ESP Officer Positions




SSPA on release

Years with MPS: 9 years

MFT Member: 9 years 




Roosevelt High School

Special Education Assistant

Years with MPS: 3 years
MFT Member: 3 years

Union Activities: Organizer on release

Candidate Statement: 

Hello Union Family,

My name is Ma-Riah Roberson-Moody, I am an SEA in the ALPHA program at Roosevelt HS, I have been with the district for 4 school years, and 3 actual years. I’m unsure when Catina signed me up, but I've been an active union member since we settled the last contract in Oct 2018. I ran for an open at large board position shortly after and have been busy ever since. The main reason I ran then is the same reason I'm running for first vice president now. I want to change the narrative around ESP and fight for the respect that ESP deserve. We have one of the most critical jobs in the district, we support students through all stages of their school lives. We laugh with our students, cry with our students, we have dance battles with our students and we’re the ones that respond when they're going through difficult experiences, to educate and listen.  It’s not an exaggeration when we say that ESP make school happen. I’m a proud ESP and I put my heart and soul into making sure students feel welcome and cared for at school. I would like to spread that love and dedication across this ESP chapter because we matter. I’m honored to be serving you all and I look forward to fighting for what we deserve.




Bethune Community School

Special Education Assistant

Years with MPS: 21 years
MFT Member: 17 years

Union Activities: Lead Organizer (on release), Current ESP 2nd Vice President, Former Building Steward

Candidate Statement: 

Hello, my Union Brothers and Sisters. My name is Catina Neal and I’m running for a 2nd VP of our ESP Chapter for a 2nd term. 

I’m a Special Educational Assistant, currently on leave from Bethune to work full time at our Union as Lead Organizer. I’ve been in the District for 21 years and a union member for 20 years. I’ve been trained in public speaking and it’s been an honor to speak on behalf of our union at many labor events.  I currently serve on the Organizing Committee, Grievance Committee, Communications Committee, and Political Action Committee, and I fiercely advocate for members at the site level when I’m called to do so.  

I was the building Steward for eight years at Whittier Elementary where I stood strong to make sure our members got the respect we deserved.  As your 2nd VP, I’ll continue to fight for the respect we deserve, including fair wages, healthcare, and safety in our buildings. I’m committed to building strong relationships with our members and doing everything I can to help build a stronger Union for all. My record shows that I’m dedicated, fair, compassionate, firm, honest, and sincere. As an Organizer, I’ve helped build our Union membership from 47% to 70%, increased the number of Stewards in buildings, and helped to increase ESP participation at our Union. I’m a leader with results, common sense, a name you know, a voice for you - Vote Catina Neal for 2nd Vice President. 


I encourage every member to vote and let your voice be heard. Let’s keep the progress moving forward and standing up for what’s right. Be a pal, vote for this gal - Catina Neal. Thanks for everything you do. Thank you all.                                                                                                




Patrick Henry High School


Years with MPS: 18 years

MFT Member: 16 years



Liz Aram Picture.jpg


LIZ ARAM (Teacher)

 North High School


Years with MPS: 19 years
MFT Member: 19 years

Candidate Statement:

I am Liz Aram and I am running to be the joint chapter treasurer for MFT59 because I would like to use my skill set to bring fiscal responsibility, creative problem solving, and transparency to the role of treasurer.


I am entering this election because I want to be part of a union that proactively engages in district planning with a consistent equity lens. I have been disappointed with the union’s approach around the comprehensive district design. I wish leadership had been organizing teachers to engage in this process over the last two years, developing strong communal values and providing input along the way. While multiple MFT members asked the executive board to make space for educator dialogues about the CDD, they were told no until after the executive board voted on a stance of opposition. By taking a stance of opposition without having done the work to provide a better solution, we essentially aligned ourselves with the status quo. This reactionary stance cost educators the potential to inform, impact and even change this plan. I want to be part of the leadership that will engage and empower educators to proactively take the lead in creating a more equitable district.

I began my career in this district as a math teacher in 2000, taught math for 13 years, and then earned my library media specialist degree and am now a high school librarian. My math background lends itself to confidence with numbers and problem solving while my training as a library media specialist lends itself to resource management, organization skills, and clear communication.


Finally, I bring a commitment to racial justice within union leadership. While I work diligently to challenge my own racist conditioning every day, union leadership must guide our organization as a whole to do the same. One of the primary roles of the teacher’s union should be to help dismantle the racist practices cemented by our history, systematized by our district and perpetuated intentionally or not by the teaching force that makes up this union. Educators are starting to realize that the survival of this district and public schools, in general, is dependent upon our ability to improve the quality of education provided to black and brown students. We need union leadership that positions educators as the leaders in this work.



Transition Plus

Special Education Assistant

Years with MPS: 3 years

MFT Member: 2 years



DR. RON J. SIMMONS (Teacher)

Andersen United 

Grade Lvl/Sub: K-8 / PE & Health

MPS Teacher & Admin:  10 yrs



Union Activities: Chair of MFT59 Budget Committee


Candidate Statement:


I am excited to be nominated for the position of Joint Treasurer.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I am particularly motivated to work on supporting our efforts for change and making sure our students have opportunities to be successful while we are Moving Forward Together.  


I have been in education for 24 years; 10 years as a teacher and administrator in Minneapolis Public Schools.  I am a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Twin City Human Resource Association (TCHRA).


I believe I have a number of valuable qualities I would bring to this position as Joint Treasurer.  First, I have over 10 years’ experience of managing school budgets and school operations at public, charter and alternative schools. Second, I am the Chair of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Budget Committee and feel confident moving onto the next step as your Joint Treasurer.

Also, serving in the capacity of Administrator, I managed the school’s projected yearly budget and was actively involved in contract negotiations with vendor selection.  I also purchased and acquired capital equipment for the school; implemented cost-containment programs and handled fundraisers for promotional activities for the school.   

With my experience in school budgeting coupled with my passion to see students achieve success, I will be a positive voice to ensure the budget is suitable to meet the needs of our members in a time filled with so much uncertainty. 

I support Greta Callahan for President and the entire Moving Forward Together slate. Also, I am endorsed by Robert Kohnert, our current Treasurer. I look forward to serving all of the members of MFT 59 as your next Joint Treasurer.

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ESP Chapter Executive Board Candidates

Alphabetical by last name.


Justice Page Middle

Minneapolis Kids, Childcare Assistant

Years with MPS: 3 years

MFT Member: 3 years



Bethune Community School

AE/Minneapolis Kids

Years with MPS: 9 years

MFT Member: 7 years

Candidate Statement:

Hi, I’m Tequila Laramee, I work at Bethune full-time as an AE. I’ve been with Minneapolis Public Schools for 9 years as an AE and a CCA with Mpls Kids and I’ve been an MFT member for 6 years.


I’ve done extensive summer organizing for our union, I am the steward at my building, and have completed the members’ rights advocacy training. I currently sit on the Executive Board and continue to show up and remain actively involved in our union.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am always fair, I am passionate about this work we do daily, I am a positive voice for all ESPs, and at the end of the day I believe that right is right and wrong is wrong, PERIOD.


I want to continue a second term on the executive board because I have been thoughtful, pragmatic, and work tirelessly for all ESPs.  I am most proud of some great wins we’ve had since I’ve been on the board.  I’ve helped grow our membership, build a robust bargaining campaign and have been building to be strike ready.  I have also been a part of demanding a raise for $35,000 a year for ESPs starting salaries.


One of my strengths as a steward and executive board member is taking in both sides of each story/situation without passing judgement and finding a solution that puts our members and students first.  I am proud of my ability to communicate with a variety of different people, which includes listening and taking in information before responding. I have continuously proven that I can work with students, parents, teachers, and administrators as I fight for our rights.


I am passionate about this work and excited to do more! I ask for your vote in the upcoming election.

Thank You

-Tequila Laramee 



Roosevelt High School

Special Education Assistant

Years with MPS: 4 years

MFT Member: 4 years


Union Activities: ESP Board Member, Contract Bargaining Team, Summer Organizer

Candidate Statement:

Hello my name is Mary Webb-Hampton.

I am a Special Education Assistant In the ALPHA program at Roosevelt High school. This is my 4th school year. I’ve been working there since 2016. I am a member of the bargaining team for the current contract negotiations, And I am currently an at large board member. This past summer I worked with MFT as an organizer, I went to different summer sites and talked to members. I’ve been actively going to chapter meetings and different MFT events since the end of our last contract. I had questions about retro pay and decided I could take an active role in the work MFT does.

I am running for executive board because I think our union is important.  My family is Proudly pro union; Both my parents worked union jobs as well as generations before them. I have always wanted the opportunity to work a union job because the job security is important to me. I enjoy the work of supporting our members and educating others around me about the work I do. I also want to be on the executive board because I see a lot of change that needs to take place at MFT. I want MFT to work for ALL members and for members to feel like MFT isn’t for the few but it is a collection of all of us doing work together.

In this time we are experiencing right now with COVID-19 so many people in our community don’t have protection or support from their jobs. I want to continue to make sure we continue to support our students together or apart. ESPs are such important parts of Minneapolis Public Schools and have made so many positive steps towards real change I would love to continue to get the opportunity to do that. I attended Minneapolis public schools when I was a kid and I actually see some of the teachers and ESPs who were involved with my education at my site and at MFT. I hope I get the opportunity to contribute to MFT's continued work to support students and staff and help build a strong union.


Marcy Open

Special Education Assistant

Years with MPS: 14 years

MFT Member: 14 years


Joint MRLF Chair


ECSE at Wilder

Years with MPS: 27 years 

MFT Member: 21 years


Union activities:  Building steward, Legislative committee, COPE treasurer, MRLF delegate and COPE committee member, MRLF Chair on MFT Executive Board


I am running for the MLRF Chair seat on the MFT Executive Board.  For those who are not familiar with the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MRLF), it is the umbrella organization of unions in the Minneapolis area.  MRLF’s mission is to organize in the community for social and economic justice for ALL working people. Through my work with this organization I have become involved and encouraged others to join in many union social justice activities, such as marching for 15 NOW and supporting the nurses’ strike.  One of my goals as MRLF Chair is to increase communication with members about local union actions and activities.


I am excited for the opportunity to continue my work on the MFT EB.  I am a strong voice representing all members and our students. As MRLF Chair, I represent both licensed staff and ESPs.  I have worked closely with ESPs at MFT and in the classroom and my spouse is an ESP in ECSE. I bring experience and perspective from early childhood education,  Special Education, and related services to the board. Without my presence on the board these voices may not be represented.


Because of my work with MRLF, I value and understand the importance of MFT having strong relationships with the unions in our Minneapolis community.  These relationships encourage support for our members and our MPS schools and students. Our partnership with MRLF also provides MFT with opportunities to engage in social justice actions in our community that help support our MPS families and students.  In order for our students to have the best chance to reach their full potential, their families need a livable wage, sick and safe time, and access to quality food, housing, and healthcare. These rights are all basic rights that we fight for with MRLF. I have had the opportunity to work on these issues through being a contact person for Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUP), organizing support for the postal Worker food drive and by participating on the MRLF COPE board working on local elections.

Please vote for me and the entire Moving Forward Together slate!

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ESP Chapter MRLF Delegates

Alphabetical by last name.