The Movement of Rank and File educators elects a new steering committee every six months to make decisions in-between monthy general meetings and to manage communication and execution of the general body’s decisions. This Committee was elected in January of 2014.
Sean Ahern has taught high school culinary arts and social studies since 1999. He is in his second year teaching sentenced adolescents at the East River Academy on Riker’s Island. Prior to teaching he worked as a Chef in the private sector for 12 years. He is also a member of Teachers Unite and the Coalition for Public Education. He attended NYC public schools and is a father of three, two who have graduated and one currently a senior. His father is a retired adult education teacher and his brother was a NYC teacher and principal.
John Antush is in his 13th year teaching social studies at City-As-School High School, an alternative transfer public high school where the students spend half of their week in internships. The school is one of one of more than two-dozen city high schools with permission to tie graduation to student work instead of Regents-exam scores. He recently organized a major school event with his students to demonstrate their school’s model and thus spur the new Mayor to spread this model to other schools (ny.chalkbeat.org/2014/01/21/school-without-regents-exams-says-mayor-should-spread-its-model). He is a Delegate to the UFT Delegate Assembly and participates on the MORE Newsletter committee. John believes that our strength lies primarily in each of our workplaces and school communities and believes MORE should build power based on the common interests of teachers, students and parents as working people. By holding the public school system accountable to our common interests we can help set an example for a broader working class movement to combat worsening conditions and achieve systemic change.
Gloria Brandman, one of 2 returning members from MORE’s Fall ’13 steering committee, has been a Special Educator, a UFT Member and a union activist for over 30 years. As a founding member of GEM (The Grassroots Education Movement), she organized against privatization of public schools, closing schools and Charter Schools movement. Her longtime activism in antiwar work channeled itself into UFTers To Stop the War. Being a union activist with a commitment to democratic unionism led her to become a member of ICE (Independent Community of Educators) and now, MORE. As chapter leader of PS 307 in Brooklyn for the past 5 years, she has seen the benefits of a strong school chapter and understands that we must have educated and organized chapters in every school before our union can successfully battle school closings, high stakes testing, abusive administrators, Mayoral Control, etc. Gloria is on the Membership Committee and is committed to grow MORE in order to change the UFT into a union that fights for its working members, unites with students and families, and rebuilds the labor movement.
Lauren Cohen entered teaching through the NYC Teaching Fellows in 2005 as a mid-year replacement for a K-2 self-contained special education teacher at a high-needs school in Harlem. She taught there for two more full school years. She spent the next 5 years at a Title 1 school in the East Village where she gained a reputation among her colleagues for speaking out against administrative mandates that were detrimental to student learning (such as canceling extended day enrichment programs in favor of test prep aligned to faulty and inaccurate Acuity results). She currently teaches at P.S. 321 in Park Slope, where the privileges available to her current students have only strengthened her resolve to fight for a more equitable system on behalf of the students she left behind. For the past two years, Lauren has worked with parents, teachers, and others in Change the Stakes, fighting against the use of standardized tests to punish schools, teachers, and students. She attended her first MORE meeting in the spring of 2012 and was thrilled to meet so many like-minded educators. She ran on the MORE slate for Elementary Executive Board in the UFT election, and she now serves as the chapter delegate for P.S. 321.
Peter Lamphere is also a returning member of MORE’s Fall ’13 steering committee. He has been a high school math teacher, delegate and chapter leader in NYC public schools for over 10 years. He currently teaches at Gregorio Luperon HS in Manhattan. He has organized anti-overcrowding campaigns at Columbus HS, a mass harassment grievance at the Bronx High School of Science, helped to fight racist harassment of fellow teachers, and successfully fought an unjust U rating in the courts. As an activist in MORE since its inception, he has compiled the weekly update emails, acted as treasurer, organized chapter leader happy hours and helped to spearhead MORE’s campaign against the teacher evaluation deal. Peter writes on education issues for SocialistWorker.org. He has been active in Teachers for a Just Contract and the Grassroots Education movement.
Katie Lapham is in her 8th year of teaching at P.S. 214K in East New York, Brooklyn. As a NYC Teaching Fellow (cohort 12), she started out in a second grade bilingual classroom, but switched over to ESL in 2010. At P.S. 214K, Katie serves on the School Leadership Team (SLT) and is responsible for all of the ESL compliance work. Excessive paperwork, particularly the bubbling of testing grids, makes her crazy. As an advocate for English-language learners, Katie is committed to protecting her students from the negative effects of the Common Core package, including high-stakes testing. She and her 5th grade co-teacher (Katie is a push-in ESL teacher) have spent over three years creating a social justice ELA curriculum. Unfortunately, most of it had to be shelved this school year to accommodate the scripted ReadyGEN ELA program. Katie is very active on social networks. You can follow her on Twitter (CriticalClassrooms @lapham_katie). She also runs a nationally-known blog (criticalclassrooms.wordpress.com) and she co-manages teachersletterstobillgates.com. Inspired by Deborah Meier’s work, Katie is currently working on creating a meaningful professional development program called Freedom to Teach, Freedom to Learn: A Year at Mission Hill. She became involved with MORE in the summer of 2013. Prior to teaching in the NYC school system, Katie worked in book publishing in New York City and Hoboken, NJ. She did not like working in a cubicle. She also worked as a tour guide on an estancia (a sheep and cattle ranch) in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and taught English to businesspeople in Buenos Aires. She much prefers working with kids. Katie studied history in college and has an MA in Latin American Studies. She is particularly interested in Anglican missionization in 19th century Argentina.
Megan Moskop is a 5th year Special Education teacher at M.S. 324 in Washington Heights, where she began teaching in 2009, as a Teach for America corps member. After receiving her M.S. in Special Education at Hunter College, she was elected as a UFT delegate in 2011. After a long hunt for a community of teacher-activists outside her school, Megan was delighted to become part of MORE in the Spring of 2013. She is an active member of the High Stakes Testing Committee and the Media Team. She helped plan our brunch in October, and the “Talking Back to Testing” forum, and she is excited to host more events, especially uptown. Megan was raised by educators in North Carolina, and before moving to New York City, she worked at schools in Durham, NC, rural South Carolina, Kathmandu, Nepal and Perugia, Italy. Her first teaching job was in Malta as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In addition to her work with MORE, she serves as “Learning Labs Director” for the Manhattan Young Democrats, and she is a new member of Teachers Unite. She is not twitter-famous, like Katie Lapham, but she does enjoy tweeting about teaching and politics (@msmoskop). Deeply thankful for and inspired by her own teachers and students, she is committed to the improvement of learning and working conditions in schools everywhere, starting here.
Francesco Portelos is an engineer turned middle school STEM teacher. Over the last two years he has become a very strong advocate for educators and students. His advocacy did not come without sacrifice. After speaking up, he became a target and was removed from his teaching position. This did not stop Francesco. He ran and won the UFT Chapter Leader position in his school even though he is forbidden from entering the building. He has been successfully mobilizing and supporting his chapter and many other educators who read about his fight and seek his guidance from around the city and around the country. His objective is use his knowledge, leadership skills and out-of-the-box thinking to bring MORE to a point where they are successfully filling the great void left by our UFT Leaders. Read more at www.educatorfightsback.org Follow on Twitter: @MrPortelos
Kevin Prosen is chapter leader at I.S. 230 in Jackson Heights, Queens. He campaigned as part of MORE’s slate for the executive board in last year’s elections, and has organized mass grievance campaigns at his school involving up to 35 members of his chapter. He has been active in the MORE chapter organizing committee this year and has been organizing outreach to other chapter leaders in the city.
Norm Scott retired in 2002 after 35 years in the NYC education system, mostly teaching in elementary schools in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in District 14. Active in union politics since 1970, he was one of the founders of the Independent Community of Educators (2003), the Grassroots Education Movement (2009) and MORE (2012) and works on the newsletter committee. He founded Education Notes, a newspaper for UFT members (1997-2007), and turned it into a blog, ednotesonline.org, in 2006. He was one of the producers, editors and videographers on the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, a response to the Waiting for Superman’s attack on teacher unions and public education. The Inconvenient Truth argued for real reform instead of the failed corporate model. He believes there can never be an effective fight for public education against the privatizers until the leadership of the major teacher’s unions changes to lead a movement that links all the true stakeholders: educators and parents. He is a charter member of Teachers Unite and has been a member and supporter of NYCORE (The New York Coalition of Radical Educators) since it’s early founding.
Kit Wainer has been a rank and file activist within the UFT for 25 years. From 1989 to 1991 he participated in a small project called Chalk Dust. He helped found Teachers for A Just Contract in 1992 and remained a member until TJC’s dissolution in 2012. Kit participated in the meetings over 2011 and 2012 which ultimately led to MORE’s founding. Kit has been a UFT Chapter Leader at Leon Goldstein High School in Brooklyn for 15 years. In 2007 he was the ICE/TJC candidate for President of the UFT.