The Slate Nominees
Kimberly Mooney, Teacher Vice Chair
My vision for BTU is to be a union that fights not only for excellent pay and benefits for the quality work that our members do but also for the state-of-the-art facilities and the supports that educators need. Our slate members have a track record of success in advocating for policy and law changes needed to create a more equitable and effective school system. From fighting for Kirwan money, to pressuring the City Council to hold the school system harmless when TIFs are given that make the city’s taxable income look higher than it is, we hold politicians accountable and will continue to do so. Our members were instrumental in challenging the district’s use of SPM and in getting the district to start developing an equity policy and putting protections in place for LGBTQ students.
Shari Thomas, PSRP Vice chair
As Vice-Chair, my goal is ensuring growth and relationships with every classification within the PSRP unit. Our titles across the board for PRSPs are different, but our membership makes us one. It’s time that PSRSP members see and feel that we are one unit. My goal is to continue ensuring that all members are pleased with why they elected me to represent them as well as all their elected officials. It also a goal to pursue fairness in classifications, opportunities and fairness for increased salaries based on experiences, responsibilities, job duties and/or educational achievements across the entire chapter. Transparency and member’s voice will become the norm. Open voices and open minds will create strengths. For the past 6 years I have fought to ensure the PSRP chapters members are not seen as second-class employees.
Jocelyn Providence, Teacher Secretary
As a math teacher who is still in the first half of her teaching career the two topics that I believe need actions to be taken by leadership are on creating a culturally responsive curriculum for our students and retaining and recruiting educators of color into our schools. We need to make sure that our newest educators feel supported and feel equipped to prepare our students in the classroom. Another priority that I have is family and community engagement! We must reignite the principle that schools are the cornerstone of communities and support our schools and communities to improve our city!
CAndace Fryer, Teacher Treasurer
I want the union to stay strong in its contract, including salary, benefits and working conditions. I want the union to start involving more educators in how it is run and what it prioritizes. Vote for Candace Fryer so educator voices will be heard and we will grow our union like the powerful educator movement happe
ning across the country!
Corey Gaber, Teacher Elementary V.P. (1 of 4)
As a Vice President of Elementary Schools, I will fight to ensure that teacher voice is front and center for all policy decisions that effect our work in the classrooms. We will launch a listening tour to reconnect with every member, as your on the ground expertise should drive our work. I believe our union can be more transparent by writing annual reports shared with membership so that you know how your dues are being spent and can have a say in how they will be spent moving forward. Our union has a chance to become a transformative political force for Baltimore Schools, its staff, its students, and the families we serve. I believe I can expand our power using my extensive organizing experience.
Angela Jefferson, Teacher elementary VP (2 0f 4)
If elected as an Elementary School Vice President I would seek to bring transparency, accountability, organization, and a collaborative spirit among both chapters of the union. I believe in a union where the power lies with the members and I would seek to restore transparency in the operation of the union by having minutes of Executive Board and Build Rep meetings available to the members, accountability of its officers by establishing Standard Operating Procedures, meetings that are properly facilitated using parliamentary authority, and an all inclusive decision making process that recognizes the village of teachers and PSRP’s that support and educate our scholars. I am Angela Jefferson, a lifelong elementary school teacher asking for your vote as Elementary School Vice President.
Fareeha Waheed, Teacher (3 of 4)
As a Vice President of Elementary Schools, I will fight to ensure that educators’ voices are prioritized in decisions affecting our school district, city and state. We are at the front lines with our students day in and day out and deserve the utmost recognition and respect because we know what’s best for our students. I look forward to hearing from educators working across the city about issues that matter most to them and how the union can help support positive change. I believe our union can create more transparency and prioritize the needs of teachers, paraeducators and related service providers. I am excited to use my extensive knowledge of urban schools and community organizing to be a part of the movement because when hundreds of educators stand up and fight back, we will not be denied.
Antonio Mason, Teacher Elementary VP (4 of 4)
Antonio believes in a progressive Democratic process, which will allow all members and community stakeholders to express ideals that will propel us forward in 21st Century Education. That begins by having a member-run BTU that is continually reflecting the voice of its membership and community that it serves. Additionally, I will work tirelessly to ensure the rights of educators are protected, provided with the supports needed to adequately perform our jobs, and free from bullying and retaliation. Unfortunately, in Baltimore City, and the majority of the U. S., something as insignificant as postal zip-code can be a predictor of fate. Although potential is something that is inherent to us all, opportunity and access is not! Let’s change that by providing and increasing supports for our educators, which will reach the very students and families that they serve.
Zach Taylor, Teacher Middle School VP (1 of 2)
I want to help transform the BTU into a proactive, member-driven organization where the voices of educators are prioritized. By democratizing our union it will become a stronger organization fighting for a high quality, well-funded education for all students. As part of the BMORE/CEDE slate, we will review all current union structures to ensure they empower and respond to the membership. All BTU actions, elections, and finances should be open to all members for inspection and as such should be open to debate and discussion within the membership. We want a contract that not only protects our pay and benefits, but also improves the conditions for teaching and learning. We will increase parent engagement, leveraging our power to meet the needs of teachers and students. We believe that fighting for our schools means fighting for racial justice.
Brian Mosher Teacher Middle School VP (2 of 2)
As a former history teacher, I fully recognize the significant and vital role labor unions played in developing and protecting the working class. For teachers it is become more essential in recent years to defend the practice of collective-bargaining, as both unions and our own profession have been targeted by fiscal conservatives. Here in Baltimore, we need a union that will work tirelessly to minimize class size, increase spending for vital resources, and prepare our urban youth for true college or career readiness. Education is said to be the great equalizer, but the current trend aims to drive a wedge between privileged and disenfranchised children. As vice president of middle school, I will exhaust every possible resource to empower our youth for both academic and social sustainability
Michael Pesa, Teacher High School VP (1 of 2)
I am honored to run for Senior High School Vice President. I look forward to helping make BTU a truly member-driven and democratically run union. My priorities include addressing the unacceptable conditions of our buildings, bullying/harassment from administrators, the shortage of black teachers, the broken Code of Conduct, and the complete lack of accountability from district officials. I will make it my priority to ensure that every member concern is taken seriously and responded to promptly, whether or not it is a contract issue. It’s time to think beyond the narrow confines of service model unionism. We need to strengthen the bonds between teachers and PSRPs, organize substitute teachers, provide organizer trainings for all members, build active union chapter committees in every school and worksite, and build alliances with other workers in our buildings. We are stronger together!
Arvis Wood, PSRP Secretary
I came into the school system 10+ years ago as a substitute teacher to supplement my passionate career as a licensed nail technician. My position as a substitute in special education lead to a para professional position and finally a school secretary, which is very fulfilling because I am able to wear so many hats (social worker, therapist, surrogate mom, nurse, coach and mentor). Being in the school system has allowed me to develop a passion for helping students, parents and colleagues.
In the past, I worked for the Maryland General assembly for over 12 years prior to my current position. I was an assistant to the chair of the Prince George’s County delegation, legislative aide for the Baltimore City Delegation and aide to many Baltimore City and Prince George’s County Delegates. I also was the chair of the Maryland justice collection fighting for the rights for inmates and ex offenders.
Renee LAng, PSRP Treasurer
If I am elected, my first goal is to protect all members of the PSRP chapter as it relates to Secretaries and Para-Professionals job duties. It is important that all employees feel valued and respected no matter the position. Our students and staff are in stages of healing, and in order for people to feel respected and valued, we need a union that connects with people across shared goals for our children and a vision of excellence.
Angela Brantley, PSRP Elementary V.P. (1 of 4)
Angela knows that each voice In Baltimore City Public Schools deserve to be heard. Students are the voices. No one will ever understand diversity and bring about equity until everyone has realized the importance of each voice. Each child has a voice that expresses their identity, needs and ability. Needs change, develop and grow as much as the students they represent. Angela vows to attentively listen and work to resolve the issues and bridge the gap of inequity that has far too long caused a gulf to divide and conquer, deserving students of Baltimore City Public Schools silencing their voices. Angela will give a microphone for the children and she promises not to drop the mic!
L’Tanya Brooks, PSRP Elementary V.P. (2 of 4)
I want to be the voice of the Paras. So many times Paras are overlooked. Paras are constantly giving a lot of themselves as they work with the students in the school system. However, they are often not considered when it comes to raises, training, and school assignments/transfers. Just like hospitals can’t run without Nurses schools can’t run without paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals and teachers are the heartbeat of the school. Together we can work to get the Union we both need and deserve by joining forces and strategically planning how to help meet the needs of the Paras that have been overlooked for so long. As Vice President I will tirelessly work with other Paras to make sure that Paras are getting what they want, need and deserve to help improve the students of Baltimore City and the school system.
James Miller, PSRP Elementary VP (3 of 4)
My desire in running for Vice President of SRP is to have Para Educators better represented in contract negotiation and throughout the school year by our union. Too often seasoned, talented members are treated as inferior or sadly forgotten by administration and others. We Para Educators do too much in City Schools to be patronized by token gains while bearing school responsibilities not equivalent to our pay. Let us strive together for greater communication, cooperation, and representation that we can be in the best place to help our students achieve more.
Yaniz Gaymon, PSRP Elementary V.P. (4 of 4)
Sheila RosEmond, PSRP Jr/Middle VP (1 of 1)
Once I am elected to office of Vice President of Junior\ Middle School for Para Educators I want to be the voice of the para. So many times we are overlooked, and give all and more of ourselves as we work with the students in the school system. As a VP I would work towards assistance with other paras to educate themselves to their fullest capacity, making sure that they are getting what they deserve as employee Baltimore City School System.
Brenda Moreno Martinez, PSRP High School VP (1 of 1)
It has always been clear to me that with the right amount of motivation and the right leadership we can turn our goals into actions. I want to motivate my PSRP fellows to speak up. As PSRPs we often feel left out. I want to help other PSRPs, instructional and non-instructional, feel appreciated. Working with the ESOL department has allowed me to see how diverse our school district is. Our population has changed and we need to be aware of the needs of not only our students but also the needs of our staff. As part of a diverse slate, my goal is to fight for inclusion, to unite and support us as a chapter. To spread the love and respect. To finally advocate for change by looking at actions rather than by look at each one’s color.
Ron Beazer, PSRP Special Services VP (1 of 2)
As a 22 year educator in Baltimore City Schools, I have witnessed the school system endures many changes. Also my role in various positions, gave me the opportunity to be a part of many different union affiliations. I believe that a union should represent the interests of its due paying members and unfortunately that has not been my experience in working with the current union. Although I agree that salary should accurately reflect the commitment of the staff doing the vital work of supporting our children, I also believe that other aspects of the work should be commended as well. The wellness and safety of every staff member should be paramount in this environment as well as opportunities for upward mobility as well. Some of these efforts have begun with outside entities showing more interest in supporting staff and students than our current union structure. My desire is to see a union that works for its members and not serve its own self-interest. I believe that my tenure with Baltimore City schools as well as my commitment to my Baltimore City community makes me an ideal person to work with the members as your VP of Special Services.
Shelly-Ann Higgins, Teacher High School VP (2 of 2)
If elected to the position of Senior School Vice-President, I will bring a certain level of intensity and passion in advocating for students and teachers. Much like the emergency procedures on a plane states, I believe that teachers have to be secured first before they are able to “rescue” students. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure a fair contract with favorable working conditions and Teacher evaluations. I want transparency in how the union operates. We need stronger teacher voice in every aspect of the system. Vote for Shelly Higgins to help combat the attack on educators we see happening lately, so that the education profession can regain the respect and honor it so rightfully deserve
Brittany Johnstone, Teacher Special Services Vp (1 of 3)
As a Special Services VP, I will work to ensure that the rights of related service providers and educators working in special education roles are protected, and push the district to provide us with safe and supportive work environments, free from bullying and retaliation. I will work to support recruiting and retaining special educators and related service providers and support them through active mentorship within the BTU. I will work to educate my partners within BTU about the unique role related service providers and special educators play in the education system, and engage with ALL educators in Baltimore City to listen to your concerns. I promise to work closely with my partners on the BTU Executive Board to collaborate while ensuring democracy, transparency and equity are at the core of our work.
Steven Mednick, Teacher Special Services Vp (2 of 3)
As the Vice president of Special Services, I will work on helping the union be more responsive to the needs of union members which would include that Field Representatives will be required to respond to emails, phone calls within 24 hours and to respond to the concerns with frequent updates to how they are addressing their concerns.Establish an evaluative tool to determine the effectiveness of the delivery of union services to meet the needs of union members.Develop a questionnaire to disseminate to union members to determine what are their concerns.Help negotiate union contracts that that will protect, compensate union members more appropriately for their hard work and the fact that many of them are working under dangerous and deplorable conditions. Establish a committee that will allow union members,students and their families to be more unified.Develop joint efforts with community organizations in order for the public to view the union in a more favorable manner.
Diana desierto, Teacher Special ServicEs VP (3 of 3)
Diana believes in collaborating with educators to find ways to enhance the roles of related service providers inside the classrooms. She hopes that the union continues to support the special education disciplines and create more diverse dialogue.
Melissa McDonald, Teacher Member at Large (1 of 4)
I want the union to reflect the educators who serve in our many Baltimore City public schools. We teachers and PSRPs deserve a strong contract with comprehensive benefits but we also deserve to work in safe, well-supplied schools. We deserve to be supported by an inclusive and transparent union which actively advocates for our students and educators.
Caroline Schmidt, Teacher Member at Large (2 of 4)
Caroline is a proud citizen of Baltimore City. She is passionate about labor movements and believes that Baltimore City and the BTU have yet to scratch the surface of their great potential. The main reason she wants to be more involved with the BTU is because she not only wants to bring ground level, day-to-day support to teachers and PSRPs in order to allow them to flourish and provide at greater depths teaching and resources for our students, but she also wants the BTU to begin to act as a real social and political force for progress in Baltimore City. She believes that the BTU can push for equity, progressive social reforms, and for serious address of greater systemic issues that plague our students and families.
Ebony McKiver, Teacher Member at Large (3 of 4)
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
The aforementioned quote drives me each day. As children, we are taught silence is golden. The reality is that it is not always. In recent years, as members of the BTU, we have found ourselves at the crossroads of those things that matter on several occasions. Silence promotes complacency and the status quo. I will not be silent in demanding all that those who work to support Baltimore City students need and deserve. One of the most important skills that I have acquired as an educator is the skill of listening. In my role as Member-At-Large, my job is to actively listen and promote the agendas and policies that best serve every single member of the Baltimore Teachers Union.
Leilani Matthews, Teacher Member at Large (4 of 4)
I want the union to stay strong in its contract, including pay and benefits. I want the union to have more educators involved in the decision-making process as well as the policies that heavily impact educators and their abilities to positively impact students. Vote for Leilani Matthews so the voice of the educator will be heard, and we will grow our union like the powerful educator movement happening across the country!
Theresa Howard, PSRP Special Services (2 of 2)
Mark Brunson, Member at Large (1 of 2)
I think there is an incredible breakdown between staff members in school buildings. I want to really work to improve the relationship between teachers, PSRPs, and administration. It is important that we make sure that we have strong leadership and staff in schools to continue to improve the school and working environment for all! I believe in fighting for our rights and knowing our contract very well in order to support PSRPs! I want to restore the faith in our union!