Monday, October 18, 2010

Standing up for what is right (part 2)

Dear colleagues,

Some of you have asked me why I am running with the Parker-Egbufor slate and not with the other party (or why I am still running, period) when as an executive board member I witness many things that happen in the office and during board meetings. Believe it or not, campaigning for George Parker and Dorothy Egbufor is worth all my time and effort. Yes, the Parker-Egbufor slate has the strongest, most experienced, and most accomplished teachers who are involved in education reform. But more than that, I have seen how our two candidates for the WTU leadership maintain integrity, courtesy, and professionalism under pressure, and how hard they unbelievably work day-and-night, even during weekends, working at the office sometimes until 3am when necessary to make things happen for our teachers.

I have also witnessed how the WTU struggled and managed to survive without a General Vice President. Did we have one? Nathan Saunders, but where was he when we needed him? There are members who feel the same way...

I wrote him a letter last December which communicated my feelings about him, probably stronger now after I have seen his true character during hearings and election campaigns, it is not positive:

December 16, 2009

Nathan Saunders
General Vice President
Washington Teachers Union

Dear Nathan,

With this letter, I would like to revisit what transpired last night in the WTU office when you called me in to have a private conversation with you. Undoubtedly, it was about what I said and asked during one of the Executive Board meetings about not seeing you in the WTU office often and the documentations of your work that you do for our membership as the WTU General Vice President. My curiosity was taken negatively as reflected in your statements that are summarized and bulleted below:

- “Whatever I do here in the office and with my day to day work with the membership is none of your business. It is not my obligation to submit any documentation to you and I will not do it.”

- “I do not report to you and I do not work for you. I am the General Vice President, and you are just the VP of Special Education. You are just new to the union, you should know that all Vice Presidents, therefore, should report to me.”

- “When you needed me I was there in your school. You should remember that”.

I also remember in one of our telephone conversations you told me that I am just a classroom teacher and very powerless.

Not considering my attempt to reach out and forge a collegial bond with you, your threatening tone was very unprofessional; your statements were full of negativity, deception, intimidation, and attempt of manipulation.

As a member of The WTU Executive Board, and a full dues paying member, I would like to follow up with my request to see 1) documentations of your performance of your duties as delegated by the President and 2) the journal of records of your everyday work with our members that you said you have in possession. I would be requesting for this to be in the agenda for our next WTU Executive Board meeting. Please also review Article VIII Section 2 of the WTU Constitution.

Despite of the lack of integrity that I see with how you deal with most of our WTU/AFT colleagues and your antagonistic attitude towards most of the WTU staff, please know that I still have a lot of respect for you.

In the spirit of the holidays, I am still hopeful that the WTU will be a strong union undivided and unparalleled. It will not be long…


Maria Angala, NBCT
WTU Executive Board Member

I only have one life to live. I want to make the most of it and I want to achieve something nobler than simple rebellion. I haven't got time to waste with negative people. They drain my energy like emotional vampires do. When they find a willing audience, they won't let them go. They may have justifiable concerns but too often get involved in politics, gossips, attacking people and minor matters. They blame and look for excuses. Even when blame can be justified it serves no productive good for the majority of our membership and our students. It is not always easy but I try to listen when told to be compassionate to them in the spirit of solidarity, and to walk away when provoked into a nasty discussion. Circumstances don't "make" the teacher; circumstances "reveal" the teacher.

Colleagues, I know that it has been challenging and sometimes frustrating especially when we don't always get what we want. Immediate gratification does not happen in reality, and as teachers we practice patience and teach our students core values in life like unity, honesty, integrity, and keeping the faith. We need you to execute these values right now...

Take a stand. We have 10 days more before the WTU election ballots are counted. Please make the right decision and remember to mail your ballots!


Gail Desler said...

Hello Maria,

Just wanted to applaud your courage and the many times you have taken a stand and fearlessly, and with great dignity,advocated for your students, for all our students, and for the educational community in general.

Positive vs. negative leadership has been much on my mind this week. It is very likely that your (former) Chancellor Rhee will be headed my way, back to Sacramento.

The same day I read of Rhee's change in job status, I also read about another education leader, already in the Sacramento area, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond, who is not "waiting for superman".

At a time when public education needs all the help it can get to survive current trend, to undermine and destroy it, I deeply appreciate those who are willing to speak out - from "the trenches" and from the heart.

Thank you, Maria.

Maria Angala, NBCT said...

Hello Gail,

Thank YOU!

I have learned to keep the faith because of teachers like you... I have been trained and mentored well by our colleagues (DCAWP) and was inspired by the passion and determination of our National Writing Project teacher leaders. We will bring back the pride. This is just the beginning for us. Let us keep believing...

CHEERS to our teachers in Sacramento CA! I have great admiration for your superintendent for knowing what's best for our students and our teachers. My entry about him below this post.

Thank you for always "watching over" me.

Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.