Meet your #COREClassOf2022 candidates for Area Vice President! Read their bios below to learn why they're the best people for the job. Share online and with your colleagues why you're supporting these candidates.
My name is Tamica Berry. I am currently a special education teacher at Oscar DePriest Elementary School. I have spent my entire 29 year career as a special education teacher serving students with special needs. I served as delegate in one school for 15 years, leading teachers and schools in several strikes, walk-ins, informational pickets, and parent communication. I am a product of Chicago Public Schools, always advocating for myself and others as a student. As a teacher, I am a strong advocate for my students and have always fought to keep their learning experiences specific to their individual needs. It was a natural move for me to go into fighting for my coworkers. As I assessed that our school had a hostile environment, I began to speak out, challenging things that were unfair for teachers and staff.
Seeing my advocacy for my students, others encouraged me to become more involved in CTU. I became an associate delegate. As a result of my curiosity, constant query and outspoken manner, I was elected delegate and served in that position for 15 years, never losing a grievance. Throughout my tenure, I was able to encourage teachers to know their rights, ask questions and to get involved in CTU. This resulted in teachers becoming more active, outspoken, unafraid to question administration, and organized. This collective strength made the workplace to a better, more positive space.
In 2018, I transferred to another school and was asked to serve as a District Organizer. In that role, I stayed in regular communication with and helped 18 delegates organize their schools and teaching them how to work with their parents and communities, building relationships along the way. Meanwhile, the members at my school elected me to the position of delegate. I lead the teachers in creating and working on the PPCs, PPLCs and also encouraged teachers to get involved in the LSCs.
As we lose many students of color each year, we must fight against the racial and economic injustices that have caused this mass exodus from Chicago. We must fight for proper school funding and affordable housing and against widespread gentrification of black and brown neighborhoods in Chicago. We must fight for affordable housing for our students in their own gentrified communities. I have worked and fought in low income communities my entire career and am highly qualified to fight as a member of the executive board of the Chicago Teachers Union.
As Area Vice President, I will continue the work of collaborating with district organizers in my area. I will lead and support district organizers, passing along my knowledge of organizing and helping schools and delegates work for their teachers and students, making our working conditions better learning conditions. I will teach district organizers how to go outside the walls of their building and to get involved in their communities, building relationships. I will sit on the Executive Board, representing the voices of these teachers, delegates, district organizers and their communities’ needs, such as their building conditions, racial equality, affordable housing, and economic equality.
Andrew Chenoharais a CPS kindergarten teacher, school delegate, and District Organizer. He has taught kindergarten and first-grade on the South Side over the past six years, both at Burke Elementary in Washington Park and Gillespie Elementary in West Chesterfield. Andrew began as a delegate and strike captain during the 2019 Strike, and subsequently served and organized the PPC, Contract Action Team, and Safety Committee at his school. He is an active member of the Leadership Collective of Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ). Andrew graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, an MAT from the University of Chicago, and is currently a PhD student in UIC’s Department of Educational Policy Studies. His research interests focus on austerity urbanism & municipal debt, racial capitalism, neoliberal education policy, and critical childhood studies.
As a potential Area Vice President for the South Side, Andrew’s vision of organizing is based on recognizing the unique histories, conditions, and strengths that South Side teachers and school communities bring to the CTU and to the ongoing struggles for racial, economic, and educational justice. Many teachers – especially veteran Black educators – have spent their careers serving and building deep relationships with communities on the South Side of our city, making it a center of deep institutional and pedagogical knowledge and site for organizing. Despite racist disinvestment and state abandonment – experienced through school closures and consolidations, the push-out of veteran Black teachers, and the disproportionate impact of student-based budgeting on working conditions and schools, the South Side remains. As an AVP, Andrew’s vision is to strengthen multiracial and intergenerational solidarities across school buildings, address on-the-ground working/learning conditions, and amplify experiences and voices from our diverse communities on the Executive Board.
Andrew lives with his partner and two cats in Hyde Park. His partner, Julie, is a CPS special education teacher at Piccolo Elementary in Humboldt Park.
In 2015, I stated that I am one hundred percent committed to doing what is best for CORE and CTU. That has not changed. As a member of the 2019 Bargaining Team, I attended every bargaining session and all marches. I filled in for our school delegate to lead meetings in her absence. I also ensured all pertinent information from our union was disseminated to union members at McKay School.
In the last year I have worked the phone banks to keep our members up to date on the false and egregious dialogue spoken by CPS and Mayor Lightfoot, particularly when it came to discussions about Covid-19 and our safety. Additionally, in the past three years I supported and walked with our charter brothers and sisters during their strikes.
Currently, I am the delegate for McKay school and hold regular union and PPC meetings, I’m also a member of the executive board and I also volunteer as a Sergeant at Arms at the House of Delegate meetings each month.
In closing, I want to say that the last year has been hard for everyone. We could never have imagined the depths and sacrifices our members would have to make and endure. Because of this I have been reenergized to stand for what is right and fight back against the madness, blatant lies, and the disrespect our CORE, our CTU officers and our members have experienced. I want to be an Area Vice President because I know that we need to keep CTU strong. The organizing model from CORE helps members build power at the worksite, and this is work I want CORE to continue.