Today my post comes from the hard-working, good folks at Opt Out Orlando who did a wonderful job researching candidates from across the country who are teachers running for elected offices. It was suggested to me that this post related well to my previous rally for school boards. I agree. Click on the candidate’s name to learn about their platform. Some of the candidates like Barbara Madeloni have already won! And if you know of others please let me know and I will include them with a link.
Thank you Opt Out Orlando, and also check out their wonderful website here. Parents concerned about their children being overly and harshly tested need to check out this site.
Why We Must Support Teachers Running For Elected Office
In Florida, only seven of the 160 state legislators are public school teachers, making decisions for the largest slice of the budget pie ($24 Billion or approximately 30% of the state’s general fund). No wonder things are such a grand mess.
How many of your state legislators are teachers, or know anything about public education at all? We have to change this on a national scale.
What can YOU do about this?
When decisions are made about education policy, the decisions are being made primarily by non-educators, with one thing in mind – THE BOTTOM LINE. But our children are not commodities. They are not products. They are human beings. We need teachers in office to translate for the decision-makers, what policies mean in the classroom; what education laws enacted look like in the classroom; how it affects individual students’ lives every day.
More teachers in elected office would mean that students have a voice, teachers have a voice. Because right now, they don’t. Teaching is a profession and teachers don’t need corporate shills speaking for them. Those shills are really only looking out for their campaign donors. Teachers need to speak for themselves.
Teachers in office are able to inform decision-making and can communicate to fellow trustees the challenges that students and teachers face together in the classroom. It is crucial to have strong representation on important matters such as common core, class sizes, budget allocations/cuts.
CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: Increasingly, public school teachers are stepping up to run for elected office. Nationwide, we MUST stand behind the educators running for office – school boards, unions, city councils, state senate and congress. It is also important to support State Representatives outside of our own districts as well, because they have statewide impact. Find the ones with whom you agree, support them strongly and spread the word widely.
Here are some courageous educators who have won office, are running for office, or running for re-election:
Kevin Beiser is a high school math teacher in the Sweetwater Union High School District and is also President of the San Diego Unified School District, which was touted by Diane Ravitch as the best urban school district. He believes that being a classroom teacher enables him to share his perspective with his fellow trustees. He strongly advocates to keep the Beginning Teacher Support Program (BTSA), smaller class sizes at all grade levels-especially K-3, and dealing with Common Core roll out from the state. California ranks 49th in per pupil funding.
Monica Ratliff is a second generation teacher, who ran for school board in LAUSD, and outspent by $2 million, she still won. Read about her election here. She says, “One of the beautiful things about my election is my ability to remain independent. My commitment is to the students and the voters. I do think there’s a tendency to forget the nitty-gritty of the classroom. Every [issue] that comes my way, I look at in terms of how does this impact the classroom. It’s important to me that over time we provide more autonomy to our schools, to teach in a way they believe is best.”
Karen Castor-Dentel is State Representative of District 30. She is a third grade OCPS teacher. Fed up with the reforms encroaching on her classroom, she ran for office. She was not expected to win. She did and we are grateful. She has brought meaningful legislation before the Florida legislature, such as the Ethan Rediske Act to protect medically fragile children from the harms of high stakes testing. This bill was summarily dismissed by the Florida legislature in favor of vouchers. We will continue to fight for the Ethan Rediske act. Castor Dentel’s mother, Betty Castor is Florida’s last elected Commissioner of Education. Her sister Kathy is a US Representative from Hillsborough County.
Regina Hellinger (District 3 – Orange County) has served public education since 1991. For over ten years, she has served OCPS as a teacher at Carver Middle School and Endeavor Elementary School. She was the 2011 OCPS Teacher of the Year representing Endeavor Elementary School. She is running for Rick Roach’s seat on the board as he steps down to run for State Senate. Regina Hellinger is for Smarter Spending, Smarter Collaboration, Smarter Students.
Joshua Katz is the Orange County high school math teacher, whose Ted Talk on the Toxic Culture of Education is currently burning up the internet with almost 38,000 hits. Today, he threw his hat into the ring for school board (District 1) in Orange County, the ninth largest school district in the country. In a recent interview, he says he believes the question not being asked in education today is: “Is this really what’s best for the student?” If not, WHAT is best for the student? And why aren’t we asking it, with the intention to elicit genuine discourse? See Katz’ announcement here.
Justin Katz (Palm Beach County) As a teacher at Park Vista Community High School, he is the only candidate in the District 4 race with district classroom experience. Having worked with students and teachers to improve academic performance, he understands the challenges that the district faces.
Pam LaRiviere (Lee County) During her 31 years as an educator in the School District of Lee County, she served as an elementary and middle school teacher; curriculum writer, developed and provided training for district staff; Reading Specialist; and Reading Coach. As a recent retiree, she has her finger on the pulse of the needs of teachers, students, and parents.
Rick Roach (District 13) is the former teacher and school board member who made national headlines by exposing the testing abuse in Florida. He is running for Florida Senate to build on his work as a strong advocate and a voice of reason on behalf of Florida’s students, teachers and families. Florida ranks 50th in per pupil funding.
Shannon Maureen Russell (Duval County – District 2) is currently a High School English III IT Academy Teacher, Head Union Representative, and Duval Teachers Union (DTU) Board of Director.
Michael Weston (Hillsborough County) is a former Math and Special Ed teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida is running for a seat on the Hillsborough school board. He believes that public education is a sacred duty – vital to our neighborhoods, states and nation. Education, he believes, must be about enriching young minds; not the burgeoning education industry. He says our leadership should respect learning more than measurement.
Tim Meegan – an independent candidate for 33rd Ward Alderman. “I’m not a politician or from a political family. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. I am a husband, a father of two boys, and a social studies teacher at Roosevelt High School. I’m running for alderman because I want to protect the diversity and improve the quality of life for my neighbors in the 33rd ward.”
Bess Altwerger is a teacher educator. After 25 years of teaching teachers at Towson University, the retired professor is one of 13 candidates seeking four open seats on the Howard County Board of Education. She is a member of the Steering Committee of Save Our Schools. Read more about Bess here.
Barbara Madeloni recently won the leadership of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association, by taking a strong stance against kowtowing to the oligarchy. We need an army of Barbara Madelonis to stand up for the teachers, who are standing up for our children.
Brian Jones is an educator and activist, who has become a leading voice in discussions about public education. He is the Green Party’s 2014 candidate for Lt. Governor of New York. Jones and the Green Party support progressive taxation, fully-funded schools, renewable energy, single-payer health care, $15 minimum wage and a New York that works for the 99%. Hear him talk about his platform here.
Opt Out Orlando has not endorsed any of these candidates. It is your duty to learn more about your candidates so that you can be an informed voter in your local elections. Please share this information and urge your friends and family to become as informed as you… and then VOTE.
These are just some of the courageous teachers who are stepping up to the plate across the country. Helping our teachers to get elected has the potential to drastically shift the scales back in favor of our children.
If we, as a movement, were successful at installing just two teachers onto each school board across the country, what would public education look like in just one year?
Find out if an educator in your district is running and donate to their campaign – with your time, talent and treasure.
And if there isn’t one, change that too.
Becky L. Noël Smith
Opt Out Orlando advocates for multiple measures of authentic assessments, such as a portfolio, non-high stakes standardized tests (Iowa Test of Basic Standards (ITBS) or the Stanford Achievement Test(SAT10)), which are used to inform teachers’ instruction of their students and which do not result in punitive consequences for students, teachers and schools. Formal and informal, teacher-designed classroom assessments provide the best indicators of children’s progress, growth and mastery of concepts and skills. Opt Out Orlando rejects high stakes testing as meaningless and detrimental to the development of a creative, nurturing and supportive learning environment. View all posts by Opt Out Orlando
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 1:42 pm and tagged with elect teachers and posted in Opt Out Orlando. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Dale Rogers says
Michigan also has a National Board Certified Teacher with 32 years experience running for the State House of Representatives.
Nancy Bailey says
YES!!!! Thank you Dale Rogers! The best of luck!
Nick Lichter says
There are many teachers and former teachers in Florida running for office who deserve support. My wife, Kelly Lichter, is running for school board in Collier County – District One. She wants to empower teachers, control the massive growth at the administration and drive resources closer to the students’ classrooms. But she needs your help! Please support her campaign at http://www.kellylichter.com/
Nancy Bailey says
Thank you for posting! I hope this will give Kelly some additional visibility. Very best wishes!
Sandy Stenoff says
Thank you so much for sharing our post.
I’ll check this regularly and will add any new ones to the blog.
Nancy Bailey says
Thank YOU, Sandy!
isabel Castro says
Read about Kathy Ryan,a retired public school teacher running for the school board in Collier County, FL.. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2014/jan/06/kathy-ryan-run-collier-school-board/
Nancy Bailey says
Thank you for sharing isabel!
Tony Miyar says
Just read the post and it’s awesome what you are doing! My wife, Duysevi “Sevi” MIYAR is running for school board in Miami Dade County- District Four. She has been a teacher for the past 19 years and is a big advocate for parents, students and teachers. Being in the forefront she see firsthand the challenges faced by teachers,parents and students. She sees helpless students falling through the cracks, and helpess parents who do not undertand the sytem! So she made a promise to her students that she will run to make a difference and bring a teacher’s perspective to the school board! In fact she met Josh Katz , who is also running for School Board in Orange County. They met in Tallahasee in March at the Florida PTA Legistative Conference to advocate on education bills. Little did they know that they were going to run for school board at the time! This I thought was more than a coincidence! I am truly excited with what you are doing. I will help in any way I can. In the meantime we are struggling with my wife’s campaign as the incumbent is a financial giant , is not an educator and has been on the board for over 20 years! Please contact Sevi – firstname.lastname@example.org
She truly needs your support!
Her campaign website is
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Tony Miyar says
Read about Duysevi “Sevi” MIYAR running for school board in Miami Dade County- the 4th largest school district in the U.S.A.
Tony Miyar says
Here is another article about Duysevi ‘Sevi’ Miyar and her incumbent. Thanks for sharing.
Nancy Bailey says
Thank you, Tony! Here is the link http://www.vote4miyar.com/. Best wishes, Miyar!
Nancy Bailey says
Jonathan Pelto, who has worked tirelessly in education for years and has the popular blog “Wait What?” http://jonathanpelto.com/ is running for governor of the state of Connecticut. His running mate is Ebony Murphy.
Read all about it here http://articles.courant.com/2014-07-06/reminder-news/rnw-hc-wm-pelto-and-murphy-0704-20140704_1_campaign-manager-governor-connecticut-house.
Best of luck, Jonathan and Ebony!
Peppi Hendric says
Thank you for such a wonderful article on teachers who have stepped up to the cause in running for the School Board. I too am running for the School Board in Palm Beach County. I am a teacher of 15 years with the School District of Palm Beach County. The hallmark of my campaign is to get BACK TO BASICS. Please visit my website to find out more about my campaign and how you can help. http://www.VotePeppi.com
Nancy Bailey says
Pat Barton is running for Coffee County School Board in Tennessee
Good Luck, Pat!
My prior experience provides me an understanding as to how my vote affects students, parents, employees, and taxpayers.
Some notable experiences are:
Teacher and coach-Manchester Central High School
Teacher, coach, assistant principal-Coffee County School System
Secondary Supervisor of Instruction, Assistant Superintendent-Coffee County School System
Principal, Westwood Junior High School-Manchester City School System
Supervisor of Instruction Pre-K -9 – Manchester City School System
Interim Director of Schools-Manchester City School System
President, South Central Tennessee District -Principals Study Council (2 terms)
Treasurer Tennessee Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (2 terms)
Appointed by Governor Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Textbook Commission (2 terms)
Board of Directors, Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals
Please allow me the opportunity to cast my vote on your behalf for the students of the Coffee County School System.
Representing: District 3 Manchester (Voting at Trinity Baptist Church);
Rural District 14 (Voting at ;Hickerson Fire Station);
District 16 Tullahoma (Voting at Lions Club)
VOTE AUGUST 7th