At the April State Council meeting, an election will be held for the office of CTA vice president. Running for the position are Eric C. Heins, Gail Mendes, and A.J. Duffy.
Heins is a member of the CTA Board of Directors and the Pittsburg Education Association. Mendes is the current CTA secretary-treasurer and a member of United Teachers of Richmond. Duffy is president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Following are unedited campaign statements submitted by the candidates, limited to 400 words. Duffy did not submit a campaign statement.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the candidates and not necessarily those of CTA.
CANDIDATES FOR CTA VICE PRESIDENT
ERIC C. HEINS
Let me begin by saying “Thank you!” Thank you for your participation in the day-to-day challenges of being a public school employee and a public education advocate. Thank you for your participation in the daily life of our students as a hands-on worker and leader. Finally, thank you for your participation in the democratic process of our union.
I am a 20 year elementary teacher in Pittsburg, CA. I value the many years I’ve spent working with my students and gaining experience at every level of our Association. I am currently serving on CTA Board of Directors.
I’ve learned more fully with each passing day that, whatever your life experiences or backgrounds may be, we really are one CTA family. We share the same characteristics and ideals: strength, compassion, hope, vision, honesty, and the touch of humor that can get us through difficult times.
We are currently in a time of transition. Public education, pre-school through graduate school, is being attacked as never before. How we, CTA and public education, emerge from this time depends on the actions we have taken today. We will have to change. With you, I want to be on the cutting edge of that change, using our core values to reshape public education to meet the needs of all our students and to ensure that CTA remains strong and relevant.
Like you, I know that every strong and healthy organization needs to stop periodically to examine and reexamine itself. We can do that with our CTA: take a good look, ask tough questions, have the difficult conversations, hold on to all that is good, and have the courage to cast away what is no longer of service. When we do, we will emerge even stronger and healthier.
Let’s connect our core values with the power we’ve gained, through our organizing, at the bargaining table, and in the legislative arena to strengthen our union. Let’s build up our profession with our hearts and minds to claim and respect that is rightfully ours. We can marry the strong profession with the strong union — for a better CTA and a public education system that provides an education second-to-none for all students.
Please visit my website, www.Eric4CTAVP.com, or send me an email at email@example.com. Share with me your thoughts, questions and vision.
I am Eric Heins, Candidate for CTA Vice President. Bold Leadership Lighting the Way! Believe! Energize! Advocate!
I’m Gail Mendes, your CTA Secretary-Treasurer and I’m running for Vice President because I’m tired. I’m tired of our teachers being forced to take cuts to their salaries and benefits. I’m tired of our students losing valuable instructional time to furlough days. I’m tired of our Educational Support Professionals having their hours slashed and our educators outside of the core curriculum areas being treated like disposable educational fluff. I’m tired of our students arriving at the doorsteps of California’s colleges and universities, fully prepared to learn, only to discover that all the classes are full. I am tired of the media targeting educators as the problem rather than the solution. Most of all, I’m tired of us not organizing to take control of our profession.
To take public education back from the profiteers, we must start playing offense not just defense. It is vital that we create a vision for public education! It is critical that we craft a vision that reflects our values and concerns, and then as if we were writing an Individual Educational Plan for a student, we have to build an organizing plan to achieve our vision.
We must create a long term organizing plan that engages all 320,000 of our members, draws upon the expertise of each department within CTA and utilizes the experience and energy of our entire union. Tired as we are, each of us must recommit to ourselves, our students and to each other that we will organize to take back public education. Failure is not an option. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable as if our lives and the lives of our students depend upon it, because they do.
The vision upon which we build our organizing plan cannot be written on stone tablets handed down from on high, it must be a vision shared by all of our members. Your input is vital to our success. Please share your vision for public education and the ways CTA leadership, staff and the other 319,999 members of CTA can support you to take back public education. Send your thoughts to TalkWithGail@aol.com. I will compile and distribute your vision and organizing plan to the members of State Council at the April State Council meeting.
Ask your local union President who represents you on State Council, and ask your representative to vote for Gail to be your voice, your Vice President.