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RESPECT campaign FAQs*


RESPECT means struggling for the contract educators deserve, the schools our students deserve, and the city Seattle deserves.  The contract educators deserve demands caseload caps for our Education Support Associates, keeps student standardized test data out of our performance evaluations, and makes working conditions reasonable. Our interests align with parent’s and children’s. We need to build strong grassroots alliances with them because more people advocating for the schools our students deserve makes our odds at beating the corporate education deform agenda better. Cities like Portland and St. Paul worked closely with the community to develop a vision for public education. Mass community support helped them win their demands in bargaining without having to go on strike.  The city Seattle deserves means supporting the fight for a living wage in a city with an affordability crisis.  Supporting the stability and security of our children’s families ensures students can be prepared to engage in their education and prioritize academic achievement.

* Check back for updates!

City Council Member Kshama Sawant endorses the RESPECT slate

sawantOpen letter to Seattle Educators from Council Member Kshama Sawant:

The next two weeks present an important opportunity for you as Seattle’s teachers, paraprofessionals and other Seattle educators to shape the future of your union. We stand at a unique moment in Seattle’s history, with thousands getting involved in movements for social justice. Educators have historically played an important role in these struggles. In that spirit, I would ask you to please take a few moments to vote in the Seattle Education Association election before May 7th, and I would personally like to voice my support for the RESPECT slate of candidates put forward by the Social Equality Educators (SEE).

The universal right of access to an affordable and high quality public education has been under relentless attack in the big business sponsored push towards privatization and profit-making. The impact on opportunities for low-income students, the quality of education, and living standards of teachers has been deleterious.

Political pundits talk about education, but the voice that is all too often ignored is that of the true experts involved: the teachers, paraprofessionals, and other educators who work with students day in and day out. Education unions such as the Seattle Education Association are the best advocates for our young people.

This week, educators in Seattle have a unique opportunity to elect the courageous union activists that make up the RESPECT slate of candidates to your leadership. They organized demonstrations at Chase Bank and in Olympia to restore funding to Education, and mobilized to boycott the MAP test so that school resources could be spent teaching. I am committed to fight for progressive taxation to fully fund education, and the RESPECT candidates will make strong allies.

RESPECT have proven that they will put serious resources into helping you and your co-workers to get involved in the struggle to improve our education system and defend your working conditions and living standards.

Most importantly, remember that nothing can be won without you there to fight for it. Please remember to vote in your union election before May 7th. And I urge you to vote for the following candidates, who make up the RESPECT slate:


·         Jesse Hagopian, Garfield HS

Vice President

·         Marian Wagner, Salmon Bay


·         Dan Troccoli, Substitute

High School Representatives

·         Matt Carter, Franklin HS

·         Doug Edelstein, Nathan Hale HS

·         Noam Gundle, Ballard HS

Middle School Representatives

·         Jenni Conrad, Hamilton MS

·         Jeff Treistman, Denny MS

Elementary Representatives

·         Susan Kingsbury, Graham Hill El

·         Andy Russell, Dearborn Park El

·         Kevin Zelko, Kimball El


·         Peter Henry, Substitute VP



Policy Brief

Student growth impact ratings- State vs. Seattle’s

Vallerie Fisher – Parapro Representative

VallierFisherHello, my name is Vallerie Fisher.

 I am a candidate for the Seattle Education Board of Directors and I ask for your vote!

My five siblings and I were raised in the Central Area, now called the Leschi neighborhood.

I am a graduate of Seattle Public Schools and have completed my Baccalaureate Degree in Education, Public Policy and Procedure from Ever Green State College.  Currently, I am enrolled in the MBA Program at the University of Phoenix.

I am currently employed as a Family Support Worker with the Seattle Public School District #1 for the past thirteen years.

My past leadership experience includes serving as Vice President of the Education Support Department (Para’s), chairperson of the Program Leadership Team for the Family Support Workers department, member of the Building Leadership Team, and department representative for RA, WEA and NEA Delegate.   Currently I serve as chairperson for the Seattle Classified Organizing Team (SCOT) who was just recently selected to participate in the NEA Engagement Organizing Training in Washington DC, the only team of ESPs’ chosen in the country.

I am running as a candidate because as an ESP I don’t feel that we are shown the respect as professionals that we deserve.  Our collective voices are being greatly diminished as education professionals.

I ask for your vote to be the next ESP elected to the SEA Board of Directors!

Dear Seattle educators,

Elections for leadership of the Seattle Education Association (SEA) are coming right up and ballots will be cast at the end of April. On behalf of Social Equality Educators (SEE) and the many brothers and sisters working with us toward the common goal of strengthening our union, we are writing to ask for your endorsement.  We have assembled a remarkable group of educators on the “Respect” ticket –award-winners and National Board Certified Teachers, experienced educators and those newer to the profession – to run for union office. We have over a dozen candidates, including JesseHagopian for SEA president, Marian Wagner for SEA Vice President, and DanTroccoli for SEA Treasurer.   Together, we are confident we can achieve the contract educators deserve, the schools our students deserve, and the city our families deserve.

The SEE Respect slate of candidates believes we need courageous union leaders who will listen to the members, stand up for their rights in the work place, and work hard to achieve the members’ vision for public education.

The Respect slate of candidates stands for:

  • A union that will fight for a strong contract. When we ask for less than what is required to do our jobs well, we cannot serve our students effectively, or be true to the passion that brings us into the classroom.
  • A union that will demand full funding of education. This will only happen if we insist lawmakers adhere to the law.
  • A union that will stand for fair and sustainable teacher evaluation. Evaluation should empower us to continually improve our professional practice and care for our students—it should not simply serve as a “gotcha” tool for administrators.
  • A union that protects our right to teach culturally relevant curriculum and works to replace disproportionate disciplinary procedures with restorative justice. Seattle’s students deserve a holistic education that fosters critical thinking and civic engagement.
  • We need a union that brings families and community members into the schools as partners and collaborators.
  • A union that empowers the union membership to be an active voice.
  • A union that keeps us updated with accurate information and invites us to take an active role in a truly member-driven association.
  • A union that will join the growing national movement to fight for fair and meaningful student assessments, including opportunities to pilot performance-based alternatives to high-stakes testing.

To endorse or donate to the SEE Respect union campaign, click on the links.  Also, spread the word by following us on facebook and twitter.


Teachers and school staff are feeling the insidious effects of what is known as the “corporate education reform agenda.”  It has been set by those occupying the highest ranks of power in our country and one of its primary financiers lives in our own backyard. With corporate education reform comes increased class size, privatization of public schools through expansion of charter initiatives, decreased access to wrap-around services, unfair and biased teacher evaluation methods, racist and disproportionate discipline measures, union busting, and the degradation educators’ contracts.  In Seattle, at the same time that our class sizes are increasing and resources are shrinking, we face pressure to meet standards set by unfair and biased measures of evaluation. Circumstances beyond our control dictate whether or not we may expect to keep our jobs for another year, keeping us in a constant state of anxiety. How does this benefit teachers and students? SEA members are fully aware that unless we want to continue down the path of losing more job protections, we have no choice but to transform our union into one that can turn the tide.


The Social Equality Educators (SEE) seek to strengthen our union to become one that prioritizes the needs of our colleagues, students and families over accommodating the agenda of those who wish to profit from public education and deny us fully funded schools with rich curriculum.  In the struggle to “scrap the MAP” test, we on the Respect slate discovered for ourselves that building coalitions with parents, students, and community organizations is the key to successfully defending the integrity of our workplaces and quality of education for our students. We organized, strategized, built alliances, took direct action, and won an important victory of making the MAP test optional at the high school level.  We achieved solidarity among families, students, and community members, because ultimately the fight for education justice affects all of us. Our work in the schools can reach its fullest potential if we have a winning strategy for protecting and strengthening the soul of public education. This is the strategy will need if we are going to win the contract that educators deserve.


The SEE RESPECT slate and our allies are running for union leadership because we want to cultivate a member-driven union that respects teacher voice and dignity along with the voices and dignity of our students and families.

YOU are the union. We need your involvement. We need to hear you and work with you to build the school district Seattle’s students deserve. Let’s build a struggle to do the work we became educators to do, and make an education system that empowers us to educate, unfettered by over-testing and unsustainable evaluation systems.

To achieve this vision we need your help: ENDORSE RESPECT,  DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN, and pass along this message to other educators who want to build a stronger SEA. 

Yours in struggle,


Officer Candidates:

President of SEA

·       Jesse Hagopian

Vice President of SEA

·       Marian Wagner

Treasurer of SEA

·       Dan Troccoli

SEA Board of Director Candidates:

High School Representatives 

  • Matt Carter, Franklin HS
  • Doug Edelstein, Nathan Hale HS
  • Noam Gundle, Ballard HS

Middle School Representatives

  • Jenni Conrad, Hamilton MS
  • Jeff Treistman, Denny MS

Elementary Representatives

  • Susan Kingsbury, Graham Hill El
  • Andrew Russell, Dearborn Park El
  • Kevin Zelko, Kimball El


  • Vallerie Fisher, Family Support Worker, Martin Luther King El


  • Peter Henry, Substitute VP


Noam Gundle – High School Representative

ng mug 8Noam Gundle is the Science Department Chair at Ballard High School, the National Vice Chair of the Peace and Justice Caucus, and a longtime activist with the SEA, WEA and NEA.

“The schools of Seattle deserve RESPECT. We need elected representatives that not only defend public education, but also empower teachers to become leaders in their schools and the community. We need leadership that not only listens to and respects its members, but demands respect for all educators. All members deserve to be heard, deserve to be a part of decisions and deserve a strong contract.”

Kevin Zelko – Elementary Representative


Kevin Zelko worked as an IA for Seattle Public Schools from 2001 to 2003. He then worked at Greenwood Elementary and BF Day Elementary teaching special education until 2012. Kevin currently is a Special Education teacher at Kimball Elementary. Kevin is widely known for his successful fundraising effort to buy every student at his school a Seahawks Jersey.

“The schools Seattle deserves start with RESPECT. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. By demanding full funding of education and protecting our right to teach culturally relevant curriculum, we are helping our students. By reaching out to parents and community groups, we provide our students greater access to skills, knowledge and wisdom. By standing up for a fair contract and sustainable teacher evaluations, we are ensuring that our students get the best teachers. A vote for me is a vote for our students.”