At the April meeting of State Council, an election will be held for the office of CTA secretary-treasurer.
Running for the position are Mikki Cichocki and Mark Andrew Kotch.
Cichocki is a member of the CTA Board of Directors and the San Bernardino Teachers Association. Kotch is a member of the Delano Union Elementary School Teachers Association.
Following are unedited campaign statements submitted by the candidates. They were limited to 400 words.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the candidates and not necessarily those of CTA.
CANDIDATES FOR CTA SECRETARY-TREASURER
California public education is under attack and the next generation of CTA leadership will determine the future of our union. In fact, the next generation of union leaders will help determine the fate of public education.
Our members and students face many challenges due to the massive state budget cutbacks. As a Youth Services teacher in San Bernardino City Schools, where non-traditional students face shrinking alternative educational programs, I understand the stress our members are under. CTA must remain strong to rise above these challenges.
I have the experience, leadership skills, and energy to move CTA forward. From becoming a site representative for the San Bernardino Teachers Association during my first year of teaching, to being elected to the CTA Board of Directors I have proven my commitment to our union by engaging and connecting to the rank and file membership. Whether out in the field supporting teachers or lobbying in Sacramento, my experience in building relationships makes me the most qualified candidate for CTA Secretary-Treasurer.
It has always been the voice of the members I represent that drives me to action. I fought to bring childcare to State Council so that members with families could fully participate in our representative process. As part of the San Bernardino County Coalition, I helped craft Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) language that was adopted by chapters across the state as well as bringing programs such as Survive and Thrive, I Can Do It, and Verbal Judo to our members.
As a leader, I have always done what is right for my members and will continue to do so as Secretary-Treasurer. I will continue to actively listen to our members and help create a stronger and more effective organization. I will make sure that every member has access to all levels of our organization and provide ongoing opportunities for members to grow into leadership positions.
Now is the time for an experienced leader with the drive and energy to navigate us through the challenges and opportunities before us. As Secretary-Treasurer, I will ensure that CTA is fiscally sound. I will fight for the rights of our members. I will work to protect and enhance funding for public education. I will champion CTA as the driving force for a quality education for every student. We must work together to protect public education.
I ask for your vote for CTA Secretary-Treasurer. Mikki Cichocki
MARK ANDREW KOTCH
I do not know where I would be today without access to the community college and state university systems. As a blue collar worker, I went back to school during the Reagan Recession of the early 1980’s, when double-digit unemployment created misery for millions of people. I had a UAW card before I had a CTA card.
I transitioned into teaching from work as a Gardener (ESP/CSEA), and have never looked back. Teaching has provided me with both personal joy and continued enthusiasm for educating a new world of responsible citizens. I can honestly state that Public Education changed my life and sent me in a positive direction.
In 1996, after six years of teaching 7th Grade English Language Arts for the Delano Union School District, I became President of the Delano Union Elementary School Teachers Association, DUESTA/CTA/NEA. I did so at the urging of my CTA Field Representative. I was inspired and motivated by the strength that grew from educating and empowering DUESTA membership.
For eleven years I served as President of the union, all the while remaining a fulltime classroom teacher. During my tenure, DUESTA prevailed in all major litigation and was deeply involved in curriculum issues. It was crucial that we analyzed and investigated the School District’s budget, which we did year after year. As a result, we still have the fully paid health benefits that I initially negotiated in 1996, with coverage for spouses and children.
Currently, I serve as Chairperson for the CTA State Council School Safety/School Management Committee. I have also attended NEA Rep. Assemblies since 1999 as both a state and local delegate, and I received a WHO Award from DUESTA for the 2008-2009 school year.
I am running for CTA Secretary-Treasurer as a voice for the common classroom teacher. I will stand up for those who have experienced the oppressive burdens of NCLB and the impacts of arbitrary decisions made by anti-union forces. There are well-funded groups seeking to dismantle and destroy Public Education. After 27 years of public education employment, I believe I have the skills, experience and knowledge to help CTA maintain its obligation to fight the good union fight, for its members and Public Education.
I ask for your vote as CTA Secretary-Treasurer. CTA has the high ground. As your elected officer, I will help us take advantage of that position in the education arena.