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By Julian Peeples

Madera school psychologists are the newest members of CTA after distance organizing last month to join educators in fighting for the schools all Madera students deserve.

Organizing by videoconference since the start of the school year to discuss the move, the 20 school psychologists voted Sept. 30 to join Madera Unified Teachers Association (MUTA), which made it official during a meeting last week.

“MUTA will help us build a culture of excellence as we continue to grow relationships with the students and families we serve,” says School Psychologist and MUTA member Candy Hernandez. “Together, we will remain united and continue to work to protect the interests of our Madera Unified School District community.”

The psychologists join the 1,100 members of MUTA, which also represents Madera Unified teachers, nurses, counselors, teacher librarians and teachers on special assignment. While the psychologists have previously considered becoming MUTA members, this was the first time the discussion led to swift action – with numerous meetings with each other, as well as MUTA President David Holder, and CTA staff and organizers.

Holder is excited to welcome the school psychologists to the MUTA Family.

“We’ve built a very strong professional association that’s gone beyond the typical issues of salary and benefits, to leading on curriculum and instruction issues and advocating for the social and emotional needs of our students,” he says. “The valuable work of our school psychologists is necessary to the success of our students, and we’re proud they’ve joined MUTA so they can have a collective voice in fighting for their kids.”

School Psychologist and MUTA member Jordan Ambers says joining the union will strengthen his ability to help his students, promote a healthy work culture and fight for equity. School Psychologist Brandon Gault says just as he encourages students to use their voices, he joined MUTA to use his to advocate along with his fellow educators. Cynthia Garcia says becoming a MUTA member is a big deal.

“Joining our local union for me as a school psychologist is a privilege,” Garcia says. “I want to be part of a union that advocates for its members and is committed to high quality public education.”