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Candidates in PSEA statewide elections

PSEA statewide elections to be held at the May House of Delegates. Candidate statements appear below in alphabetical order.

 

Candidates in PSEA statewide elections

President (elect 1); Vice President (elect 1); Treasurer (elect 1); NEA State Director (elect 3);

Pension Plan Director (elect 1); NEA Alternate State Director (elect 7)

PSEA statewide elections to be held at the May House of Delegates. Candidate statements appear below in alphabetical order.

Richard W. Askey, candidate for PSEA president

For centuries writers and philosophers and statesmen and scientists have talked about the future and weighed in on what it had in store. In PSEA, we have an amazing history to be proud of.  We fought for and gained collective bargaining rights.  We stood strong against attacks on public education and public-school employees and we championed every positive change in public education for the benefit of our students, our colleagues and our communities. That history informs our present and our future.

The key word in the above is WE.  And now we must lead into an unknown future.  Let me tell you what my vision is for PSEA and what I think that means for our future.  With the Janus decision, we must grow, strengthen and engage our membership as never before.  I see a PSEA where every member-every voice adds together in one unified call to action.  Member-to member, we must work across the state to advocate for our members, our professions and our students. 

My first goal is to engage our members more directly.  We can do this through an increased use of social media.  As our membership evolves, so too must PSEA.  We can reach our members more individually, with more focused content and more often.  Meeting our members where they live and work, will become our norm.  We can tailor the services we provide based upon our members’ needs.  We can highlight the great things our members do in every public school across Pennsylvania.  Advocacy at the local, state and national level has been, and will continue to be, a main source of our collective strength. 

My second goal is to work to strengthen and promote our bipartisan relationship with lawmakers and to increase the number of education friendly legislators.  This starts at the local school board level and reaches both Harrisburg and Washington.  By doing so, we increase the likelihood of achieving fair and equitable funding and of seeing legislation passed that supports our members and our students.  We begin with a renewed effort to build strong community partnerships, where we nurture the next generation of political leaders.  As a union, we have certain core principles that we follow: solidarity, improving lives, social justice, dignity, a living wage and protecting jobs through advocacy and continuing to fight for just cause language. When PSEA members stick together, we achieve better results, better wages, better benefits, better working conditions, and better outcomes for our students and communities. 

My third goal is to bring the positive message of unionism to our members. In all our publications, group meetings and in all our personal interactions with members, we should address the issue of union values. The salaries we have, the benefits we enjoy, the job protections we rely on have not been given to us.  They have been won through the struggles of our union brothers and sisters who came before us.  It is our responsibility to pass the message of unionism on to the next generation of union leaders. 

I know that my experience as a tested leader, and my vision for the future of PSEA has led me to this point. As your Treasurer, your Vice President, and now your President, I have seen your power and your strength and what we have accomplished as the most powerful voice for public education in Pennsylvania. There will be obstacles to overcome and challenges yet to face, but I know that our collective perseverance and resilience will lead us through both as we move forward together, I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve you and this great organization. 

Korri J. Brown, candidate for PSEA vice president

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

(Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

I am Korri Brown, and I am ready to lead, serve, and empower.  I am asking for your support of my candidacy for PSEA Vice President.

As professional educators, we have committed ourselves to the students and communities we serve.  There are many reasons why we have been called to a career in education.  The most important one, the one that unites and inspires us, is our students. 

Prior to being appointed PSEA Vice President, it was my distinct honor to have served as an officer of my local association and as the Southeastern Region President.  Together, we strived to improve the learning conditions for the students, to ensure delivery of relevant curriculum that prepares our students for the future, and to establish better working conditions for our members.  We worked with our community members and encouraged them to become our partners in public education.  These fights are ongoing, and we will never give up.  Public education is too important for us to ever give up!

We will continue to fight for our support personnel.  These are the men and women whose critical work keeps our schools open and running smoothly, who assist our students throughout the day, who feed our students, and who safely transport them.  Their contributions are imperative to the success of our students and schools.  We value their jobs, and will continue to fight for our support personnel, especially against subcontracting.

What unite us are the challenges we face from those who disrespect our commitment to public education; those whose mission it is to divide and destroy what we have built together.  We stand in solidarity through collective bargaining to ensure every school employee maintains the protections of their agreements, which allows them to focus on what matters most, our students. We also stand collectively with our brothers and sisters in labor to ensure legislation enacted does not erode the rights of our students, our members and our communities.

The office of PSEA Vice President is an honor, and I am proud to serve in this position. The PSEA Board of Directors, after a difficult and heartbreaking loss, elected me to represent our union in this capacity as we continue to carry out the mission, vision and goals we all hold closely.  Your support as I enter this new chapter in my career has been extraordinary, and is much appreciated.

It is my goal to represent the 181,000 members of our union with the utmost integrity, passion and commitment.  Anticipating and facing the numerous various attacks against public education, against public sector employees and against organized labor will continue to be arduous.  I stand ready to continue the fight for what is right, along with you and other leaders from across the state.  We will continue to advocate for the full funding of Pennsylvania’s schools and against privatization.  We will continue to engage legislators in support of pro-public education legislation and policies.  We will continue the fight to protect our pensions and to preserve collective bargaining.  We will do this, side by side.  By working together, anything is possible!

I am Korri Brown.  Ready to lead, ready to serve, and ready to empower.  Please join me in the fight for the students we all care about and the vision that unites us!  I humbly ask for your support at the May PSEA House of Delegates as I seek a full term as your PSEA Vice President.  Thank you. 

Tracey L. Hart, candidate for PSEA vice president

As I walk into my classroom each day as a teacher, mother, wife, daughter, and active PSEA member, I truly love what I do. 

I knew very little about this amazing organization we call the Pennsylvania State Education Association when I first started in the classroom.  As I was getting started in my new career, trusted colleagues took me under their wing and introduced me to the union. 

My career began 28 years ago in a learning support classroom. I taught kindergarten through third grade learning support, as well as itinerant emotional support across our district for kindergarten through twelfth grade. I currently teach third-grade at Central Elementary in Franklin, Pennsylvania.

I love this profession and will do everything in my power to make sure that public education remains strong in Pennsylvania.

Through my commitment to PSEA, I have worked diligently and have taken advantage of the important trainings that have been provided to me. PSEA has not only enhanced my knowledge of what it means to work together toward a common goal, but it also helped me grasp the potential of the collective power we hold as educators in Pennsylvania. That knowledge has allowed me to work to improve conditions for association members at the local, region, and state level, as well as the students we all serve. 

My commitment to Franklin Area Education Association has compelled me to serve in a variety of positions from building representative to Strike Committee Chair to vice president and ultimately, president.

As the current Northwestern Region President, I have led our members to become a powerful collective voice for our profession.  We understand this process is on-going and will strive to continue to make our region a place where all voices are heard. 

My passion to serve our association provided me with the honor of serving at the state level as Vice Chair of the Leadership Development Committee and co-coordinator of the Women’s Leadership Cadre. As a member of PSEA Board of Directors, l am the liaison to the Leadership Development Committee and Personnel Committee.

PSEA helped me find my voice and taught me how to use it to improve public education for our students, educators, and communities.  This association has provided me the opportunity to grow as an educator and leader. PSEA doesn’t owe me anything – in fact, it is quite the opposite: I owe it everything! That feeling is one of the reasons I am motivated to run for this office. PSEA has taught me to be a leader and to advocate for all our members. I have learned our voices matter, that they can have a huge impact on the greater good, and that we must be willing to use those voices - even if what we have to say isn’t what our adversaries want to hear. Leadership is both rewarding and tough at the same time, and the work is never done. I promise to put in the work that will get us through the difficult times and allow us to enjoy the rewarding times.  PSEA is strong and needs to remain strong, because public education, our students, and our communities are depending on us.

 I am asking for your trust and support as we continue to do great work together, as a team, for the good of all 181,000 PSEA members. I look forward to meeting many of you and working together to do what is best for our kids and our members. I would be honored to have your support and vote as I seek the position of Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. 

Jeffery D. Ney, candidate for PSEA treasurer

What a difference a year makes. The changes in all our lives from a year ago can’t simply be counted or made into a list. We have all grown, celebrated, and cried, but thankfully, we have done these things together. The main lesson I have learned over the past year is that together, we are all stronger. In the position of PSEA Treasurer, I have met incredible people, shared in wonderful events, and watched as our members continue to inspire their students and fellow members to be the absolute best they can be in the world of public education. Nothing would make me happier than if you allow me to continue this journey as your PSEA Treasurer.

Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent seven years studying courage and leadership has said, “A leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding the potential in people and processes.” These leaders may not have a title or an official office within their local Association, but they are leaders because they are changing the future of public education with their ideas, lessons, and discussions with others. It’s the teams they are on, the groups of people they engage with, the connections they have with others that define, form and move our Association for the betterment of public education. PSEA has leaders in a variety of roles in our schools.  We have amazing leaders in our classrooms, cafeterias, busses, nurse’s offices, hallways, and in every corner of our public schools. These leaders are creating a better future for our schools by working together. This is the future I want to be a part of in PSEA.

From my very first rep council meeting, I knew there was nothing that was beyond our reach, if we worked together. I have always known that surrounding myself with great people would lead to monumental results. As I moved through the leadership roles of our union, I have met and collaborated with like-minded individuals whose goals were the betterment of the Association and to improve public education at every level. The processes that we use in our Association are a living and breathing part of what we do. Without following them, and in some cases, changing them to meet the ever-changing needs of our membership, we would fall apart. Recognizing when change is needed and the people who represent that change is another key to leadership. Lifting people up to reach their potential and accomplish their vision helps everyone. That has always been my goal in every position I’ve held.  No one can do it alone. We are all stronger together.

Being Treasurer is more than just numbers, budgets, and vouchers. This position is where local treasurers go to answer questions that their members have about dues, finances and membership. It’s a team effort.  And that team has a goal to help the others in their local and give them the confidence and security that their dues are being used to move the Association forward for the betterment of everyone.  Helping others, raising them up, answering the questions members have is truly rewarding. I would be honored to continue work with these members, PSEA’s elite officer team, awe-inspiring Board of Directors, and indispensable staff to provide the resources all our members need. 

I would be grateful for your support in allowing me to continue finding the potential in our membership by being your PSEA Treasurer for another two years. 

Melva S. Vogler, candidate for PSEA pension plan director

Melva S. Vogler seeks reelection as PSEA Pension Plan Director. Mel is chair of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System and has been on the PSERS Board since 1994 (25 years).  During that time, she gained considerable knowledge concerning investments and pension issues. She participated in numerous educational sessions at Harvard University in Cambridge and at the University of California at Berkeley. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teacher Retirement Systems and was president of NCTR in 2008. In 2008, she was also a member of the 7 person Executive Committee of NIRS (National Institute for Retirement Security) and worked to establish the research “think tank” to promote pension issues. She was president of Northeastern Region and a member of the PSEA Board of Directors from 1988 to 2004 and served on PSEA’s Budget Committee during that time. Mel was Math Department Chair at Wallenpaupack Area High School and president of the Wallenpaupack Area Education Association. Currently, she is retired and a member of PSEA-R.   

Nancy M. Behe, candidate for NEA state director

When I was in ninth grade I was introduced to Union Activism by my mother. Disappointed with the working conditions and pay restrictions at her place of employment, she led the organization of a union for her coworkers and herself. Mom held meetings in our living room, asking me to type the minutes. I watched while the group became stronger and eventually, I witnessed the birth of a strong union that still exists today. At the age of 14, I saw first hand the strength and benefits that come with the hard work involved in creating and maintaining strong Unionism. My father, a lifetime AFSCME member and leader, also embedded the strong Union voice in my soul and the passion for the benefits of Unionism that continue to guide my career choices as an adult.

I have been a teacher for over 25 years working as a Vocational Education teacher in several schools across Pennsylvania. I teach at the Greater Johnstown School District in the Central-Western region, holding leadership positions both locally and regionally. Locally I have served as Building Representative, Head Building Representative, Grievance Chair, President, Vice-President, PACE Committee Member, and Negotiations Committee Member. My Regional involvement includes serving as Secretary, and a member of the LDC Committee and currently the PACE Chair and a member of the PSEA PACE Board. I regularly attend trainings and workshops organized by PSEA including Gettysburg’s annual conference.

A distinct honor for me was being able to serve as a local coordinator for NEA’s Education Funding Works initiative. Our mission was to let the public know how important education funding is to the success of our students. I had many great conversations with people in my community and region about the value of education and the critical nature of state funding to support our students. As a result, local interest in education funding was a primary factor in the 2018 elections.

Maintaining my Union Activism, I am also a member of the Johnstown/Somerset Labor Council, a membership I value to continue to support my Union Brothers and Sisters outside of the PSEA and NEA organization.

I have an M.Ed in Education and an M.A. in Employment and Labor Relations from Indiana University of PA. I am a member of my county Democratic Executive team where I advocate for pro-education candidates, in a bipartisan effort. I openly advocate for educational issues, doing what is right for our students, our districts, and our colleagues.

Becoming a leader in our member-driven Organization motivates me to continue this advocacy on a National level, representing our 181,000 members in PA by reaching out to Legislators to develop policies which will improve our profession and our professional efficacy in education.

As teachers, we touch the future daily as we interact with our students; additionally, we also need to protect the future of our professions. Our Unity is our strength and our voices need to be heard, not as a single instrument, but rather collectively, as a symphony, where ideas build off of each other to form a harmony of individual voices creating a musical score that can’t be ignored. I am asking for your vote in order to bring our must-hear orchestration of concerns to the forefront.

Serving as an NEA representative for you, my Union Brothers and Sisters, is an honor I look forward to realizing. Union Advocacy is a trail that has been blazed by generations before us and continues to provide hope for our future generations. I look forward to being your voice at the National level.

 

William M. Gerhauser, candidate for NEA state director

Colleagues, my name is Bill Gerhauser and I am running to be one of your NEA directors from Pennsylvania.  When I learned that a director’s seat was opening up, I felt this was an opportunity I had to take.  This is an opportunity to take my knowledge and experience as a local leader and state committeeperson to represent all of PSEA at the national level and to be a voice for all members.

For the last 11 years I have been a member of the PSEA Resolutions Committee.  In my time on the committee, I have had the opportunity to work on resolutions that have addressed the most pressing issues that impact our Association.  While technically I represent the Mideast Region on the committee, the reality is that all committee members represent EVERY member of PSEA.  The work of your resolutions committee requires a strong sense of advocacy, knowledge of the political environment, and a deep understanding of the realities of the political world we live in. These three qualities are what make me a unique and strong candidate for NEA Director.      

At the local level, I served for six years as Chief Negotiator for the Council Rock EA, working with our Executive Board to guide our local through two very difficult negotiations in the wake of the financial crisis of the early 2000’s.  In 2013, I was elected and currently serve as president of CREA.  For the last six years it has been my absolute pleasure and honor to lead our Association.  In that time, we have successfully negotiated two more contracts which have followed my personal union motto, “respecting our past while preparing for our future.”  We have built a more transparent organization, one that is more adept to deal with our changing times, and one that is more inclusive.

Outside of my PSEA work, I have served as a local Democratic committeeman for my township and have developed an excellent working relationship with our local elected officials of both parties.  I look forward to using that experience to represent our Association at the national level.

The relationships that exist between members and the state association, between the state and the national associations, between members and our elected political leaders are key to our success.  I believe that I have ability to grow those relationships in a way that honors our past and protects our future.  Through advocacy, knowledge and, inclusiveness, PSEA will continue to be the preeminent voice for unions and public education across the Commonwealth.   

I thank you for your time and your continued support of PSEA.  And, I ask for your support for NEA Director.

In Solidarity,

Bill Gerhauser

 

“Unions, by and large, are democratic organizations with freely chosen leaders and policies determined by the membership. They concern themselves with individual dignity not only in their aims but in their method.”  - Robert Kennedy 

Cheryl S. Mattern, candidate for NEA state director

In 2016, the members of PSEA honored me with the opportunity to serve as one of their NEA Directors. It has been my privilege to work side by side with you as we raise our voices in support of public education.

Although we have faced incredible obstacles over the past three years, we have risen together to meet those challenges with increased member engagement and voice.  Your NEA Directors have been busy.  We protested the nominations of anti-union appointees Betsy DeVos, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. We vigorously prepared ourselves for the outcome of the Janus decision. We persisted in educating our members of Congress and our Senators regarding topics relevant to our work and our students. We supported fellow educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina in their fight for better working conditions for themselves and better learning environments for their students. I was inspired to watch all of you join us in these endeavors.  For these reasons and more, I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve as one of your ambassadors to the NEA.

In addition to everything that has been accomplished here in Pennsylvania and nationally, the past few years have provided me with additional experiences that have continued to broaden my worldview. Through NEA training and confronting personal bias, I amplified my understanding of the relevance of racial and social justice in our education system. I was deployed to Puerto Rico as part of a federal disaster medical team following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, where I witnessed unspeakable devastation met with heroic resilience. A subsequent trip to Guatemala with a medical mission team reminded me of the desperate circumstances from which many flee. It is these types of experiences, along with what I learn from my brothers and sisters here in Pennsylvania, that inform the decisions I make as an NEA Director.  With your support, it is my ambition to continue to cultivate my effectiveness as your representative.

My hope is that you will allow me the opportunity to continue my service alongside you for the next three years as one of your NEA Directors.  I will honor my charge to advocate for our members, to promote student success, and to strengthen our Association.  Together we can keep the momentum that our fierce advocacy has created. Together we can shape the future of public education for our students and peers. I am asking for your confidence and your vote for my re-election to the position of NEA Director.

In service and solidarity,

Cheryl Mattern 

Mollie P. Mumau, candidate for NEA state director

Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”  I hold that same passion and persistence for learning.  These feelings have informed my teaching and have extended to my role as an NEA Director.  I was fortunate to be appointed to fulfill a term on this year’s NEA Board of Directors, and I am eager to earn your support and your vote as I run for election.  My role in the Association has been wide and varied.  I served as a local president of the General McLane EA for eight years. In the Northwestern region, I co-chaired the Communications Committee, served as region PACE director, and most recently was elected our region’s secretary.  In addition, I have lobbied in Harrisburg numerous times on behalf of my students and colleagues as an ACE (Advocate for Children and Education).  In these capacities, I have seen how important our voices are in keeping public education and the needs of our staff and students at the center of all conversation—from advocating for members’ rights, fair and equitable funding, and the importance of electing pro-public education lawmakers.  America’s noble experiment–universal education for all citizens–is a cornerstone of our democracy.  Each day in the classroom, whether teaching English or public speaking, I see the benefits and rewards of this successful experiment.  Students, education professionals, and education support professionals all face a constant barrage of education “reforms” from entities that have rarely or never set foot in a classroom. They all want to improve what they see as a product—the students.  But those of us who are fortunate enough to work with these young people know the real success stories of our students.  We see the light bulbs go off when they learn a new concept; we laugh with them as we make connections and reach goals; we witness their growth as human beings every day. We know how to foster a love of learning in our charges. We know how teach them to discern truth from opinion and to look beyond their walls to see the possibilities before them. We teach the young people to be good listeners, good collaborators, and good citizens. All of this is possible because we, the members of PSEA and NEA support each other as we work together to achieve the core values of equal opportunity, a just society, democracy, professionalism, partnership, and collective action.  This past year working as a team member on the NEA Board of Directors has been quite a journey.  The passion, intelligence, and love for our profession that spills forth from the fellow Directors is overwhelming and inspiring.  With your support, I will continue that journey and continue to learn and advocate for our students and you, the members.