2022 ELECTION CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

CANDIDATES

OFFICER POSITIONS

President

Fred Short

Fred Short

Vote Fred Short, first name on ballot!

Votes for CTA President/Chief Negotiator must be RECEIVED by 1pm on 4/4/22.

I listen, remembering that bargaining decisions affect your family’s financial future. Hire me to move our union forward, bringing back democracy for members with dues-dollar-transparency. I’ll use my experience, skills, and law degree to bring the fight for higher wages and professional respect for teachers to the district.

In 2019, teachers stood together, voting down a salary offer because the union could do better. It’s time to choose who will LEAD, not follow OCPS rhetoric and intimidation. My law degree and bargaining experience make me the best candidate to lead CTA.

I’ve stood before 10,000 national delegates passing new business. I am a negotiator, mediator, and leader who believes in the power and unity of our teachers to get things done.

Your vote means A New Day for CTA!

linktr.ee/fred4prez

 

Clinton McCracken

Clinton McCracken

I’m excited to be a candidate for Orange CTA President! I have decades of experience as an educator, community organizer, union leader, and advocate that have prepared me to lead our union into the next chapter.

 

I believe in the power of our united strength and I have experienced solidarity making a difference. I also believe in respectful dialog and I’m ready to bring us together, grow our union and continue to serve our membership with commitment, strength and passion. Public education is under attack in Florida and we must work together to secure higher salaries and improve our working conditions. There is much work to be done and I’m ready to take it on.

 

I ask for your vote so we can move CTA forward together. Visit ctabettertogether.com and join our list by texting bettertogether to 877-768-0424. We are ready to work for you for a better future!

 

Phyllis Mills

Phyllis Mills

In the past 6 years, as CTA Vice President, you have spoken; I have listened.  As Vice President  I have been attending AR and Board meetings.  During those meetings, you have expressed a need to keep Insurance costs minimal.  As chair of the Fringe committee, I have worked tirelessly on your behalf.  I know that our members want to be duly compensated for their positions.  I know that AR’s would like to see breakout sessions in our meetings restored.  As Vice President, I have had the opportunity to Chair the contact committee which has given expert knowledge of the grievance process and the Contract between CTA and OCPS.  I have also been a bargaining team member.  I have been a Governance Director and member of the By-laws committee.  As President I will continue to fight for your rights by restoring and continuing to build our Union with a collective voice.

 

Vice President

Dawn Zimmerman

Dawn Zimmerman

Greetings Fellow OCCTA Members! I'm Dawn Zimmerman, and I am running to become your OCCTA Vice President. Through my years of service, I have served as OCCTA Secretary, HS Director, and as a Committee Member of the Budget, Membership, and Elections Committees, as well as a member of FCPE. I am also an AFT Leadership Trainee and FEA trained Republican Cadre Representative. I have and will continue to listen to members to represent you while serving on the OCCTA Board. As Vice President, I will ensure each member is represented and heard, receiving the deserved and desired transparency, while our union grows in both number and negotiation strength in order to work with OCPS for better raises, better working conditions, and respectful treatment. To rebuild and restore our union, vote Dawn Zimmerman for OCCTA Vice President.

 

Maira Rivera

Maira Rivera

Maira Rivera, proud educator for 28 years.  I am running for OCCTA Vice President in order to advocate for all dedicated and inspiring instructional staff to have fair wages, better working conditions, affordable health care and benefits.  I have been a dedicated union member for 25 years.  I am currently the AR at my school, the OCCTA Elementary Director, and FAC Chair.  I am also an Executive Board Member for the Central Florida AFL-CIO Labor Council and for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.  I am eager to serve as your Vice President and promise to do my best in strengthening our union and fighting for what members of our collective bargaining unit deserve.  I ask for your support in voting for me and the CTA Better Together Team.

 

Secretary

Ladara Royal

Ladara Royal

Ladara Royal, a proven and zealous leader, experienced urban educator, facilitator, and clinician.  Ladara has focused his passions on urban educational leadership, diversity and inclusion, educator activism, and minority student achievement. Ladara has demonstrated his leadership abilities by serving on FAC, SAC, FCPE Committee, Safety Committee, an AR, and CBLT member for OCCTA—representing on the local and state levels. During the 2020-2021 school year, Ladara Royal participated in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Teacher Leadership Program and was one of the plaintiffs from a group of educators and parents in conjunction with the Florida Teachers Association who sued the Florida Department of Education and Governor Ron DeSantis over health and safety. As Secretary, I will work to UNITE and FIGHT for ALL our members, including the out of classroom and district resource members. Let us VOTE the BETTER TOGETHER TEAM. We are experienced and ready to lead. 

 

Meghan Kramer

Meghan Kramer

Meghan Kramer is a School Social Worker currently serving the West Learning Community. Meghan has been with OCPS for 5 years and is passionate about supporting students and families. Prior to OCPS, Meghan served as a Renal Dialysis Social Worker as well as a Victim Advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Meghan got into the field of social work because of her passion for helping others, but has always held a love for writing as well. She received a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University and currently chairs and is the main editor of the newsletter committee of her department in OCPS. Meghan has long been passionate about using her skills to help others, and would be honored to do so as CTA Secretary.

 

Treasurer

Ashley Modesto

Ashley Modesto

Teaching has been the “family business” since I can remember. I spent my childhood helping get classrooms prepared for the new year, being a test subject for the newest techniques, and listening to endless hours of teacher talk. I’m proud to be a teacher and to follow in the footsteps of so many family members who make this career amazing. I’ve been a proud union member since my first year in the classroom and have had the opportunity to serve on the following committees: FCPE (chair), Government Relations, Contract, Budget, and Elections. My goal serving as the treasurer of the union will be to ensure the continued good financial health of our budget. I have a background in higher mathematics and continue to further my own education fueling my passion as a lifelong learner. I promise to serve to the best of my ability for a union that I love.

 

Sandy Thuringer

Sandy Thuringer

My name is Sandy Thuringer and I am running for Treasurer. I have been with OCCTA since I was hired. My previous experience in accounting, human resources, and as an apartment manager, have given me an extensive background that will make me a responsible and practical treasurer. My mission is to ensure that there is a balanced budget, that the audits are accurate and viable, and that AR’s have a voice. My experience on different committees (SAC, FAC, Virtual School (Ad-hoc) Committee) has made me aware of how to work within confines and make something happen! It will be my pleasure to help ensure that our Orange County Classroom Teachers Union is the most budget conscious while having a clear and consice accounting system. Let me capture your vote for a brighter future! You can count on $andy!

 

DIRECTOR POSITIONS

 

High School Director

Oscar Cueto

Oscar Cueto

During my time as an educator, I have seen great injustices towards the field of education. I believe this needs to change, and the first step is creating a stronger union. I want to make sure that our members voices are heard.  The R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Slate can make this happen.

 

Clay Phillips

(No submission)

 

Daphne Lewis

Daphne Lewis

I am passionate about the future of education and most importantly the advocacy for students and fighting the “good fight” for ALL members of the bargaining unit.  As High School Director, I will be one of the many positive voices to represent and support teachers by moving our union forward.

 

Gretchen Robinson

Gretchen Robinson

Gretchen Robinson, Reading teacher, GSA sponsor and AR at University HS.  Air Force veteran and forceful public speaker.  20 years teaching at-risk students; 12 years with OCPS; 4 years as an AR; a lifetime of advocacy and public service.  Proud to serve and fight for teachers and students!

 

Middle School/K-8 Director

Alan Rasmussen

Alan Rasmussen

Our members are of utmost importance. We must be transparent. We are a teacher organization. We must ensure that their voices are heard and their input valued. I want to ensure that OCCTA is a union that everyone looks to and trusts.

 

Deborah Newlan

Deborah Newlan

Elect me for Middle School Director!  I am dedicated to building our union and helping all of us s. A long time AR, I know communication and transparency are key. Let’s create a strong, vibrant union dedicated to keeping open and honest communication to elevate all members.

 

Shane Johnson

Shane Johnson

Shane Johnson, twenty-two years in Orange County.  Professional School Counselor at Conway Middle with previous elementary experience.  Current President of the Orange County School Counselors Association and member of the school FAC.  MA in Mental Health Counseling at UCF.  Passionate about unity and solidarity amongst teachers and counselors.

 

Erika Altensee

Erika Altensee

Erika Altensee has been an active CTA member and teacher at Blankner K-8 school since 2007. As Middle School/K8 Director, she will strive to strengthen union membership and develop regular and focused opportunities for collaboration within the K-8 umbrella to support the unique needs of the K-8 setting. 

 

Sarah Yelensky

Sarah Yelensky

Sarah Yelensky, CTA member since 2002, AR over 10 years, FAC member, Instructional leader, dedicated advocate for teachers. Excited to grow our membership and develop systems to engage and support new members as Middle/K8 Director. Committed to representing teachers and strengthening our Union. We are Better Together. ctabettertogether.com

 

Rhea Parks-Smith

Rhea Parks-Smith

I believe being a board member is an act of Service, and it would be my honor to serve you. My goal is to RESTORE Hope, Transparency, and Service to our membership. To build meaningful partnerships, and create an atmosphere of mutual respect with all.

 

Elementary School Director

Colleen Fenton

Colleen Fenton

Colleen Fenton, ESE Resource Teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School. Teacher for 24 years, 19 years in OCPS. Bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders and Masters' degree in Varying Exceptionalities. CTA member for many years, have been an AR at my school. I am dependable and ready to represent our members' voices.

 

Bonnie Cox

Bonnie Cox

Durability. Strength. Dependability. Collaboration. Help move our union forward: www.ctabettertogether.com As a former AR and FAC Chairperson, I have observed the disconnect across our district. Our team will work to elevate our schools, our students, and our communities. One team. One vision. One district. The only choice for your vote.

 

Irish Angelica Burrage

Irish Angelica Burrage

Hi! I’m Irish Angelica Burrage. I am hoping to serve and support you as your Elementary School Director. I will use my experience and skills (AR, Resource Teacher, DCTL, member of OCPS Curriculum and Writing Team, NCTE member, University of Cambridge (UK) graduate) to get what we deserve as educators.

 

Lannie Alvarez

Lannie Alvarez

 

David Weisberg

(No submission)

 

Megan Brown

Megan Brown

I am running for Elementary Director to help CTA remain strong.  I have been an AR, as well as the current facilitator for the CTA Teacher Leaders Program and love to help empower other teachers. Check us out at ctabettertogether.com and vote for me to help move CTA forward.

 

Technical Center Director

Amy Trickey

Amy Trickey

My name is Amy Trickey and I have been in education for 16 years and a union member for over 10 years. I believe in being part of the change! The stronger we are as a union, the more changes we can make for teachers. So please vote!

 

Blair Szeto

Blair Szeto

As the CTA Technical Center Director, I plan on making CTE voices heard. We face many different challenges, and I want to ensure we are all represented equally in our union. Along with team R.E.S.T.O.R.E., we can create meaningful change in our schools.

 

Special Education Director

Erin Bush

I am Erin Bush, 22-year veteran teacher, 13-year veteran ESE teacher. I seek to represent our ESE educators within OCPS. I also seek to give ESE educators a voice within the county. I ask for your vote to represent you in YOUR union.

 

Amy Modesto

Amy Modesto

As your ESE director, I will commit to strengthening and empowering our members to build on successes from the last six years. I served 5 years as AR and Lead AR, am the Chair of the OCCTA Minority Affairs and a member of FCPE, GR, Budget and ESE committees. CTAbettertogether.com

 

At Large Director

Kathryn Crichlow

Kathryn Crichlow

Kathryn “Katy” Crichlow, seven years with Orange County. Art Teacher at Windermere High School with previous elementary experience. Lead AR at Windermere for past 2 years. Bachelor’s of Fine Art at UCF, currently in Master’s of Art Education program at UF. Passionate about unity and Solidarity among teachers.

 

Steven Ocasio 

Steven Ocasio

I would describe myself as someone who has extensive experience and who has a passion for labor rights and justice.   As Director At Large I would represent the views of our membership faithfully and act in their best interest in all discussions and decisions ensuring that their voices are heard.

 

Adam Whitmer

Adam Whitmer

Our union under attack by opponents using every available weapon to weaken our organization beyond repair. The R.E.S.T.O.R.E. slate stands prepared to fight these efforts, recognizing the real issues affecting our members and taking bold action to protect our livelihoods. Elect Adam Whitmer At-Large Director to join this fight.

 

Amy Swederski

Amy Swederski

I’m a dedicated ESE high school teacher and proud member of OCCTA and AR.  I was a Top 5 Finalist for OCPS TOY, serve as the chair of the CTA ESE Committee, Special Olympics Coach, and volunteer with Autism on the Seas. I’m excited to build a Better OCCTA Together! 

 

Itinerant Instructional Personnel Director

Melina Paiewonsky

(No submission)

 

Sheryl Posey

Sheryl Posey

Sheryl Posey, School Psychologist for 20 years, with OCPS for six. Chair of the Government Relations Committee, Secretary for the OCFPE committee, AR, and Membership Committee member. Mom of three. Fierce advocate for teachers and students. It would be an honor to serve you in this new role!