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Samantha Brown

VP Special Education

What position are you running for in the WTU? Vice President of Special Education

If you are running on a slate, provide the name: Unity

What school(s) do you work at? Coolidge SHS

What is your current role at your school? Special Education Teacher/Building Rep

How many years have you worked for DCPS? 9 years

Describe your leadership experience, including what you have done in the WTU As a 9th year special education teacher at the District of Columbia Public Schools, I spent those years advocating for my students and fellow colleagues. I advocated while serving as a member of the Chancellor’s Teachers Cabinet and one of only two teachers on the OSSE Task Force, ESSA, championing for better educational policies and communicating issues and concerns within DCPS schools. I’ve served for three years as a member of the WTU Executive Board, VP of Special Education and Coolidge Building Representative, advocating for teacher’s rights. I am one of the most active Executive Board members, reaching out to teachers and supporting their concerns. I support not only teachers in my building but teachers across the District writing grievances, hosting professional developments and offering a listening ear. I advocated for two years on the Contract Negotiation Team, fighting for better working conditions for teachers and ensuring teachers rights were not compromised.

Why are you running? (Max. 1000 characters) I am running to be a part of change. I want to represent special education teachers, ensuring that we are receiving the rights we need to service students with disability. I am passionate about special education, and ensuring that teachers are heard and seen.

What is your vision for the union? (Max. 1000 characters) As Executive Board member of Special Education, I envision a Union where there is more transparency. Far too long has our Union operated under a "Closed Door" policy. I want to continue to open that door where members know how their dues are being spent and more input on the creation of policies that may affect teacher working conditions. I want to help build trust between leadership and members, where members feel safe and supported.

If elected, what are your top 3 priorities that you would focus on to achieve your vision for the WTU? (Max. 1000 characters) 1) A contract where there is increase pay and better working conditions . 2) More Rights for Special Education Teachers such as additional planning time as supported in the contract, smaller case loads, and ensuring that DCPS is not going over class size limits. 3) Streamlining the Grievance process.

What are your top 3 contract priorities for future negotiations? 1) More rights for Special Education either through Contract articles or an MOA. 2) Ending IMPACT through contract negotiations and 3) Consistent increase salary raises.

What is the strategy the WTU should take to achieve that vision? The biggest strategy WTU should take to achieve this vision are multiple strategies. Currently, our only strategy thus far is sitting at the table with designees of the Chancellor. However, we should take a broad strategic approach where we are not only mobilizing members through petitions and rallies, but also mobilizing the great DC community in a shared purpose. WTU should create a community outreach section of the Union where the build partnership and allies with shared interest. Furthermore, WTU should enter contract negotiations with a clear vision and goal, and a timeline on how to achieve their goals. Next, WTU must gather input from teachers to ensure we are listening to our members, and not talking at them. This should be done at every Rep Assembly and smaller informational sessions. Lastly, WTU has to use the media and DC Council to push for more timely contract negotiations. Without outside support, our contract negotiations will continue to drag on for years.

If elected, what is your role in achieving that vision? I am running for an Executive Board position as VP of Special Education. I will continue holding DCPS accountable through the "Joint Special Education Committee" through monthly meetings advocating for better working conditions for special education teachers. Furthermore, I will use my voice to ensure policies are created and approved by membership. I will advocate for membership to have the last word on new policies created. My votes as Executive Board member will be used to support "teacher and student-centered" polices. Lastly, I will continue to use my Special Education Collective and Teams group to reach out to special education teachers, hearing their concerns and providing resources to address those concerns.

If elected, how do you see yourself working with caucuses like DC-CORE? I would work with DC-Core by helping to open up the Executive Board so that members can witness policies being discussed for voting. I will encourage more members to attend Executive Board meetings. I will partner with different caucuses through rallies, Rep Assembly meetings on motions and through member outreach. I firmly believe that caucuses like DC-Core are necessary for diverse opinions and thoughts that ultimately strengthens membership and policies created.

Do you believe that the WTU should organize and prepare to be "strike ready"? Yes

Samantha Brown
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