REAL Financial Secretary Candidate
This is year 14 in Chicago Public Schools and in those 14 years, I have been at an AUSL school, a neighborhood school, an alternative school, and a selective enrollment school. I started as a resident teacher at Chicago Academy High School. After one year there, I got a job at Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, in the old DuSable High School, teaching Social Studies. After being one of the 2500 teachers ‘pink slipped’ in 2010 due to massive budget cuts across the district, I moved to Peace and Education Alternative High School in the Back of the Yards neighborhood where I taught English and Social Studies and then eventually moved to Special Education. After spending nearly 5 years there, I moved to Lindblom Math and Science Academy as a Special Education teacher.
I currently teach Social Science (AP US History, Law, Economics, and honors US History) at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, where I have taught for the past 7 years.
Leadership Roles and Accomplishments in the Union
Since 2010, I have served as delegate of my school. In 2016, I was elected to the Executive Board as a functional vice president. Soon after, I became a Trustee for Union’s finances. With the leadership of me and the other trustees, we reformed the way that Trustees interacted with the budget-making process. Those difficult decisions led to the replacement of the accountant at the time, electing a new chair of the Trustees to increase transparency, and pushing to truly go through the budget development process in a transparent way. At the local level, as delegate of Lindblom, we have a record of leading in union actions. During 2016 negotiations we organized a Work-to-Rule action that became the model and standard for the rest of the district. In addition to the previously stated roles, I served on the 2016 and 2019 Big Bargaining teams, helping to negotiate the last two contracts. My proudest accomplishments on the big bargaining team was rejecting famous January 2016 the offer that leadership wanted us to take before we even had the ability to strike (it was a terrible deal) and advocating hard for sports at the bargaining table in 2019, ultimately playing an integral role in securing that $25 million additional funding for sports programs across the district (and it still isn’t enough).
What brought you to union work
Joining AUSL without understanding the politics of closings and turnarounds quickly radicalized me. I realized how wrong the AUSL model is for students in our city, but that was a complex feeling because I realized how much I benefitted from having an AUSL mentor teacher (that I still keep in contact with 14 years later!) When I was pink slipped in 2010, I joined union work and learned how to organize members against the injustices that students, parents, teachers, and families face across this city on every level. For me, I knew that students deserved stability in their schools and teachers deserved a school that they could grow and develop in and ultimately spend their career teaching at. I believed that union work was a way that I could fight to improve the profession, which is good for both students and teachers.
Your hope for the future of CTU
A budget is a moral document: it tells us what we value and what we don’t care about. If I am elected financial secretary, I want to build a transparent space for budget advocacy. Wards have participatory budgeting, why can’t we? Elections, being under the purview of the financial secretary, are also important to me. Every school needs to have a delegate that is educated and empowered to advocate for members. These two issues–a transparent budget and a delegate at every school–are the baseline for how we truly educate members advocate for their students, their schools, their communities, their colleagues, and themselves.