Why you want to know her: California parents who work in education now have more paid family leave thanks to Jennifer Thomas, president of the San Jose Teachers Association. Between 2015-16, Thomas, 41, teamed with then state Assemblywoman Nora Campos to lobby and finally pass a bill that allows for paid non-medical leave for birth moms, and expands some rights to dads and foster and adoptive parents, who are educators. The law allows birth moms to use accrued sick leave and differential pay for up to 12 weeks, in addition to the customary 6-week leave where teachers already use sick leave and differential pay to cover their salaries while they’re off. In San Jose Unified School School District, however, Thomas negotiated for an automatic additional benefit that’s rare in education: Six weeks of paid medical leave for birth mothers without them having to use sick leave. Thomas was the first in her family to attend college and returned to her alma mater, Lincoln High School, to teach after she graduated from San Jose State University.