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Meet the EMPOWERMENT Slate

 

Julianna

President

Julianna has been a teacher and building rep in Renton since 2001, mentoring others, bringing joy to classrooms and fighting for justice in her school & beyond.

Her union resume is massive as are her leadership credentials. She has extensive Training in Bargaining, Economic & Social Justice, Restorative Justice, Trauma-informed Practices, Political Action, Formal Mediation & much more! Currently she serves on the REA Executive Board and WEA Board of Directors. She is Constitution & Bylaws Committee leader at both the local & state levels.  Most notably, she is the REA Organizing Committee (ROC) Founding Co-Chair & trains building leaders, identifies issues for member mobilization, supports the bargaining team, mobilizes for school board actions & is now forming COVID Safety Teams at each building. 

 

She's proud to be a Core Team member of RECN (Rainier Educators of Color Network) & is the Governance Lead at the annual statewide WEA Political Action training where she teaches educators how to lobby & navigate the state legislature & OSPI. As the WEA Political Action Committee Director for 7 years she led on electing candidates for office & lobbying efforts.

Her work on the Rainier Uniserv Council Representative  over the years has led to power & unity between REA, classified Renton unions, Bellevue & Highline College Faculty &  Highline Education Association. She is known as a WEA & NEA Rep Assembly Leader where she written & strategized passage of 22+ New Business Items & Resolutions over the last 12 years & has worked 'behind the curtain' strengthening the ideas delegates bring to our national union's governance body. 

 

As an ORGANIZER, she will bring to REA: 

  • Frequent OPEN debates on big issues 

  • Member-driven mobilizing campaigns 

  • Efficiently run meetings (online & in-person, when safe)

  • Transparent budgeting for the common good

  • NEW digital tools to learn & connect

  • Strong coordination with other unions

  • Family/community listening sessions 

  • CHILD CARE & accessibility accommodations at all union events 

  • And more based on YOUR ideas!

 

Garth

middle school

I teach drama and other elective classes at Risdon Middle School, and I'm asking for your vote as the Middle School Representative to our REA Executive Board!

I learned the importance of unions early on from my father, who repairs molds in a glass factory. He said the world's bosses won't think twice about kicking hardworking people to the curb to make an extra buck, unless workers stand united against then. I got a sense of what that working class solidarity can look like when I received a scholarship from my dad's USW local to attend Seattle University; I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree.

The single event that most impressed the importance of unions on me, though, was when I worked as a paraeducator in the now-defunct (non-unionized) charter school organization, Green Dot "Public Schools" Washington. In my short time there, I saw firsthand from my diverse coworkers how those most marginalized and exploited in society at large are those who gain the most from union representation. My coworkers and I, certificated and classified united in solidarity, led a successful unionization campaign, only to hear the charter organization announce it was pulling out of Washington state. Their loss!

In short, I come to REA not just as a rank-and-file educator but also as a workplace organizer. Join me if you want to expand democracy in REA, fight for better working conditions, and forge stronger community-union bonds so that our families remember that we're the ones protecting their children's learning conditions. Our working conditions are our students' learning conditions, and our students' learning conditions become our communities' living conditions. Educators face many challenges in the year ahead, and it'll take a new wave of workplace organizers like me and you to push for our voices to be heard. I hope that you will join me in this work!

 

natasha

Primary

I humbly seek your vote for Primary Representative to our REA Exec. Board! Our union is important to me because I know union work is invaluable for all and the Renton School District has a special place in my heart. I am a proud RHS grad, my mom earned her AA from RTC, and she worked as a paraeducator in the Renton School District for many years. I began teaching in a public charter school in Washington, D.C. as a preK-3 through 5th grade special educator, providing both resource and inclusion services, moving to exclusively co-teaching while providing services in the general education setting. After returning to the better Washington, I have had have the privilege of teaching students in the ILCs-primary (now ILC-primary) program for the past 5 and a half years. I love teaching primary grades and have experience working with students in a wide range of abilities and settings. I will bring this knowledge and experience to my service as your Primary Rep. As a member of our REA Executive Board I hope to expand representation on our board (specifically to include special education and other under-represented staff), bring an equity lens to the work we do, and build on the growth we are making as a union. We are moving in the right direction. We can continue to improve by supporting democratic decision-making and empowering all members to be active change-agents in REA. I would be honored to have your support in this election and partnership in the work we do.

 

Melissa

special services

My name is Melissa Figge, I am seeking your vote for Special Services Representative to our REA Executive Board.

 

As a special education teacher I have the privilege of partnering with amazing therapists, counselors, specialists, nurses, school psychologists, social workers, coaches, other special education teachers, etc. daily and recognize the important expertise each of these professional groups has to affect change for our students and families.

 

However, our positions often separate us across worksites district-wide. We miss out on much professional collaboration that other professional groups in REA utilize to grow and mitigate their workload concerns. Our workload is compounded by having fewer opportunities to connect around our specific job-alike workload needs; leading us to sometimes feel isolated or trapped as we advocate individually for the resources we need. Without authentic job-alike connection we sometimes struggle to systemically identify and unify our power behind problematic trends and unmet systemic needs directly impacting our workloads.

 

If elected as your representative on Executive Board, I will seek to establish greater connection and solidarity within and between our professional groups. I will strive to build a better awareness for our professional needs within our union leadership. For too long, our special service professionals have not gotten what we need from REA; it is time to unite, collaborate, and stand together in solidarity advocating for the changes each of our professional groups need.

 
Candidate Speeches
Melissa
01:17
Natasha
01:30
Garth
01:45
Julianna
01:43