Officers (1 seat for each office)

President: Greta Callahan, Alexis Mann 
1st VP: Marcia Howard, Charles Luter 
2nd VP: Tiffany Doherty
Recording Secretary: Sharita Benson, Natasha Dockter
Treasurer (joint between chapters): Tequila Laramee, Marcus Washington
MRLF Chair (joint between chapters): Rebecca Miller, Sarah Spleiss

Delegates to MRLF (8 seats): 
Sharita Benson

Natasha Dockter

Maureen Dowling
Alvin Johnson
Anne Lewerenz
Caroline Long
Charles Luter
Alexis Mann

Jose Rodriguez

Toby Schroder
Dan Troccoli
Marcus Washington




 

Teacher Officer Positions

Alphabetical by last name.

Executive Board At-Large (11 seats):  
Edward Barlow
Christina Brantner

Mary Cuff
Jessica Garraway
Silvia Ibanez 
Alvin Johnson
Mary Manor

Steven Montgomery
Amal Omar-Samatar 
Robert Panning-Miller
Matt Pellowski
Arielle Rocca
Dan Troccoli
Loretta VanPelt
Lindsey West 
Marcia Wyatt

CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT

 GRETA CALLAHAN

           On release (formerly at Bethune)

 Kindergarten Teacher

Years with MPS: 9 years

MFT Member: 9 years 

                                                                                                                       *Incumbent

 

 

Union Activities: President of MFT59 Teacher Chapter 2020-present; Union Steward 2014-2020;  Secretary of MFT59, 2016-2020; Current Executive Vice President of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MRLF); Education MN (Ed MN) Governing Board Member; Ed MN Executive Committee; National Labor Leadership Initiative Graduate;  MN Teacher of the Year Finalist 2017, Ed MN RC Delegate 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022; NEA Delegate 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022. AFT delegate 2015 (TEACH), 2016, 2018. MFT committee work 2016-2020: Organizing Committee, Grievance Committee, Full-Service Community Schools Committee, Budget Committee, COPE, Legislative Committee, and Personnel Committee.

Candidate Statement: 

It is my honor to serve as Teacher Chapter President and I ask that you continue to support me in this role. I was elected May of 2020- the world was a different place then. Through an uprising in Minneapolis, the CDD, Covid, and our historic strike- we have faced many challenges as a union, and I have faced many challenges as President. It is because of you, your leadership at the site level, your expertise in this profession, your organizing, and your passion, that our union is the strongest it has ever been.

Alongside our union, I have grown significantly since 2020 and feel like I’m just getting started. During this time, I have learned how to run the daily building and organization of MFT, leading MFT staff, member-to-member organizing, grant work through affiliates, have built our relationships with students, families, and community groups, our relationships with other unions and our state/national affiliates, our work with the MRLF, our work with MPS leaders, our labor management committees, labor committees, our relationships with politicians and decision-makers, member communication, member organizing, local president work throughout the state, media and press,  negotiations, contract campaigns, and so much more. This is more than a full-time job and I will continue to lead with love and solidarity.

We also have had historic accomplishments over the last two years like community outreach to thousands of MPS families and residents, getting strike ready, going on strike, a living wage for ESP, specific language to retain and support educators of color, class size caps in the contract, the highest raise teachers have seen in 22 years, added mental health supports, and more. These wins are because of the power we have built collectively and there is still so much work ahead! I’m ready to keep fighting alongside you.

Some things you may not know about me:

  • My north star is always our students. I love being an educator!

  • I am a single mother to my son, Morris who attends Southwest.

  • I am a lifelong Minneapolis resident and attended Burroughs and Anthony.

  • I put my money where my mouth is. I took a pay cut when coming into the role of President in 2020, so that we could do things like put money on an Educators of Color Committee budget line and recruit a more diverse bargaining team and committee members through adding stipends.

  • My career began at a charter school and that experience helped to shape who I am and why I value unions.

My charter school experience is why I’ve dedicated my life to MFT59. I live and breathe Union work because with a strong union, we will have strong public schools. In addition to fighting for students’ and members’ rights, I’ve built strong relationships with other unions in MPS, Hennepin County, Minnesota, and the nation. This took a lot of time and energy, but overall strengthens the MFT and our movement for strong public schools.

We should be so proud of what we have accomplished together not only for our chapter but for our ESP colleagues as well!

In 2020, I stated my goals in my candidate statement: Improving Communication, Better Supports for Educators of Color, Work as One with ESPs, Improve Community Engagement, and Get Organized. I am proud that all of those goals have been met AND there is still so much work to do in each of those areas. We are a different union than we were two years ago, and I hope that you will continue to support me as we continue to be better and do better.

Recently, we have seen the power dynamic shift in MPS. I look forward to continuing to create change where our students are supported, our school board and superintendent is pro-labor, and our educators have what they need to be successful in their jobs. This means that there is a lot of work to do with our upcoming school board election, putting a stop to the well-funded corporate ed reform movement in Minneapolis, fighting for full funding of education, and continuing to build power at the site level in our next contract campaign.

As we face challenges, it is imperative that we channel frustrations and anger at the system we aim to improve and never at each other. We will continue to do all of this and more if we keep moving forward together.

I am only as successful as those who I am surrounded by. Please vote for Marcia Howard, Tiffany Doherty, Natasha Dockter, Tequila Laramee, Edward Barlow, Christina Brantner, Mary Cuff, Jessica Garraway, Silvia Ibáñez, Amal Omar-Samatar, Rob Panning-Miller, Matt Pellowski, Loretta VanPelt, Lindsey West, Marcia Wyatt, and Rebecca Miller (MRLF Chair).

MRLF Delegates: Natasha, Anne, Caroline, Dan, Maureen, Jose, Toby, Alvin

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CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT

ALEXIS MANN

Harrison Education Center

English Teacher and Case Manager

Years with MPS: 12 years

MFT Member: 6 years

 

Union Activities: Union Steward, ED MN Delegate, AFT Delegate, NEA Delegate, CAT Team Member, Temporary Strike Captain, Equity Lead, Youth Voice Lead, Black Educators’ Alliance Co-Founder and President, AMann Group Founder and President

Candidate Statement:

Teaching and caring for children are embedded in my bloodline. I come from a long line of educators. My grandparents are retired educators, and my parents are current educators in this honorable profession. Since becoming a licensed professional, I have been on a mission to advocate, collaborate, and develop students with the skills necessary to reach their full potential. 
 
My background and work experience will add a powerful and unique flavor to this position, and what I am able to accomplish as president. I have worked in a variety of professional industries in my lifetime. My first career was in nursing, which I started as a post secondary options student during my junior year in high school. The racism and discrimmmination I encountered as a young adult struggling to build a foundation for my family compelled me to ditch nursing and instead prepare for a career in law. I subsequently earned my bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota, and started working as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis. In order to diversify and expand on my experience, I transitioned into the private sector and worked as a mass tort litigation paralegal at Blackwell Burke, the largest black owned law firm in the state. 
 
Initially, I started working part-time as a reserve teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools to supplement my income while working as a paralegal. Along the way, I accepted a long-term assignment at Transition Plus. After seeing how well I worked with the students in my care, I received constant pressure from several teachers to consider pursuing a teaching license. Upon realizing that working in the classroom was much more rewarding than working in a law office, I earned my Master’s Degree in Special Education from Bethel University, and I am now entering the final year of  my Doctoral studies in Educational Leadership. 
 
Over the last 15 years, I have taught in a variety of school settings, and I have worked tirelessly outside of my role as a teacher to advocate for increased educational outcomes for students, and increased investments in public schools. My passion is to help build a better future by elevating the potential of public schools, protecting our members' interests, and elevating our union beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone.
 
Labor unions are the cornerstone of democracy, and as educators we must be steadfast in preserving and protecting its power. I have been called to run again for president of our union to challenge the status quo bias that has been upheld by our elected officials. It is time for change. Dr. Martin Luther King once said “as I have said many times, and believe with all my heart, the coalition that can have the greatest impact in the struggle for human dignity here in America is that of the Negro and the forces of labor, because their fortunes are so closely intertwined.” With this election, we have the opportunity to elect our first black president to lead our union and champion what Dr. King envisioned. 
 
We are at a critical time in shaping the future of public education. In order for us to keep pace with the fast-changing needs of our children, our schools, and the growing budget limitations, we need leadership that is committed to bold new thinking around the realities of what is happening in our schools and classrooms. We need leadership that is committed to unity and disavows division. We need leadership that is committed to all members, and embraces acceptance and inclusion. We need leadership that does not engage in fear mongering and shaming those who have alternative perspectives or question leadership. 
 
Contrary to the false narratives rooted in unprovoked hatred and discrimination, I am pro union, pro public schools, and pro teacher. As president of our union, I will be a powerful advocate for our students, families, schools, and educators. Despite the resentment that some members may feel about my participation in the strike, I entreat you to relinquish your reservations and please know that I had good reason to continue working. 
 
In closing, let us not allow the strike to sow division and discord in our union as evidenced by how certain members have been treating each other in response to the strike. Engaging in these behaviors are anti union and do not promote solidarity or power. Regardless of the current climate in our union, there is hope. As Nafeesah Muhammad said “we are the light;” let us use our light to choose hope, to choose truth. I invite you to search me up on our website at thecoalitionfortruth.org, or connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter to learn more about our vision for our students, schools, and our union. Thank you in advance for your support.

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CANDIDATE FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

MARCIA HOWARD

 Roosevelt High School

English

Years with MPS: 23 years
MFT Member: 23 years

Union Activities: MFT Community Liaison 2021, wherein I did community outreach to communicate the need to support strong, safe, and thriving public schools while providing information about threats to it. I planned and hosted events at George Floyd Square for union members, students, and their families and attended and spoke at rallies as a member of MFT. I was a representative at the ED MN Representative Assembly.
In 2022, as a rank and file member and full-time teacher, I spoke at rallies in support of our historic strike and in defense of public education. 

 

Candidate Statement: 

My name is Marcia Howard and I have been an English teacher at Roosevelt High School since 1998 except for one year at Franklin Middle School. It was there, my second year teaching, where I began to notice the incursions on public education and became more involved in the union. I believe that free public education is the last meritocratizing institution in this nation. We need to defend it. While standing in the epicenter of a global social justice movement, our recognition that educational justice, equity, and safe and stable schools was a spark that I believe helped light the flame of this historic year for our union.

 

I am running for First Vice President of MFT because we will need a voice that is informed by the realities we now face as a union and profession. My experience with strategy, organization, mobilization, and community involvement will be thrown wholeheartedly into our next challenges. The Moving Forward Together slate is one that I am proud to be on because the candidates are keenly aware of how important our next steps are as a union. I said during the strike, “This is just the beginning.” It is. I support Greta Callahan for President and can not wait to work with her to fight for our students, our colleagues, our communities, and our calling. 

I am proud to be a teacher and proud to be in MFT.

CANDIDATE FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT

CHARLES LUTER

Franklin Middle School

Teacher

Years with MPS: 14 years
MFT Member: 13 years

Candidate Statement: 

  • Who am I as a leader?

    • I want to hear the perspectives of others and either offer advice or allow their voice to simply be heard. I lead by example and hold myself accountable for the same things that I expect from others.

  • Who do I want to be as a leader?

    • I want to become a more involved and vocal leader. I want to be a contributor to change that improves the educational experience of my students.

  • Leadership story

    • Impacted by my mother’s work as a social worker while being exposed to the impact that helping others had on both my mother and the people that she helped.

    • Impacted immensely by an administrator who saw potential in me!

      • In my role as an SEA: I demonstrated my leadership by keeping an optimistic outlook during tough situations, treating students and peers with respect and by seeking to understand the perspective of others.

      • In my role as Lead Behavior Dean: I advised students, families and peers on ways to improve the experience of the students. I listened to the complaints of students, parents and staff, serving to mediate difficult situations. In this role, I was also able to earn the confidence and respect of my peers.

      • In my role as a Teacher: I lead by example each day in how I interact with students and my peers. This includes how I hold students accountable for their behavior and effort in school. I have encouraged others to pursue a career in teaching by enrolling in a teacher’s preparation program and helped them if needed.

  • Leadership website: Edutopia

  • Notate leadership qualities:

    • High Integrity

    • Honesty

    • Good listener

    • Able to delegate

    • Collaborator

  • Why should members vote for me?

    • Because I want to serve as a representative who values every member’s voice and is dedicated to representing the interests of the members, students and community we serve.

  • What gets me up in the morning? 

    • I feel blessed each morning that I open my eyes. I understand that I am being given another opportunity to positively impact the life of another human being.

  • What is my passion?

    • Improving the educational experience for students.

CANDIDATE FOR SECOND VICE PRESIDENT

TIFFANY DOHERTY

Anwatin Middle School

Eighth Grade Mathematics

Years with MPS: 16 years
MFT Member: 16 years

Union Activities: Building Steward

 

Candidate Statement: 

It is with great enthusiasm that I ask for your support as I run for 2nd Vice President. My experiences as an MPS educator of 16 years and that of a parent of a student highly impacted by the CDD, I have been witness to the atrocities created by district leadership. MPS is at a pivotal point – where I believe real change is possible. I am eager to build on the momentum gained in the past year - the unity, alone, that was created through our efforts to organize and build collective power is a benefit we will feel indefinitely.  


As a result of my experiences not only as an educator, but perhaps more importantly as an MPS parent, I’ve been witness to a system that does not value the families that are served nor the educators that are of service. I am passionate about changing the power structure that we see within MPS today. I know that the true educational experts are those of us in front of students daily – our voices should be valued. I am committed to working to disrupt the status quo and the top-down model that serves very few in our district. I am eager to see what will unfold with the renewed interest in the union – together we can create the district that we envision.


For me, an important part of that vision is seeing more educators of color in teaching roles. I am one of very few Black teachers in our district. I know that we can do more to recruit and retain quality educators of color and I look forward to doing that work alongside the other experienced educators and union leaders on Greta Callahan’s slate.

CANDIDATE FOR RECORDING SECRETARY

SHARITA BENSON

PHOTO OR STATEMENT NOT RECEIVED

CANDIDATE FOR RECORDING SECRETARY

NATASHA DOCKTER

Davis Center

TOSA

Years with MPS: 6 years

MFT Member: 6 years

 

Union Activities: 2021-2022 CAT, Building Steward 2018-2021, COPE Committee 2018-Present, COPE Chair 2019-Present, COPE Committee Secretary 2018-2019

Candidate Statement:

I am a middle school social studies and AVID teacher. Currently, I serve as a TOSA who supports probationary teachers throughout the tenure process and supports all licensed staff with the PDP process. Previously, I worked at Andersen United. 

I am running for Recording Secretary of the Teacher Executive Board because I want to help lead our union to continue to build power coming out of our strike for safe and stable schools. We built a lot of collective power during the strike but we must further grow our power in the years ahead. Continuing to grow our power will allow us to further push for change that will strengthen MPS for all students. 

If elected as an officer, I would also prioritize supporting our stewards around contract enforcement. Our strike for safe and stable schools brought some significant wins to our contract including contract language around recruiting and retaining BIPOC educators and class size caps. It is essential that the executive board supports our stewards in enforcing this language. Without contract enforcement, these wins are just words on a paper. Enforcing our contract is a key component to ensuring that MPS schools are the best for all students. 

As an officer, I would also focus on fostering a culture at MFT59 where all are welcome to participate and lead. As a union, it is essential that we support and encourage new leaders. During the strike, many members stepped up and played a crucial role; it is essential that we continue to foster their involvement and leadership. I will also ensure that we are welcoming and supportive to new members so that they may feel the power of our collective union. 

In addition to focusing on these priorities, as a board officer, I commit to being approachable, transparent and hard-working. I will also use my previous experience as a secretary for our COPE committee and my organizational and listening skills to ensure that our union’s notes and records are organized and accessible for all in my role as Recording Secretary. With this in mind, I ask for your vote and your support of Greta Callahan and our slate. 
 

CANDIDATE FOR JOINT TREASURER

TEQUILA LARAMEE

 Bethune Arts Elementary

ESP/Associate Educator

Years with MPS: 10 years
MFT Member: 9 years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: Building Steward, ESP Executive Board, MFT Organizer, MFT Joint
Treasurer, MFT Regional Strike Captain

Candidate Statement:

It has been an honor to serve as Treasurer of our union and I look forward to the
opportunity to continue 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 am the first Black woman
and ESP to serve in this role and it is an opportunity I take seriously to inspire our
students and other members who want to step up into union leadership.


I have been in education for 14 years. 10 years as an ESP in Minneapolis Public Schools, and 4 years in early childhood education. As a product of the Minneapolis Public School system, education has become my passion. I have and continue to devote my life to our youth. As I grew up in North Minneapolis, I have always wanted to be an
educator in MPS since I did not have educators who reflected me when I grew up . I
am proud to continue to grow and learn and soon become a licensed teacher to better
serve our students.


I believe I have a number of valuable qualities I will continue to bring to this position
as Joint Treasurer. As someone who is holding a joint position on our board, I work
closely with ESPs and Licensed staff in my building and throughout our district, I have
taken several EDMN treasurer trainings to help me grow as treasurer, as well as work
closely with previous treasurers of MFT and am not afraid to ask questions. I feel
confident moving onto the next step as your Joint Treasurer.


With my most recent experience and 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 local in a
time filled with so much uncertainty. There is power in our union, our students and
our community. Our historical strike proves that and we must keep this power and
this unity we’ve built and keep our students, families, community and members
involved.


I support Greta Callahan for MFT Teacher President and Catina Neal for ESP President.
I look forward to serving all of the members of MFT 59 as your next Joint Treasurer.

CANDIDATE FOR JOINT TREASURER

MARCUS WASHINGTON

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Teacher Chapter Executive Board Candidates

Alphabetical by last name. Vote for up to 11

EDWARD BARLOW

Anwatin Middle School

6-8 Music

Years with MPS: 32 years

MFT Member: 32 years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: 2020-present At-Large Executive Board Member, Negotiations Team

 

Candidate Statement: 

I have had the pleasure of serving the Minneapolis Community in the position of a music teacher for more than 30 years, teaching grades K-12. In that time, I have learned about the importance of teacher relationships in our community, and how critically important we are, in helping to grow and support the educational aspirations of our students. I have been fortunate to even teach the children of my former students!

 

Our Union’s commitment to support us in this noble endeavor cannot be overstated. Unions exist because there have been inequalities related to how employees have been treated. They exist to support us in our personal and professional growth as educators tasked with the awesome responsibility of developing the next generations of our society. To this end, I am humbly asking for your support in my desire to again serve on the Executive Board as a rank and file member, and to continue the critical work moving us forward. My goal is simply to support our members in whatever capacity needed, and be your voice in concert with our concerns. No one should feel as if they are not informed as to the goals and movement toward said goals.

We will continue the work on making our educational system work better for our students!

 

Please support Greta Callahan for President and our slate. We are coming together to make our Union stronger than ever!

CHRISTINA BRANTNER

Transition Plus

Music Therapy, Teacher

Years with MPS: 13.5 years

MFT Member: 6 years

Union Activities: Dues-paying member observer and listener for six years to learn process and hear member perspectives. Active union work during historic strike: Picket line, collective childcare supporter and co-organizer, and building team supports.

 

Candidate Statement: 

I begin my career in MPS as a related service provider in a contracted position. Our former lead Music Therapist and biggest advocate, Amy Furman, did the groundwork to ensure Music Therapists were a protected IEP service through the union contract language. This was my first exposure to the strength and work of the union as a collective bargaining unit. I am a direct beneficiary to union work and member support. Because of that, I sat on the sidelines observing and listening to meetings and conversations while I was a contracted service provider. I did not hold the privilege of union membership, but I benefited from the union work. I was hired as a district employee through building purchase of Music Therapy in 2015. I was finally able to become a dues-paying member. While learning the new role as a teacher, I continued to listen and hear member perspectives at meetings and listened and learned about the contract bargaining process over the years.

 

It has been 6 membership years of listening to others’ perspectives and gaining strength in my own voice that I accepted the nomination to the position of a member-at-large. I appreciate the role of a listener and having direct individual conversations with stakeholders because every voice deserves a seat at the table. I’ve heard many different and loud voices over the years and have always considered myself to be a voice that felt mostly silenced by louder voices in the space. Yet, those years of listening, observing, and connecting with colleagues culminated into our historic strike on March 8, 2022. I found strength in community, encouragement from colleagues, and felt strength in my own voice rise from the collective that I did not experience before. I wish to continue in action as a member-at-large to be a more tangible presence and voice.

 

I concur with Robert Panning-Miller’s nicely worded statement:

 

“I support Greta Callahan for President and hope to continue working with her and the rest of the Executive Board.  Again, we must continue to work with parents, students, and the community to create the schools ALL our students deserve.”

JESSICA GARRAWAY

Citywide

Cadre Reserve Teacher

Years with MPS: 6 years

MFT Member: 1 year

Union Activities:

Reserve teacher for MPLS for 6 years.Current Cadre Reserve Teacher and steward. Social Studies license holder. Active in the logistics strike preparedness committee. Long time feminist, environmentalist and Black liberation activist and writer. 

 

Democratic Socialist of America Educator 

Workers Defense Alliance and Solidarity Network 

Black Table Arts Board of Directors

 

Candidate Statement: 

For the first time in over 50 years our union fought back and won some significant gains and our fight is just beginning. With economic and environmental turmoil on the horizon only a strong working class movement to take these crises on and transform society is going to suffice. We can do this through struggle and achieving key material gains such as educator pay increases and improved healthcare benefits. During the recent strike I was inspired by the solidarity I saw between BIPOC and white workers. Working to build union solidarity while protecting teachers of color in our school is my core priority.

 

As a long time climate activist I have been well aware of the crises that lay before us. While marginalized communities are the first impacted by the climate crisis, this is a threat that will touch us all. As workers flexing our collective power, we can achieve a liveable future by creating an economic system beyond capitalism that truly works for the people. As pillars of the community, we are in a unique position in our communities to create a kind of education and action that prepares our students for the times ahead. The time is now to be bold. 

 

The strike was just the beginning, and increased rank and file involvement and democracy is paramount for the advancement of our union and the communities we serve. As revolutionary socialist and Black Panther Chicago chair Fred Hampton said, 

“If you dare to struggle you dare to win!”

ALVIN JOHNSON

PHOTO OR STATEMENT NOT RECEIVED

MARY CUFF

Itinerant

Licensed School Nurse

Years with MPS: 4 years 

MFT Member: 4 years

 *Incumbent

 

Union activities:  At Large Executive Board Member 2020-present. Collective action advocate, promoter, participant, and believer.  2010 Strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.  Attended rallies, meetings, and logged many hours phone banking.  My main focus as an MNA member and patient advocate was for safe staffing and patient/nurse acuity ratios.  


Candidate Statement:

My name is Mary Cuff.  I am a licensed school nurse. Currently, I am the itinerant float nurse for the district. I go to various sites depending on staffing needs and student health concerns. Before taking my current position I worked at Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary for 3 years.

Before my time at MPS, I was an active member of the Minnesota Nurses Association for 10 years while working at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

I am excited to be running for the MFT Executive Board a second time. The last 2 years have been unprecedented without a doubt. The MFT Executive Board and our union membership have been the constant, motivational, and inspiring work for me over the last 2 years. We have grown tremendously in membership, power, and solidarity. 

I’m a caregiver with a strong passion to do difficult and honest work. MFT members are the hardest working people I know. We are stronger together and collectivley have the passion needed to keep going and fighting for the safe and stable schools our students deserve. I humbly ask for your vote to serve another term on the MFT Executive Board.  I pledge to use my strong communication skills and advocate for our teachers, nurses, social workers, our city, and most importantly our students and their families.  

I strongly support Greta Callahan for President and her Slate. I look forward to serving on the Executive Board.

SILVIA IBÁÑEZ

Emerson Spanish Immersion

Art Teacher Hi5-5th Grade

Years with MPS: 7 years

MFT Member: 7 years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: Help lead work around CDD, Latino Families Collective, LPAC, MFT
Executive Board Member 2020-Present, Strike commitment member

Candidate Statement:

I am proudly running for Executive Board for the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers as
a passionate Art Teacher who represents our students. I love working at Emerson
because I see myself in our children and they see themselves in me. It is important to me
that students feel reflected in their teachers and that members feel reflected in their
Union. I am excited to continue representing them and our members within MFT in this
leadership position.


I am passionate about working with Latino families and helping them navigate through
the educational system. I want families of color and immigrants to feel that they have a
voice within Minneapolis Public Schools and I want our members to feel they have a
voice within the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. MPS must invest more in our
teachers of color and I will fight for that as your board member.


I spent significant time organizing around the Comprehensive District Design. I have seen a process that never once included me, families or my students. I have witnessed the board moving forward with a vote, despite all evidence not to. I felt unseen, unheard,
and so did the families I work with. I will always stand up and speak out when something
isn’t right.


This strike has changed all of us and I am proud of all the work that we did together.
Being at the picket line together was an act of love, for our students, co-workers and
ourselves. Being there every morning under the cold, the rain or snow, walking, dancing
together gave me so much hope for the future. I now have a new family in my coworkers
and I know that we can fight together for better schools. This is the beginning. We won a
battle. We won protection for BIPOC educators, more mental health for our students
and a well deserved salary increase for our ESPs. I know it is not enough. All of us
deserve better, our students deserve better. I am going to keep fighting, because I know I
am a fighter and I know that I have all of you. Solidarity forever!


I fully support Greta Callahan and our slate, Moving Forward Together, and ask for your
vote in the upcoming election.

 

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MARY MANOR

PHOTO OR STATEMENT NOT RECEIVED

STEVEN MONTGOMERY

Olson Middle School

Social Studies Teacher

Years with MPS: 6 years

MFT Member: 6 years

Candidate Statement:

Greetings Members, my journey over the past six years in MPS serving the
Minneapolis community with passion and commitment has drawn me closer than
ever to all of you and to all of the wonderful members of this community. As a
black teacher who is not originally from the area, I’ve been so inspired and
galvanized by not only the strength and perseverance of our babies but also by the
advocacy of our MPS parents and my colleagues. These last two years of education
has drawn my purpose closer to me than ever before. To change and alter the way
the system is structured for our brown and black students of color and this
nomination is me hoping to be the change that I want to see. Day to day, I see so
many broken structures and gaps of inclusion that our students are forced to
navigate. Pathways that have worsened from my experience in growing up as a
black student in the inner city of Miami. From not seeing teachers that look like
them, having a district that is not invested in their community and being faced with
an achievement gap that has been consistently one of the worst gaps in the country
for the last decade. Our students have an uphill battle to fight every day when they
enter the building. While encouraging them to have a strong sense of
empowerment, perseverance, knowledge, curiosity and advocacy I also understand
that I can be that beacon of hope that I also encourage them to be. I am proud to be
a role model and a proud member of one of the strongest teacher unions in the
nation but I believe its time for me to step it up a notch. I have decided to join The
Coalition of Truth as a board member nominee because it is time that we give our
kids what they deserve. We cannot continue to fail students and lose so many of
our like-minded, hardworking and committed educators. I’m hopeful that my
nomination can cultivate revolutionary change in our schools. I’m hoping that my
nomination can restore the transparency an inclusion in our union. I’m hoping that
my nomination can help uplift our communities which have been consistently
educationally suffering. The time is now. I want to be that change.

Best,

Steve

AMAL OMAR-SAMATAR

Mona Moede

ECFE Bilingual Parent Educator

Years with MPS: 4 years

MFT Member: 2 years

Union Activities: Bargaining Team Member

Candidate Statement:

My name is Amal Omar-Samatar. I am a bilingual parent educator at ECFE. I am very passionate about what I do especially when it comes to working with immigrant families and their young children. I lead with what is best for students and families. It has been an honor to represent the Teacher Chapter as a bargaining lead for the past two years. I have learned so much about the strength of unions and the power of being united when it comes to creating safe and stable schools for our students and educators. I also believe in making sure that all voices are heard and that every student, family, and educators feels that they have the necessary tools to be successful and safe in our public schools.  I’m excited to be running for Executive Board and to serve alongside so many other talented, brave, and inspiring educators who are committed to this hard but rewarding work of serving our students, educators, and communities in ways that will positively impact us all.  

 

As an Executive Board member, I plan on supporting all educators, creating a shared vision for the future of our public education, and most importantly supporting a healthy school district culture for work and learning. I seek to make the change I want to see and that is why I am excited to take on this role.

 

I look forward to working with and empowering members in our union.  As a member of the Executive Board, I will continue to work with my colleagues to build a truly strong union, and to work with parents, students, and the community to build the schools ALL of our students deserve. I support Greta Callahan for President and our entire slate.

ROB PANNING-MILLER

South High School

Social Studies

Years with MPS: 30 years

MFT Member: 30 years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: President of MFT 59, 2006-2008; building steward, 1996 – 2006 and 2008 – present; MFT Executive Board 2010 – 2014 and 2018 - Present; Education Minnesota Governing Board 2007 – 2013; Chair of Negotiations Committee 2007 – 2008; Delegate to Education Minnesota Representative Convention multiple years; served on multiple joint union/district committees; served on Education Minnesota’s Human Rights Committee; REACH Caucus, 5 years.

 

Candidate Statement: 

As a probationary teacher in the early 1990s, my building steward, Irv Smith, encouraged me to be involved in the union.  Shortly after I was tenured, I volunteered to be a union steward at South, and I have been an active union member ever since.  The work we do with our students, families, and community is made better by the work we do in our union. 

 

This year’s strike was the strongest display of our union’s strength and solidarity in over 50 years.  What we accomplished is historic.  Students, parents, and community members stood with us on the line.  We won protections for BIPOC educators, more mental health supports for our students, and dramatic wage increases for our ESPs.

 

This, however, is just the beginning.  We must build on this effort, learn from our mistakes, and strengthen our relationships with families and communities.  We must continue to confront systemic racism in our classrooms, our schools, our community, and our union. 

 

This strike also produced some indirect outcomes that are important to foster.  Walking the picket line with colleagues we rarely were able to talk to in the buildings, allowed us to develop new friendships and a greater feeling of solidarity.  It’s much easier to brave the cold and fight for one another when we know each other better.  That has to continue.  We also witnessed more rank-and-file members finding their voice and stepping into positions of leadership.  On the Executive Board, I will continue to listen and work to support greater member engagement.

 

I support Greta Callahan for President and hope to continue working with her and the rest of the Executive Board.  Again, we must continue to work with parents, students, and the community to create the schools ALL of our students deserve.

MATT PELLOWSKI

Davis Center

PAR Mentor

Years with MPS: 8 years 

MFT Member: 8 years

 

Union Activities: MFT 59 Member Organizer since July 2021, CAT for Davis Center 2021-present, Co-Strike Captain of Davis Center

 

Candidate Statement:

My name is Matt Pellowski and I hope to be Moving Forward Together with Greta and the rest of the slate as a member of the Joint Executive Board.  After years of enjoying the benefits of being in our union, last July I wanted to do some more of the work of MFT59.  I joined the member organizing team and learned much more about how different people experience our union as teachers, ESPs, and related service professionals through phone calls, texts, e-mails, and face-to-face conversations.  I also learned about all the different teams of ESPs and teachers at the Davis Center from being one of the strike captains there.  I believe my leadership helped unify the Davis Center which will lead to better outcomes for teachers and students.  Now that the strike is over, I would like to continue union work by serving on the Joint Executive Board.

I have unique experiences having been both a Special Education Resource Teacher and a TOSA/PAR Mentor in MPS.  I have seen how MPS’s decision-making makes changes in individuals and on a district-wide level.  As a PAR Mentor, I believe that listening is one of my assets.  If I were to be on the Joint Executive Board, I would continue to listen to members’ concerns and act on them through voting and other work on the JEB.

Please support Greta Callahan for President and our slate Moving Forward Together.  We are coming together to make our union stronger than ever!

ARIELLE ROCCA

PHOTO OR STATEMENT NOT RECEIVED

LORETTA VANPELT

Whittier Elementary

Special Education Teacher

Years with MPS: 7 years

MFT Member: 7 years

Union Activities: Union Steward

 

Candidate Statement:

I have been in the district for seven years four of those years I was an ESP, and I am now a licensed Teacher in my second year at Whittier Elementary.  I have served as a steward in both my ESP and teaching positions.  I advocate for both my co-workers and my students.

I have witnessed what a union can do when the force of the folks who make the union show what kind of power we have. 

I am running for an at large Executive Board position, and want to continue the momentum that we have had for the last two years.  

Is this union perfect? No, but with all of us working together for the common good, we can continue to make the fundamental changes that will strengthen our union.  

That is why with your vote I want to Move Forward with you and make sure we can win all that can be won!  

So vote for Loretta VanPelt, for Executive Board At Large.

DAN TROCOLI

North High School

Social Studies

Years with MPS: 5 years

MFT Member: 4 years

 

Union Activities: Steward; Contract Action CoChair, Logistics - Strike Preparedness Committee, MFT Union Summer Organizing Drive, Seattle Education Association: Board of Directors, Substitute VP, Grievance Review Commission Chair, MLK County Labor Council Representative, Washington Education Association delegate, NEA delegate, WEA Grievance I&II training, WEA Negotiations training. Democratic Socialists of America Educators

Candidate Statement:

We are at a crossroads. In our union, public school system, and society. COVID laid bare existing inequities capitalism has wrought upon our students and families. The crises we now face will only be overcome through a new movement of working class struggle and educator unions can play a critical role in this fight. As a teacher at North I work with a community hit hard by racism, poverty, and police brutality. As a socialist I see the need to build on the momentum we have right now to transform the power dynamic that exists between the wealthy forces in our city who would keep us divided and keep the working poor down, connecting MFT issues to community concerns. We have high expectations for what our students deserve. We had to compromise to end our strike but my experience tells me our historic strike is just the BEGINNING of something huge.

 

My involvement leading a successful teacher strike in Seattle in 2015 gave me knowledge and skills that I was able to apply to our strike and there is a lot to say about how our strike could have gone better. We have only begun to exercise our collective power and socialist ideas are worth debating. Rank and file members have a responsibility and a right to decide the direction of our union. Democracy in our union is crucial!

 

Having served on the executive board of the SEA, I know the responsibilities of this role. I think it's crucial to elevate the voices of members and focus our union efforts on issues that affect the material lives of our school families. We need to create committees or working groups of members empowered to work on issues of concern to not only our members, but the community too, involving them. MFT must build deep relationships with our community if we are to win our goals of a living wage, providing real SEL supports, and pushing back on systemic racism in public schools.

 

The time is now, for so much more! SOLIDARITY!

LINDSEY WEST

Barton

5th Grade

Years with MPS: 10 years

MFT Member: 10 years

 *Incumbent

 

Union Activities: Steward, Strike Captain, MFT Committee Work, and Current Executive Board Member

Candidate Statement:

My name is Lindsey West.  I am a fifth grade teacher at Barton community school in Southwest Minneapolis. I have been teaching in Minneapolis Public Schools for 10 years and have been a Mft union member since day one. When it comes to the union I’ve been very active with regards to Covid safety and protocols. I also served as a strike captain, in addition to being a teacher executive board member for a little under 2 years. So why pick me? Well, I feel like I am someone who is willing to fight for what I believe in. Even if it’s not a popular opinion, I’ll speak my truth with those I represent and the district. Like many of you, my love for the students and the community I serve make me fierce, determined, and loyal. I feel like as a union we are just getting started and I’d love to help. Let’s continue to take back our schools for staff and students. 

DR. MARCIA WYATT

Hall STEM Academy

Second Grade

Years with MPS: 30+ years

MFT Member: 30+ years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: Executive Board Member; REA Representative; NEA Representative; Building Steward; Strike Captain; Regional Strike Captain

 

Candidate Statement:

The last two and a half years have brought with it – CHOICES-CHALLENGES- and CHANGE!  Some CHOICES were made willingly and some we were forced.  There were many CHALLENGES (both positive and negative) that presented themselves as a result of the CHOICES we had to made. Our recent Strike in the end created MOVEMENT and MOMENTS  that are continuing to lead to CHANGE!  None of this has come without sorrow, sacrifice and struggle.  Moving forward will require us to make even more CHOICES, face more CHALLENGES and push to create even more CHANGE.  It will require as a song by Michael Jackson – each one of us taking a look at the “Man (Woman) in the Mirror”.  Yes there have been mistakes made, yes there has been knowledge  gained . Yes, this was a major learning experience for us all! Yes, eyes have been opened and blinders removed. Yes, we fell down, but we are getting back up.  It hasn’t been easy, but change is never easy.  When we know better, we do better! And we know that we have to do better on many levels.  I am asking for the opportunity to continue this challenging work that has we have begun.  I want to continue to represent this Union who STOOD IN UNITY AND SOLIDARITY – even in the hardest of moments – we lifted one another up, we fought for students, families, schools, communities, and mostly for the respect we so rightly desire!  We have more CHOICES to make, as our union faces more CHALLENGES. We must continue fighting together for the CHANGE ---the EDUCATION and SCHOOLS our students deserve.  As you are making your choice for leadership of our union please consider me for the Executive Board.

 

Blessings for you!

 

Joint MRLF Chair

CANDIDATE FOR MRLF CHAIR

REBECCA MILLER

ECSE @ Wilder

Speech Language Pathologist

Years with MPS: 29 years
MFT Member: 29 years

 *Incumbent

Union Activities: Building Steward, Legislative committee, COPE treasurer, MRLF delegate and COPE committee member, MRLF Chair on MFT Executive Board, ECSE Strike Captain, Regional Strike Captain for Wilder programs and ECFE

Candidate Statement:

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. One of my goals as MRLF Chair is to work with MRLF after debriefing on our recent strike to build on our success and learning from our struggles, by improving our overall strike preparedness in the areas of structural organization,  planning and communication, with a special focus on the strike fund.  

 

I am excited to continue my work on the MFT EB.  I am a strong voice representing all members and our students.  As MRLF Chair, I not only represent licensed staff, but also 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.

 

Because of my work with MRLF, I value and understand the importance of MFT having strong relationships with the unions in our Minneapolis community.  We all saw this in the support our fellow unions provide during our strike.  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. 

 

Please vote to keep our union Moving Forward Together.

CANDIDATE FOR MRLF CHAIR

SARAH SPLEISS

North High School 

English Teacher

Years with MPS: 1 year

MFT Member: 1 year

Union Activities: Strike Committee member

Candidate Statement:

Hello Everyone,

My name is Sarah Spleiss and I am running for the MRLF Chair position. I am new to MFT, however in my previous school district I was an executive board member with AHEM (Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota) for six years. During that time I was also the Government Relations Chair, where I worked closely with MRLF to screen school board candidates seeking endorsement and to then also help run their successful campaigns once we did decide to endorse them. We also worked together to screen candidates who were seeking election in the  House and Senate seats as well and also help with those election campaigns. I also served on the Education Minnesota PAC board for two years.

 

I have always been very passionate about being involved in the union; collective power is the most effective way to create the greatest amount of change. I am an activist to the core and that shows up not only in my union involvement but in my classroom as well where the focus is to empower my students' and encourage them to use their voice for change.

 

It was pivotal during our strike that we had the support from our brothers and sisters of other affiliate unions. Due to MRLF, those connections were possible. I would love to continue to cultivate and grow those relationships as MFT continues to grow, and evolve in our power and voice.

Teacher Chapter MRLF Delegates

Alphabetical by last name. Vote for up to 8.

Sharita Benson

Natasha Dockter

Maureen Dowling

Alvin Johnson

Anne Lewerenz

Caroline Long

Charles Luter

Alexis Mann

Jose Rodriguez

Toby Schroder

Dan Troccoli

Marcus Washington

ANNE LEWERENZ

Extended Learning

Teacher GEMS & GISE DPF

Years with MPS: 29 years

MFT Member: 29 years

Union Activities: Strike Loan Committee, Active on the Line at Davis including Saturdays, former Teacher 1st Vice President, MFT Chair for MRLF, Chair of Legislative & COPE Committees, Ex Board member, negotiations sub-committees and main team, elected representative at multiple EDMN and AFT conferences and AFT & EDMN ERD Trainer- multiple years since 1993.

 

Candidate Statement:

After being actively involved in multiple elected and volunteer roles with MFT, I took a hiatus of several years to pursue my doctorate.  I am now Dr. Lewerenz so it is time to return to volunteering with MFT to support our vision and goals for public education.  I have two desired outcomes in my volunteer work with MFT as I run for a MRLF delegate position; continue to build on collaboration between MFT and our brothers & sisters in the larger labor movement.  There is power in our  numbers and we are far from done fighting for a living wage, good benefits and respect for our work across both public education and the broader community of Minneapolis and Minnesota. MFT’s strike for safe and stable schools was not the first picket line I walked on. MFT’s labor action (Strike) was actively supported by a wide range of other unions and labor organizations; strengthening collaboration and partnership between unions across the metro area makes all unions stronger.

 

The other area of union work I hope to volunteer in is revitalizing union teacher led professional development.  Earlier in my career, MFT had a host of union led professional development opportunities that I took full advantage of that are not currently offered to MFT members.  I am a National Board Certified Teacher because MFT supported cohorts of teachers pursuing this certification and negotiated language in our contract to support us.  In collaboration with the AFT, MFT had a strong cadre of teachers offering ERD (Education Research & Dissemination)  courses for relicensure, propay, college credit, etc.  I know within the ranks of MFT teachers there are others ready to take on the challenge of achieving National Board Certification and provide union led professional development that teachers choose based on their professionally determined needs. It is time to end the one size fits all, we know best attitude and return instructional decision making to those in the classrooms with students- the teachers!

 

In Solidarity, I respectfully ask for your vote.

 

Dr. Anne Lewerenz, NBCT & EdD