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By Julian Peeples

Some people are just born to lead. That’s the only rational explanation for why an educator would choose to run for elected office during a worldwide pandemic while learning a new medium for teaching. But for educators who have dedicated their lives to the belief that better is possible, stepping up to lead during this chaotic time comes naturally.

These leaders are mobilizing, organizing and campaigning like never before (at a safe distance), pioneering new ways to reach voters and share their vision in the absence of traditional, in-person electioneering like precinct walking and leafleting.

Across the state, CTA members are meeting the challenges head on, like VanCedric Williams, treasurer of United Educators of San Francisco and candidate for the Oakland Unified School District board, who issues a rallying cry for this election: “Get involved! Our decisions will have an impact on the next three generations of families. We must show up for this election and vote down-ballot like our lives depend on it, because they do.

“It means ending status quo politics, being transparent with stakeholders, and rebuilding the trust with our communities. I’m inspired by you and by us willing to make collective change,” Williams says. “Let’s not sit on the sidelines. Let’s get into this fight, vote and win! When we fight, we win!”

Over the next couple weeks, we’ll take a closer look at some of the CTA members who are joining hundreds of educators across the country to run for office on local school boards and help lead in their communities when it’s needed most.

Learn more about our first educator looking to lead during crisis, Nora Allstedt:


Nora Allstedt

Candidate for: Visalia Unified School District Board of Education

Experience: 30 years in education, teaching middle school band, choir and computer science; most recently the librarian/instructional technology specialist at Exeter Unified School District; Exeter Teachers Association vice president.

Why: It’s time to give back to the community I live in by serving as a member of our school board. The current board is dysfunctional and is not serving our students, staff or community.

Top issues: The current school board and district administration are not listening to the needs of staff, parents or students. The district has mismanaged finances, created a distance learning schedule without listening to teachers, and technology is far behind other districts in the area. These issues are causing teachers to leave to work for other districts.

Distance campaigning: I have lawn signs out in the community, and a more active online campaign and presence. I will be participating in several virtual forums leading up the election.

Choosing to lead now: As an instructional technology specialist, I understand what effective virtual teaching looks like. I want to bring that knowledge to my home community.

Website/social:; Twitter: @allstedt4vusdbd; Facebook: Nora Allstedt for Visalia Unified School Board


Meet other CTA educators stepping up to lead during crisis, at right/below. #WeAreCTA


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