CTA & You

2019 Election of CTA Officers: Candidate Statements

Below are campaign statements of candidates for CTA officers in the March 2019 State Council elections. The statements are unedited and limited to 400 words. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the candidates and not necessarily those of CTA and NEA.

Candidate for CTA President
Toby Boyd
Member, Elk Grove Education Association; CTA Board of Directors member.

I believe integrity is essential. Integrity requires that our association follow our established rules and that we conduct our business with transparency. We are a member-run organization with policies that guide our decisions, by-laws that ensure practices are consistent, and an election process that ensures individual member voices are heard. These core tenets are the foundation of our organization. I want to safeguard these tenets so that CTA continues to be the organization that people look to and trust.

Public Education is under attack from outside forces who do not have the best interests of students at heart. Now, more than ever, it’s important for educators who are the experts in our field to unify our professional voices. We must work collectively and inclusively to maintain high standards within our organization and profession for the betterment of all our students.

We must ensure that we look at our profession through our lenses of Equity and Social Justice while seeking a dedicated funding source that provides educators and our students with adequate resources. ALL our voices and viewpoints are needed in order to steer this organization, fight for our student’s educational needs, and provide them a quality education that will support them in being productive citizens.

I am the leader who will serve with integrity, include ALL voices, consider ALL ideas and bring people together to forge the path forward in the difficult times ahead.

Please support my candidacy to become your next president of the California Teachers Association.

I will be that Voice for All of Us!

Candidate for CTA President
Theresa Montaño
Member, California Faculty Association, CSU Northridge; current CTA vice president.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Vice President. In meeting many of you these past four years, I have learned that our students ages may vary, but their future depends on what happens in our classrooms.

As we approach this election, post-Janus, billionaires continue to attack public education. The need for a strong, visionary and unifying CTA leadership — one that listens to, respects, and encourages diverse voices and opinions within our organization — is greater than ever! That’s why I am running for President, not as an individual, but as part of the Building Power Together team. A team committed to providing the inclusive, pro-active, and visionary leadership needed to address the many challenges facing us — low salaries, inadequate working and learning conditions, growing privatization, etc.

Red State teacher rebellions have demonstrated that with parents, students, and other school employees, only the collective action of our members, not just elected leaders and staff, can build the necessary power to win sustainable and adequate state funding for public education and combat corporate school “reform.” It is that collective unified vision that unites Building Power Together. Placing member power at the center, BPT (David, Leslie and I) is committed to a comprehensive platform. The platform: Responsive Leadership, Strong Locals, Improved Classroom Conditions and Strong, Sustainable Community Alliances for Racial and Social Justice was developed with many of you, it is a universal platform representing CTA’s diversity.

For me, the BPT platform represents almost forty years of advocacy and organizing for public education, both as a K-12 and higher education teacher.

Beginning as a paraeducator, then twelve years as a Social Studies teacher, I served on UTLA’s Board and CTA State Council. Later, as UTLA’s first Professional Development Specialist, we established the Helen Bernstein Professional Development Center, where UTLA hosted teacher-led professional development. Today, as a college professor, I believe that professional development and social justice issues must be married to the need for decent salaries and working conditions. As VP, I turned that belief into action, working on cross-union, cross-­constituent projects/grants for Dream Centers, music in school, after school and teacher pipeline programs.

Building Power Together, has experience and vision, but only collectively can we build a strong, transparent, united, pro-active, democratic CTA. BPT will work hard to win your trust and confidence, hoping to ultimately earn your vote—so that we can continue to build power together.

Candidate for CTA Vice President
Kim Lawrence
Member, Moreland Teachers Association; CTA State Council delegate; Santa Clara Service Center Council chair.

My name is Kim Lawrence. I am running for Vice President of CTA. CTA wins! What does that mean? In statewide politics, CTA wins. In court case after court case, CTA wins. In statewide political contests candidates seek out CTA’s endorsement and support because CTA wins. CTA wins because of its representative democratic structure, which places its members first, always. Our members’ representatives, in the open, make all of CTA’s policies. Some want to change CTA’s structure, ending officers’ term limits and, therefore, removing one of our greatest values, that rank-and-file members are in charge. This kind of power grab will not happen under my watch. Under OUR watch, CTA wins, our members win.

I’m Kim Lawrence, a 32 year veteran of the classroom. My career began in a school with an extremely high poverty rate and a transiency rate of over 50% a year. My student advocacy work began immediately, becoming the voice for my students and their parents when they were denied services and treated unfairly due to their inability to access the system.

Upon relocating to my current school, I found that along with my passion for teaching, I found a passion for my union. During my years in local leadership, both at the bargaining table and as local president for 11 years, I was able to build a strong relationship with my members and district administration. I worked alongside my administrators to oppose a charter petition from a poorly planned and discriminatory charter school. Speaking before the State Board of Education and listening to their biased comments in favor of ALL charters, I realized that my passions extended to issues that affect the broader community. I also learned that I can, indeed, speak truth to power.

My experience as a teacher and local leader make me fully qualified to be your CTA Vice President. I am a strong advocate for our students and our members. I will continue to fight for not only what is right for the students of California but also what is right for our organization. CTA is an organization that must be run by people who uphold our mission and values above all else. A leader who will listen to all members and will keep at the forefront what is good for the whole, so that we can still say that CTA WINS! I am Kim Lawrence and I am that leader.

Candidate for CTA Vice President
David B. Goldberg
Member, United Teachers Los Angeles; current CTA secretary-treasurer.

It has been one of the biggest honors of my life to serve as your Secretary Treasurer these last four years. I have learned so much from you as I traveled all corners of California. The love for our students and for each other that guides so much of our work together always inspires me. As the dust settles after the last election, it is clear that we have proven our ability to win over voters at the ballot box once again. Now it is up to us to continue to win over our colleagues to becoming active members in our union. It is at our schools and worksites, after all, where our real power lies. It is the shared commitment to building collective power that brought together the Building Power Together Team. Theresa Montano (candidate for President), Leslie Littman (candidate for Secretary Treasurer), and myself (candidate for Vice-President) have each committed to a platform that puts our belief in member power at the center of our work.

Over the last 4 years as your CTA Secretary Treasurer I have committed myself to using our resources to build on our collective power. Aligning our budget with the priorities that council laid out in our Strategic Plan was the first step. Working with the budget committee to establish the Membership Engagement Grants as a new source of funding for local organizing helped us put our money where our mouth was. Talking to member leaders, especially those in small and rural chapters that the grant was geared towards serving, about the deeper engagement the grant has meant for them, is what motivated me to increase the funding available to $660,000 for this year even as we were looking at a shrinking budget.

The planks of our platform, Responsive Leadership, Strong Locals, Fighting for Improved Classroom Conditions, and Building Strong Community Alliances for Economic and Racial Justice was developed collectively with many of you from all parts of the state; from the smallest chapters to our largest urbans. It was also shaped by the examples set last spring by educators across this nation who believed in themselves as catalysts for creating the changes needed in education. By running on a platform we are making a pact with you, and each other, that no matter whatever comes our way as leaders of CTA, we will continue to retain our focus on our collective power.

Candidate for CTA Secretary-Treasurer
Leslie Littman
Member, Hart District Teachers Association; CTA Board of Directors member.

I began teaching social studies in 1994 at Hart High, in Santa Clarita, a conservative suburb near Six Flags Magic Mountain. In the twenty-five years since, I’ve seen how the relentless efforts to privatize and defund public education have made our work much more challenging. In a world where the opposition is tireless and seems to have unlimited resources, we have had to constantly fight attacks on our public schools, our rights, our unions, and thus our students.

To win these battles, it takes strategic collective action. I’ve seen its power while serving in various leadership roles within the union, including as President of the Hart District TA, CTA ABC Committee member, Chair of both the Credentials and Professional Development and Elections Committees, and currently as the CTA Director for District I. Today, we are seeing its strength with the Wear Red for Ed Campaign, the walkouts last spring in Red States, and the powerful actions taken by chapters in California this year.

I’ve also learned that it takes an organizational structure with resources to build upon past victories and set up new ones. Leadership positions at the local, state, and national level have given me the experience, skills and knowledge to have both the big picture mentality and small detail focus necessary to maintain the financial security of our organization as the next CTA Secretary-Treasurer.

We are at a pivotal moment in public education. I believe we need to continue to build a stronger, member empowered CTA and I am committed to doing that alongside David and Theresa as part of the Building Power Together Team. Collectively, we have a vision for CTA that focuses on organizing, advocacy, and member engagement. Our platform starts with a commitment to be responsive leaders, because power doesn’t rest with the leadership, it rests with the membership. It builds with strong locals, working with members, leaders, and staff to empower locals, support new leaders, and engage members. It focuses on the need to fight for improved classroom conditions and build strong community alliances for racial and social justice. We believe that the ideas outlined in the platform are universal and we’ve worked hard to bring in voices from all parts of the state to build it. But we need your help, your voice, and your vote to help make it a reality. Please vote for the BUILDING POWER TOGETHER TEAM.

Candidate for CTA Secretary-Treasurer
Chris Aguilar
Member, Sylvan Educators Association; CTA/ABC Committee member; Stanislaus Service Center Council chair.

Choice is the ultimate power you have! I was born and raised in the Central Valley. I have travelled throughout the state and listened to the needs of our members from all areas. Our strength goes beyond having relationships, it means having connections to each other. Inclusivity is about us constructing a bold union where members and nonmembers want to seek us out because of the values that we represent. We will have a union, without barriers, where everyone is welcomed to participate and be respected. CTA is a family and at the end of the day we unite to stand against what is wrong and fight for what is right.

As an elementary school teacher still working full‑time in the classroom, I know the struggles we face on a daily basis. I have felt the attacks upon public education during my seventeen years in the classroom. My union experience includes being the currently elected CTA/ABC member for District F, present Chairperson for the Stanislaus Service Center Council, and a former Chapter President. I have worked with individuals across the state while serving on various committees and workgroups. These include the original Long Term Strategic Planning Workgroup, the Teacher Evaluation Workgroup, as Chair of the CTA Scholarship committee, and being a member of several other committees. These various roles have given me direct insight into the various finances and policies throughout our union. With this knowledge, I know that I am ready to serve as your next CTA Secretary-­Treasurer.

Representing our members and remaining solvent as a union is vital as we move forward into the future. Working with the CTA Budget Committee, I will ensure that this continues to be accomplished. Know that if elected as your next CTA Secretary-Treasurer, I will devote myself to fulfilling the trust that is placed upon me. CTA State Council members will vote at the end of March for this office. If I represent a union you want to have, then I ask for you to reach out to your CTA State Council members and alternates. Let them know your candidate choice to have action for our union! I ask you to choose Aguilar for CTA Secretary-Treasurer.

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