserman, teacher, Englewood High School, Chicago As appeared in the Chicago Tribune
This is in response to “My challenge to Karen Lewis” (Perspective, April 26), by Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, a counselor at Jesse Owens Community Academy on the Far South Side. Why is the Chicago Tribune newspaper a venue for proselytizing Saunders-Wolffe’s contention for the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union? Do other unions try to convince the public of their need for a change in leadership, and to whom does a newspaper give such an airing? Why should the public, most of whom do not belong to my union, be involved in our election — unless Saunders-Wolffe and the Coalition to Save Our Union are getting support through publishing their platform and grievances through her advertisement?
The Coalition to Save Our Union got major media play months ago as Debbie Lynch introduced the opposition to the current leadership. Karen Lewis launched her campaign in public recently. Barely a major outlet noticed.
Saunders-Wolffe has the right to opine as a citizen about any issue she wishes. The Tribune publishes what it wants. I call into question why the interests that run the paper have published her appeal but refuse to research the claims of representatives of the Coalition to Save Our Union to give a “fair and balanced” report to its patrons.
Both of my sisters-in-the-union, Lewis and Saunders-Wolffe, will have a more appropriate place to campaign for leadership: among our other union members. Campaigning can be grueling and has been known to be dirty. Does the Chicago Tribune have to contribute to this?
— Kimberly Bowsky, member, Chicago Teachers Union This letter to the editor appeared in the Chicago Tribune
CORE CTU Leadership Slate Includes Strong Chicago Activists and School Leaders. Read the bios of the entire slate below.
Karen Lewis, CTU President
Karen Lewis was elected president of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union on June 11, 2010. A member of CTU since 1988, Mrs. Lewis taught high school chemistry in the Chicago Public Schools for 22 years. She has served the Union as a Delegate, High School Functional Vice-President and a member of the Illinois State Certification Board. She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Chicago Federation of Labor. She believes that students, parents, teachers and community members are educators’ natural allies. Her goal is to truly improve Chicago Public Schools and stand firmly against the privatization of public education. The first National Board Certified Teacher to lead a U.S. labor union; she also serves as executive vice president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and as vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. Karen is a product of Chicago Public Schools, having attended Kozminski Elementary School and Kenwood High School, until accepting early admission at Mount Holyoke College. She later transferred to Dartmouth College, where she earned the distinction of being the only African American woman in the class of 1974. She has a Master’s in Inner City Studies from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s of Fine Arts from Columbia College. During her tenure, Karen has received many awards including the Senator Paul Wellstone Award from Citizen Action Illinois and the A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum Gentle Warrior. Mrs. Lewis comes from a family of educators — her father, mother and husband, John Lewis, who is now retired, were CPS teachers.
Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice President
Teacher on leave from Senn High School
Member since 1998
Offices held: CTU Vice President; Delegate, Senn HS; Associate Delegate, Chicago Vocational HS
Committees served on: IFT Executive Board, IFT Executive Committee, IFT Personnel Committee, Policies Committee, Rules-Elections Committee, High School Steering Committee, Renaissance 2010 Committee (chair)
Other CTU Activities: Convened the Big Bargaining Committee during the 2010 layoff fight and the 2012 contract negotiations, served as the CTU’s representative on the Fact-Finding panel during those negotiations, spoke for the CTU at the Union League Club, Education Writers Association, Michigan Federation Teachers Collective Bargaining Conference, California Federation of Teachers 2013 Convention and other public appearances, represented the CTU in planning meetings with AFT, IFT, CTU and ACTS regarding charter school organizing, led the fight against the closing of Senn High School while a delegate in 2004.
Member of the AFT Program and Policy Committee, AFT Convention Delegate (2010, 2012)
Civic and Political Activities:
Member of Jobs With Justice, Labor Notes, Illinois-PIRG, Grassroots Education Movement, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Teachers For Social Justice, and the Grassroots Collaborative, and the Fair Tax campaign.
I have a BA from Brown University in American History and a Master in Arts and Teaching (MAT) also from Brown University. I live in Rogers Park with my wife and two children, both of whom attend Chicago Public Schools. I am dedicated to the cause of defending public education, and hope to continue using my knowledge and skills to rebuild a powerful and respected union.
Michael Brunson, CTU Recording Secretary
Chicago Teachers Union Member since: 2003
Office Held: Recording Secretary
COMMITTEES SERVED ON: CTU Human Rights, CTU School Taxation and Finance, CTU Budget, Physical Education, Retired Teachers Group, Career and Technical Education, Practical Arts and Vocational Education, IFT Human Rights, IFT Fair Economy Task Force, IFT CTE/STEM Task Force, AFT Human Rights, AFT Safe Communities Task Force
CIVIC and/or POLITICAL ACTIVITES:
Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), PEACE (Parents, Educators, and Clergy for Education), AFT Black Caucus, Far South Side Community Action Council, Public Education Task Force (First Unitarian Church), Social Justice Committee (First Unitarian Church).
I am a parent and an educator. My personal life is driven by a passion for justice, faith in the power of education to liberate the individual, and the necessity of grassroots participatory democracy to inform and direct local and national governance. As educators, we must remember that teaching is essentially a spiritual vocation, an ethical practice, and a labor of love. I am extremely proud and gratified to be part of a current movement for educational justice that has galvanized the nation and provided a model for pushback against the constant attack on educators and the relentless attempts to privatize public education.
Kristine Mayle, CTU Financial Secretary
Special Education teacher on leave from Eberhart Elementary School
Member Since: 2006
Offices Held: Financial Secretary, 2010 to present
CTU Committees: Executive Committee, Executive Board, CTU Contract Negotiations Team, Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC), Board-Union Special Education Joint Committee. Serves on Strategic Bargaining team. Officer liaison for Rules and Elections Committee, District Supervisors, Special Education Committee, Clinicians Committee, Women’s Rights Committee, Sergeants-At-Arms, and PSRP Committee.
Other CTU activities prior to holding office: Served as delegate during the phase-out process of De La Cruz Academy; attended dozens of Ren2010 hearings and spoke in defense of teachers, students and schools. Certificate Union Administration in the Public Sector, University of Illinois.
Illinois Federation of Teachers:
Office held: Vice President, Convention Delegate
Committees: Executive Committee, Executive Board, Special Education Task Force Chair, Next Generation Taskforce Co-Chair
American Federation of Teachers:
Offices held: Convention delegate
Civic and/or Political Activities:
Member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Chicago Federation of Labor Delegate,
B.A. in English/Comparative Literature, DePaul University. M.A. in Special and Elementary Education, DePaul University. I became a union activist when my school was placed on the closing list in 2007 because I realized that without a fight we would have no chance of saving our school. We reached out to parents and community members, other teachers and students and were able to win an extra year to phase out our school. The school closing process taught me the basics of staging a fight back campaign using organizing techniques, working with allies, and member education.
Lois Ashford, O’Keefe School
Chicago Teachers Union Member since: 1994
Offices held: Elementary School delegate for 10 years, Vice President Chicago Teachers Pension Fund
Other CTU activities: As a current Trustee of the 9.4 billion dollar Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, I have helped build the assets of the fund by 200 million dollars since I was elected. I have done this while, at the same time, insisting on racial and gender diversity of the Fund managers who control our collective assets. I have also participated in numerous CTU demonstrations against Renaissance 2010 and the closings and turnarounds of our schools.
CIVIC AND/OR POLITICAL ACTIVITIES:
Worked to help stop the turnaround, consolidation, phase-out, and closing of school due to Renaissance 2010. Helped to file EEOC complaint against CPS due to the discrimination against Black teachers. Organized against the disenfranchisement of students in under-funded school communities.
As a displaced teacher through the turnaround process twice, I strongly believe in Union activism. Every working person deserves the respect and rights those before us have fought for and earned. CPS educators work tirelessly for their students and should have working conditions that help foster a positive working environment for teachers and positive learning environment for students.
Bernie Eshoo, Steinmetz HS
I have been an active CTU school delegate for over 25 years at two large high schools (Lincoln Park and Steinmetz). I have served as Functional VP, Scholarship Committee Chair, Social Committee, High School Steering, Rules & Elections as well as the chair of the school’s PPC committee. I have the vigor and dedication to continue to work to enforce our contract. I would very much welcome the opportunity to continue our fight to protect public education.
Brian Halberg, Kelly HS
Worked on creating and implementing member engagement and activism in both the lead up to and during the 2012 strike for the over 190 CTU members at Kelly. Worked to engage faculty and community as a member of the Kelly Local School Council. Currently serving as delegate and co-chair of an active and engaged PPLC. Currently working to help develop and promote Southwest Area discussion group of union members.
Robert C. Maslanka (Curt), Lane Tech HS
Robert C. Maslanka (Curt) has taught English at Lane Tech since 1998 where he also started and coached Lane’s policy debate team for nine years. He has been an active member of CTU’s rules and elections committee as well as the high school steering committee. During the 2012 strike, he served as a strike captain.
Al Ramirez, Ruiz School
Al Ramirez- Is a 19 year veteran teacher of the Chicago Public Schools. Currently he is teaching at Irma C. Ruiz elementary school in the Pilsen neighborhood. He is the Chair of the Trustees of the Chicago Teachers Union and sits on its Executive Board. In addition to his family life, he enjoys organizing educators and the community around educational issues and policies affecting Chicago’s students.
Tammie Vinson, R. Emmet School
I have been the Union delegate for Robert Emmet Elementary in the Austin area for just over a year. I have been a member of CTU since 2004. After being displaced when Bethune was turned around, I became more active and aware of changes in educational policies. At the CORE convention, I met people whose ideas and concerns were just like mine. I have since also become active in the Black Caucus of CTU, the Education Committee of the NAACP and EEE (Empowerment through Education and Exposure).
I have worked with CTU organizing by walking door to door to invite the community out to local forums, phone banking to invite CTU member out to local events. I have handed out flyers multiple times to spread the word about policies that are impacting our schools and students. I have attended numerous meeting, hearing and events related to education. These things were done in an effort to share information about what really going on in our schools and education policies.
I do not believe that others can solve your problems. I have and will continue to actively participate in any effort to improve the conditions of the students I work with daily and in this city. Teaching has always been an honorable profession and I believe we must fight for rights we have earned and deserve. I strongly believe in the power of unity and will work diligently to make an impact in my school, community and the union.
AREA A VICE PRESIDENT
Sue Garza, Jane Addams School
I have been an active member in CTU since 1996. Our family home is always open to Union meetings, including District meetings in our yard during warm weather. Our struggle is about family, and quality education. During the strike I visited each school in my assigned turf, every day. Updates and news of the day was conveyed to our striking members via a bull horn, from the roof of the “STRIKE MOBILE”. Lake Calumet CTU member participation in our Strike was near 100%. I led turnout efforts and the coordination within my District as a District Supervisor for CTU. My father Edward Sadlowski, a retired Steelworkers Union leader, instilled in me the importance of being a union member and standing up and fighting back. I have been a CTU delegate at my school for the past 2 years. I am deeply committed to learning more skills as a trade unionist and to remaining active within our Union, while continually empowering our members. I would be honored to serve our Union as an Area Vice President.
AREA B VICE PRESIDENT
Patricia Boughton, Harlan HS
As delegate of Harlan HS I increased the membership of the Union at the school. We now have 99% membership. I have worked to empower my members by encouraging them to stand up for their rights. As a result, members have expressed interest in participating more in Union activities and some have attended protest rallies, and made calls to their state and city representatives. My members have actively participated in Union rallies. I served as District Supervisor for the Far South Network. During my tenure I have gotten to know all of my delegates and I have worked with them to give assistance in organizing their buildings, starting their PPC’s, advising them on problems they have encountered, and generally encouraging them and keeping them motivated to continue to work and fight for their members’ rights. I have attended and participated in training classes, rallies, the Teacher in the Pulpit program. I also attended the Labor Notes meeting; the Washington DC Protest rally; I have participated in Lobby Days in Springfield.
During the strike I visited all of my schools daily to encourage the delegates and their members to stay on the line. All of our pickets were manned daily. I helped our delegates keep their members energized and motivated. I continue to work closely with the Far South delegates, answering questions that I can and referring them to the proper sources when I can’t answer them. Most of the Far South schools reported either having or close to having working PPC’s. I filed a grievance that resulted in CPS directing all of its principals to hold PPLC elections in their buildings. What I am most proud of is the growth that I have seen in my members and the delegates under President Lewis’ leadership; I like to think that my activities played a small role in that.
AREA C VICE PRESIDENT
Jim Cavallero, Chicago Academy HS
Jim is in his 22nd year teaching. He is the delegate at Chicago Academy H.S. and has held the position since 2004. He ensured that his school followed the bargaining agreement when it opened in the fall of 2004 and continues contract enforcement at his school. Jim serves as a CTU District Supervisor, a vital communication link between the union and school delegates, for the North-Northwest High School Area, 2010 – present. He has helped organize and facilitate member meetings around the city. Jim is the current chair of the CTU Special Education Committee and has served in this capacity since 2010. The special education committee helped to generate contract items related to special education in the new contract. Jim also currently serves on the Joint CTU-BOE Workload and Special Education Committee meeting monthly to solve issues in special education and develop a special education workload plan. Jim was a member of the “Big Bargaining” team in 2011-2012 and presented special education contract proposals to the BOE bargaining team. He also served as a strike coordinator during the historic and successful CTU strike of September 2012. Jim believes that all students deserve an equitable and quality public education. He is an advocate for students with special needs and their teachers. He continues to be an activist for a publicly funded public school system in Chicago.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Carrene Beverly-Bass, Dvorak Elementary
I am and have been a very active member of the CTU, before and after my election as a delegate. As a teacher mentor, 20-year LSC member, PPC, PPLC member, I have championed for the rights of our sisters and brothers of CTU who perform the most important work in this world. We touch the future in the students that we serve. We deserve nothing less than great working and learning conditions in our schools. I enjoy working with teachers and other school personnel in my role as a delegate as well as working with the delegates as a District Supervisor. I feel I have been a valuable resource especially in this new era of chaos at 125 S. Clark. I would love to expand my role and influence of supporting CTU members, which results in helping our students. My passion for the cause is even more evident in the stand I took in standing up for CTU members, parents, students and our communities by being arrested in Nov. 1- protesting this terrible attack on public education. I am committed to do even more to preserve public education and democracy.
Kimberly Bowsky, Seward Academy
As a 20-year veteran of the Chicago Public Schools, my knowledge of how to use contractual and professional issues has grown the more contact I have with the public and fellow teachers across the district. With this knowledge, I have organized with fellow CTU members to politically activate my fellow teachers and to access other neighborhood schools. I’ve used my office as a current Elementary Functional Vice President to spread information to others to help create a more rank-and-file-centered approach to unionism. It is my mission to spread this message of empowerment to as many education workers as possible, because in unity, action and knowledge there is strength.
Students are at the center of everything that guides our actions. During my term, I have represented us on different media outlets and participated in outreach toward community groups that wanted to hear from a teacher’s perspective on the conditions befalling our children. I have rallied, passed out flyers, and attended sessions on the fight for public-school education. I have marched on union issues and related concerns. En todos los vecinos de Chicago, luche para el interes de educacion publica con mucho gusto e esfuerzo trabajador. I am asking you to vote for CORE and for me, that I may be allowed to continue that work.
Finola Burrell, Bouchet Elementary
I have been a school delegate, district supervisor, on the big bargaining team. I organized members and brought a busload to several rallies including the one at the Auditorium Theater. I attended several rallies in Springfield and many neighborhood meetings, workshops, and educational summits, as well as the Labor Notes conference.
Sarah Chambers, Saucedo Academy
Sarah Chambers is an active member of the CTU Executive Board, House of Delegates, Special Education Committee, her Local School Council, and chairs the CTU Social Committee. On the bargaining team, she fought for a contract that protects our rights and empowers all members. She was a strike leader at her large elementary school and achieved nearly 100% participation through the 7th day. Sarah Chambers is ready to be a strong voice for the elementary and special education teachers to continue to organize a fighting union.
Alexandra Gonzalez Guevara, Telpochcalli School
As the former southwest organizer for the CTU, I have promoted our CTU membership to become more educated around the issues that impact our district and public education. I have also worked collaboratively with the CTU leadership and members to come with a variety of opportunities for participation and collaboration amongst colleagues, parents, students and community allies. I also have worked towards building leadership skills amongst members so our efforts in leading educational policy can be sustained.
Michelle Gunderson, Nettelhorst Elementary
The most important contribution I give our union is being fully present in my advocacy and support. I speak clearly, listen well, and give our union work the best of my abilities.
Support of Union on city-wide level:
- Chairperson of Early Childhood Committee
- Active member of the CTU social media team
- Member of CTU communications committee
- Participated in Teacher in the Pulpit program
- Musical Leadership at Auditorium Rally
- Attend most city-wide rallies – of special importance is the City Hall Sit-In.
Support of Union on national level:
- Member of Save our Schools (advocate for social justice unionism through this group) Attended national convention in Washington, DC.
- Guest speaker on At the Chalkface Radio
Support of Union on school level:
- Picket captain at Nettelhorst during strike
- Member of Nettelhorst contract committee
- Lead and organized parent/teacher book group on “Schools Chicago Students Deserve”
- Helped organize teach-in at Cultural Center downtown
- Helped organize and spoke at Parent Night at Nettelhorst which Karen Lewis attended
Paul Hartman, George Armstrong Elementary
I was the delegate at my last school, Shields Elementary, for two years. During that time, I organized my staff to get the community more involved with the school and educated the staff on the then current political context of our profession and the ways it impacted our school. I also mobilized the staff in how to choose an effective LSC. In my last year teaching at Shields, the Board decided to split our large school (nearly 2,000 kids) into two schools. I helped lead the organizing efforts of our staff, along with parents and other community stakeholders that helped ensure the seamless transfer of teaching and staff positions into the new schools. My leadership also prepared our school’s union members to be prepared for the strike.
Garth Liebhaber, Hammond Elementary
Some of the things I have done to help build the strength and power of the Chicago Teachers Union:
- Big Bargaining Team, presented on issues relevant to Article 5, Elementary, attended majority of meetings, relayed information to members at school, soliciting feedback.
- Member Communication, via email list and face to face, to both inform members of issues as well as to solicit feedback. Stayed in touch with members at my school as well as when they moved on. Also spoke with parents and other members of school communities as opportunities arose.
- Train leafleting, seems like so long ago, but did lead an active train station leafleting campaign for several months, with positive response.
- Hammond Strike Committee, recruited and developed leadership skills amongst several teachers who took over organizing day to day strike activities at our school.
- School Elections, took charge of elections at our school, to make sure they happened successfully.
- Personally assist members at our school and elsewhere to answer questions and get them in contact with the union resources they require. This includes grievance issues.
- PPC, laid the ground work to recruit active members and drive our PPC.
These are some of the things that come to mind in terms of how I have helped to build our union. Reflecting back, I think my greatest strengths have been my follow-through with helping members and also keeping them informed. A point of pride has been serving on the Big Bargaining Team.
I am a citywide certified school nurse that primarily works on the North Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. I am also a citywide nurse delegate. I have been actively involved in the union, and most recently with school closings. I have helped to organize an outreach campaign at different “L” stops on the South and West sides. I also have worked intimately with my schools affected by the school closings to help them organize outreach efforts. I have also worked with nurses (and other clinicians) around critical public health issues that affect our practice. I am a member of the clinician’s PPC Committee, the Clinician’s Steering Committee, and the joint CPS/CTU Workload Committee. This is an important time in our union where public works and employees are under constant attack and I am proud to be involved in the great efforts that have been put forth to preserve public education.
Patty Mitchell, Twain Elementary
I have held the school delegate position at two schools. Hartigan (now closed) and Twain. I have always understood my role as delegate to be one of a serious nature and a life-line of importance. I realize that I am the messenger between my staff and our union. For this reason, I have always made information and myself available to my school staff.
- The Friday after every HOD meeting I type an information sheet highlighting important facts, and placed it in all staff members’ mailboxes.
- Four times a year I hold union meetings, for the purposes of delivering information and to address any questions and/or concerns of the staff.
- Two times a year I show my appreciation to the staff by providing a breakfast treat.
- I use my monthly preparation period to update my Union board, address issues in the PPC box, and check in on new staff members.
While serving as delegate at Hartigan School, I had a 98% staff sign up for PAC, more than any other school during that time (2001-2002). During our recent strike, I enrolled seven new members and had 100% attendance everyday on the picket line.
I understand the importance of communication, dedication, attendance, and membership. I would appreciate the opportunity to be a face and a voice in helping shape our Union’s focus, strength and strategies on a continuous basis.
Maria T. Moreno, Citywide
As a citywide delegate and speech-language pathologist at Sawyer Elementary School, I joined with teachers, parents and community members in the fight to push back against steps that were taken to limit second language learners’ full access to the state mandated transitional bilingual program.
As the teacher delegate at Nightingale Elementary School, I made sure members were informed of the organizing efforts of the union leadership. I explained to them in words and through my own actions how participating in these efforts helps build the strength of our union and brings us together with other people who are also fighting to defend public education and the profession of teaching.
As the district supervisor for Area 11, now known as Midway Network I worked with the union’s organizing department, teachers, parents and community members in the fight to oppose the counter productive and abusive practices of Area 11 CAO Dr. Ortega. Some of these practices included threats to lower teachers’ evaluation rating for taking too many sick days, a memo that was sent to principals directing them to E3 (process to fire) two teachers at each school and the KLT, an Area 11 mandated test that had numerous gross flaws, was administered every 5 weeks and required teachers to plan their instruction based on the data.
I participated in last summer’s CTU organizing internship that prepared us with training and support to reach out to our members, parents and the community in the fight that was upon us in the contract negotiations. We walked throughout the city and knocked on doors organizing meetings in homes and various community locations.
As a Midway strike coordinator during the historic 2012 CTU strike, I supported teacher delegate strike captains as they organized their members to walk the picket lines and reached out to the parents and the community.
Margo Theus Murray, Bontemps Elementary
I am a delegate and District Supervisor. I have been involved with the school closing fight since 2009. I have tried to prevent school closings and I have tried to work for preventing school closings. I work on several committees within the union, including Teacher Evaluation, Testing, and Special Education.
Cielo Munoz, Penn Elementary
I am my school’s delegate and current Elementary Functional Vice President Executive Board member. I participated in the bargaining team. I organized parents and teachers at Penn to stand against KIPP charter school. We were able to have KIPP move their primary grades out of Penn.
Moselean Parker, McKay Elementary
I feel one major thing that I have done to build CTU’s strength is when my school’s delegate could not make the House meetings because she was in school; I stepped up and came to every meeting for one year. I continued to attend the House of Delegates meetings each month and I became a sergeant at arms. I conducted meetings at my school to share all information that I received from each House of Delegates meeting. I also made sure that McKay’s teachers were well represented at the May’s rally. I had over 22 teachers who boarded the bus for this rally, including a member who had worked for the board for over 36 years and had never participated in CTU activities. The rally in May was the first time she participated in anything with the union and she said it was because I believed in the union so she started to believe in the union too. I also made countless trips to Merchandise Mart to pick up union items for co-workers. I was also able to get a member to vote for the strike even though she had never voted in any election previously. I was a team captain during the strike and I support my school’s delegate 100%. Lastly, I respect my union and always speak positively about CTU.
Nate Rasmussen, Beasley Elementary
- member of CTU social committee since 8/11.
- organized Contract Action Team at Mcpherson elementary school 9/11.
- organized wear red Friday’s at McPherson School 9/11.
- leader on strike committee at Beasley elementary 8/12
- PPC member 10/12 at Beasley Elementary
- Member of Teachers for Social Justice
- Tirelessly promoting the CTU online, through social media, flyering, rallies, word of mouth, fundraising, and sale of merchandise etc.
HIGH SCHOOL FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Xian (Sean) Barrett, Gage Park HS
I’ve been generally recognized as the citywide leader in sustained student organizing. I was a main strategist for our IFT/AFT delegations. I was a main grassroots leader for media outreach during the strike. As CTU political director, I followed the philosophy of member-driven organizing taking precedent over electoral politics that led to strong success in both the electoral and legislative arenas. I conceived and co-wrote the initial legislation that has become AFT´s main anti-testing action. I have spoken in 12 cities on the CTU strike and its lessons for other locals and our national movement. I have co-written policy papers on key progressive education topics and the fight back against neo-liberal privatization of the public education system. I do this ¨for the kids¨.
W. Terrell Burgess, Westinghouse HS
Mr. W. Terrell Burgess appreciates the opportunity to teach at George Westinghouse College Prep High School. He is a product of the West Garfield Park Community and a graduate of Chicago Public Schools (Goldblatt Elementary and Lane Tech High School). Terrell brings a wealth of experience to the Garfield Park Community having taught mathematics at Kenwood Academy and Lane Tech College Prep in addition to sponsoring many extracurricular activities. Terrell is the delegate at Westinghouse as well as a member the Executive Board of the Chicago Teachers Union. As a union member, Terrell has assisted in organizing Black educators around school closings in minority neighborhoods. He has also arranged for elected officials to connect with union members. Terrell is a Golden Apple Scholar, class of 1995, and continues to participate in numerous programs sponsored by the Golden Apple Foundation. Terrell is married to Michelle L. Burgess and they have three children: William II, Madisyn and Michael.
Valerie Collins, Simeon HS
Valerie Collins has been a high school math teacher for the past 17 years and is currently teaching at Simeon Career Academy where she is the associate delegate and member of the PPC and the newly formed PPLC. She has taught at a variety of schools including Robeson, Julian, Lakeview, and Wendell Phillips High School. Since 2010, Valerie has been a High School Functional Vice-president and member of the Executive Board for the CTU. She is a member of the High school steering committee, Teacher evaluation committee, and the PPC for the Chicago Teachers Union. In 2012, Valerie was a member of the Contract negotiation team and during the Teacher’s strike created a network of the elementary school delegates that were in proximity of Simeon. She also has attended and spoken at two public budget hearings on the topic of the CPS budget and school usage.
David Hernandez, Social Justice HS
I have been a very active CTU member, who attends meetings and actions regularly. Over the past three years, I have served as a union delegate, an AFT/IFT delegate, and, most recently, as a strike captain for the LVLHS campus. My knowledge, skills, and experience would make me an ideal person for this position.
Jennifer Johnson, Lincoln Park HS
Jennifer (Jen) Johnson is in her 10th year of teaching in Chicago Public Schools at Lincoln Park High School. She is an alumna of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy where she pushed her advisors for exposure to and support in urban education. She has become a Chicago Teachers Union activist in her roles as school delegate and citywide Area Vice President. Jen served as an IFT and AFT convention delegate and has been repeatedly elected to her school’s PPC. In her role as delegate for the last 7 years, Jen has represented and organized her peers and lead school wide meetings. As Area Vice President for the last 3 years, she supervised CTU District Supervisors (who coordinate and communicate monthly with CTU delegates) on the North and West sides of the city and worked with the leadership, Organizing Department and community allies to coordinate activities, materials and actions during the September 2012 CTU strike. Jen also actively participate on the CTU Bargaining Team during contract negotiations from 2011 to 2012 prior to the settlement of the fall 2012 strike. As an Area Vice President, Jen also represents members on the CTU Executive Board advising the CTU officers and CTU House of Delegates.
Jen strongly believes in fighting for a public education system in Chicago that provides students with rich and well-rounded curriculum, reasonable class size, and technology resources. She hopes to contribute to changing the national dialogue from blaming teachers to finding ways to connect teachers to quality professional development. She believes history education should not only be about teaching tested reading skills, but about helping students become empowered and critical citizens armed with self-knowledge and hope.
Timothy Meegan, Roosevelt HS
- Associate delegate, Member of the PPC and PPLC at RHS
- National Board Certified Teacher and facilitator for CTU’s NTL program
- Created/circulated 2 petitions- to save our custodians and to defeat the transformation School Improvement Grant
- Recruited students for the Education Summit @ Marshall HS 12/8/12
- Participated in Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools (CSOSOS)
- Member of Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC)
- Coordinated with Gear UP and APNC to pack the LSC meeting to resolve class size issues/classes taught by day to day subs
- Invited Wendy Katten of Raise Your Hand to attend our union meeting at Roosevelt to solicit support
- Spoke at local church and met with Ald. Dick Mell during the strike
- Spoke at the O’Hare network meeting on school privatization
- Co-wrote the 3/13 HOD resolution opposing school actions
- Serve on two CTU committees- HS steering and Discipline, Truancy, and Safety
TEACHER ASSISTANTS FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Gloria E. Higgins, Hearst Elementary
I am a Citywide TA delegate and Executive Board member. I have volunteered on committees, taking information to staff members citywide on why they need this union, recruiting new and old members for membership and to join the PAC. I have worked to increase Para’s visibility and importance to the union and attended trainings to become more knowledgeable about the work of unions.
Also, I have served as AFT and IFT delegate, an active participant in the Chicago Teacher’s Union Professional Problems Committee, a National Trainer in Beginning Reading Instruction and Managing Student Behavior for Support Staff. I was active in strike activities, while also participating on the Big Bargaining Team.
Lashawn Wallace, Taft HS
I have worked and helped organize the strike. I am a member of the House of Delegates, and have previously served on the Executive Board. Also, I am a District Supervisor and participated in CTU’s summer organizing project.
SCHOOL CLERKS FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Jose Jimenez, Wells HS
I have served as a PSRP Delegate and District Supervisor for over 10 years. Served as an AFT /IFT delegate. Served in the PSRP contract committee and also in Union High School Steering committee. I work at CTU as a part-time grievance writer. I was a strike captain and district supervisor, which was one of the best rewarding and proudest times as a CTU member.
SCHOOL COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE, PARENT-BILINGUAL,
COMMUNITY RELATIONS FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Eileen Lynch, Prosser HS
I have served as a Functional VP on the Executive Board for the past two years and have found it to be fascinating and quite rewarding. Participating in the strike was just an amazing experience and the solidarity was really awesome. I feel that I was a part of history and a life experience. Given the opportunity, I will continue to work hard for our Union. I am the first PSRP Union Rep. at our school since I started at Prosser 18 years ago and am proud to be here for our members.
LIBRARY, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, STUDENT SPEC. SERVICES ADV. /NEEDS
PROGRAM, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, AND HEAD START ASSISTANTS
FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Yvonne Heard, Hyde Park HS
School delegate, organized with CTU in the summer; Organized with AFT 2009-2010, Houston, TX.
VISION SCREENING/AUDIOMETRIC TECH, SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST, ASST., and PRAC. /HEALTH SERVICES NURSE FUNCTIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Gloria Prince, Citywide
Collectively stood in solidarity to remove a manager (and WON) who wrongfully laid off eight technicians.