Meet Your AFT MA Colleagues

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Don Dabenigno

The world of accountancy has led many great people to great fame. Most of them, however, achieve that recognition within the field. For newly-elected Chelsea Teachers Union President and AFT MA Executive Board member Don Dabenigno, the story is somewhat different
After graduating from high school, Dabenigno entered college to pursue a degree in accounting. While attending classes, he began to spend time working with school-age children as part of various recreation and athletics programs.

Beth Kontos

On her LinkedIn profile, recently-elected President of the Salem Teachers Union Beth Kontos describes herself thusly:

"I am an educator seeking to keep public schools free from charter and private takeovers. Public schools should be a place for all students to learn and grow. I am working to eliminate high stakes standardized testing from the public schools in the United States and to push the profiteers out of our schools."

Joel Spruance

As the son of a youth counselor, new Hathorne Teachers Federation President Joel Spruance had long been steeped in the values of serving young people. Recalling his mother's stories about her "rewarding" job, Spruance says that he came to see his own path along similar lines early on
"I knew I wanted to work with youth and had thought about working in a church," he explains,"but [my mother] encouraged me to explore education."
A lifelong fan of history, Spruance decided to become more involved in teaching it while in college.

Aaron Snyder

Though many effective teachers come to the field from other disciplines, it is what they do once they have entered the world of education that matters most.
After graduating with a degree in Classics, newly-elected Holliston Federation of Teachers President Aaron Snyder realized that his avocation may not lead to a vocation, and so began to explore other passions to find his path.

Brenda Chaney

Many students can think back to the teacher who helped them get through a difficult time and to achieve goals they thought they would never be able to achieve.

For AFT MA Executive Board member Brenda Chaney, it was a person outside of school who allowed her to achieve her goals of helping others.

Though Chaney says that she “always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl,” she was not able to realize this dream until she had married and started a family. In fact, had she not followed this path, she may have very well been on quite another one.

Christine Ann Moyer

As a teacher with two decades of experience (including six with special education students), Christine Ann Moyer has a way and knows her way with students. Using her passion for art to engage and enrich her students and their lives, Moyer has not only inspired many budding artists and encouraged all students to think and act creatively and compassionately, she has even helped create a virtual art studio for her students in Medway (http:/memorialartstudio2015-16.weebly.com).

Jessica Tang

All educators are busy. Between planning and assessing their curricula to assessing their students and being assessed themselves through high-stakes testing and myriad other means, the daily demands on teachers and all who serve students reach far beyond the school bell.

Fortunately, many teachers are so passionate about their calling that they go not just one extra mile, but many, dedicating even their scant so-called “spare time” in service of students.

Jessica Tang is one such educator.

Nick DiPardo

Raised in RI by two educators, Nick DiPardo has been surrounded by hard-working educators since the day he was born.

“I grew up in a union household,” he says. “Both of my parents were active AFT members and my father was president of their local in Woonsocket.”

While other children may recall walking uphill both ways in the snow to get to school, DiPardo fondly remembers after-school trips to his father’s office and early exposure to union meetings and AFT conventions.

Getting On Board: AFT MA Executive Board serves all members

In addition to being guided by the national offices of AFT and the AFL-CIO, members of AFT MA are also privileged to the support of their Executive Board.

Each year, vacancies on the Board are filled through open elections at the AFT MA Convention. Once elected, members meet at regular intervals to decide upon matters that will affect the entire membership.

But what does it mean to the members to be part of the Board? Why do they ask to be nominated? What are their goals?

Michael Maguire

While the real-life stories of teachers may not be so glamorous (especially these days), Hollywood is still able to spin an inspirational yarn once in a while that leads film fans from the cinema into the classroom. Such was the case with recently-elected AFT MA Executive Board member Michael Maguire.

A graduate of Boston Latin Academy who now teaches at BLA, Maguire was on a different professional path before turning to teaching. While preparing for law school, Maguire had an experience that, he suggests, was straight out of the Richard Dreyfus film “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”