The Working Educators team is ready to bring a renewed purpose to the PFT Executive Board. These members will work hard to represent the educators who share their bargaining units and professional categories. It is time to have an Executive Board that operates transparently and inclusively.
We can't wait for you to get to know our whole team. Here's Working Educators Slate for Executive Board Representatives:
HIGH SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES
ADAM BLYWEISS has spent seven years teaching in career and technical education (CTE) programs for commercial and advertising art at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, Germantown High School, and Martin Luther King High School. He earned a Master of Education degree in Industrial Education from Temple University. Before joining the district, Adam worked in print production, software development, publication management, and nonprofit advising.
KRISTIN COMBS is in her sixth year teaching at Penn Treaty School after being forced out of Vaux High School in 2013 due to the SRC closures. She recently ended a strong grassroots campaign for a minority seat on city council. Kristin hopes to use the political and activist connections that she built during this campaign and during her past three years as a leader in independent left politics to serve you as on executive board.
TECHNICAL/SKILL CENTER REPRESENTATIVE
JULIE STEINER is a 20-year teaching veteran who currently teaches English and serves as the PFT Building Representative at WB Saul HS for Agricultural Sciences. Julie holds a National Board Adolescent and Young Adult English/Language Arts certification. She is also a 2013 Lindback Award winner and the 2012 College Board-recognized Outstanding AP teacher in the Middle States region.
MIDDLE SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES
CARLOS FREDERICK has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia for the past six years. His time has been spent working at Audrenreid, Germantown High School, and currently at Woodrow Wilson Middle School as a History teacher. He earned a master’s degree in Liberal Arts. Additionally, Carlos holds a certificate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Kean University and a certificate in African-American Studies from Ramapo College.
KRISTIN LUEBBERT has been teaching since 2001. She is a 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts teacher at Bache-Martin. Kristin has been a PFT Building Committee Member and is a long-time Building Representative. Kristin has also served as an AFT delegate numerous times. She has been active in PFT actions and protests and is a member of Teacher Action Group Philly and a founding member of the Caucus of Working Educators of the PFT.
RAYMOND PORECCA has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia for seven years. He was a special appointment at Austin Meehan for one year before moving to Feltonville Arts & Sciences where he has served as a member of the building committee, baseball coach and SEL. He holds certificates in Special Education (N-12) and Middle Years English.
MICHAEL BERSTEIN has been teaching for the School District of Philadelphia for 10 years. Mike is a Computer Technology teacher and a TTL. He has been a member of the Building Committee and has also served as a Building Representative. Mike has been an AFT delegate and a workshop facilitator at several PFT Health and Welfare Conferences.
LISA HANTMAN is a Master level teacher with Education and Reading certificates. She has been teaching for 35 years, 27 in the School District of Philadelphia (Pre-K - 6). Lisa received a Fulbright Scholarship and taught in England. Currently, she teaches at McCall School. Lisa is involved in many professional teachers’ groups, including The Philadelphia Learning Cooperative, Philadelphia Writing Project, and Need In Deed, and was a planner of the ECET2 Convening.
TAMIKO MITCHELL has been with the School District of Philadelphia for seven years. She had the privilege of teaching at James J. Sullivan Elementary School and is currently teaching at Potter Thomas Promise Academy. Tamiko earned a bachelor’s in elementary/special education and a master’s degree in curriculum/instruction and administration/supervision. She currently holds dual Level Two Pennsylvania certifications in Special Education and Elementary Education and has been a member of the Building Committee for three years.
SPECIAL EDUCATION REPRESENTATIVE
BETH MENASION has been a Learning Support teacher in the district for 10 years, both at Welsh (K-8) and at Science Leadership Academy. She also worked as a preschool teacher in the Parent Infant Center’s “Pre-K Counts” classroom. She has been a building rep for 3 years, and was a founding member of West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools.
BREANNA MITCHELL has been working in the School District of Philadelphia for three years. She works at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences as a Special Education Classroom Assistant. She is a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia and is currently attending La Salle University with an expected graduation date of May 2016. Her goal is to become a Middle Years Math and Science teacher.
LISETTE RIVERA currently works at The U School as the Founding Bilingual Secretary. Lisette started working at Olney High School as a Noon-Time Aide in 1999. In 2000, she became a Bilingual Secretary and a Twilight Secretary, which then became EOP. Lisette has also worked at Frankford High School, Frankford EOP, and H.A Brown. She aspires to become a high school counselor.
GEORGE DAVID RUVARAC is one of only three Non-Teaching Assistants left in the entire district. He was an Agriculture teacher at Saul High School for three years and was force-transferred last year due to staff cuts. As a result of his Agriculture teaching certificate, there were no other district jobs to be force-transferred to. George was later rehired as a Saul High School NTA farmer, one who cares for the farm and works with agriculture teachers who use the farm as their “classroom.” He understands the challenges created by district job insecurity and will continue the PFT’s fight to restore NTA’s across the district.
READING ASSISTANT/SSA REPRESENTATIVE
MARGARET ROLON began her career with the School District of Philadelphia as a bilingual ESOL tutor in 1999. She has been both an ESOL tutor and an SSA for the last two years. Margaret is a Paraprofessional who works primarily with English Language Learners in the Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences where she is also a long-time member of the Building Committee.
PATRICIA ECKERT has been with the School District of Philadelphia for 23 years. She started her career in the district after serving 10 years as a parent volunteer. Patricia is currently a Budget Technical Assistant. Previously, she has served the district as an SSA, School Community Coordinator, and School Operations Officer. She has been a member of the Building Committee.
HEAD START REPRESENTATIVE
ALICE CAVALLI has been a PFT member for 15 years. She is the Head Start Building Representative at Taggart Elementary School. Alice has also been on the Building Committee. She wants Head Start to return to every school in order to provide a smooth continuum to Kindergarten.
PER DIEM SUBSTITUTE REPRESENTATIVE
CHRISTINE MARTIN is a retired Certified School Nurse with 23 years of service. She worked at Stoddart Fleisher Middle School for 17 years and Constitution High School for six. Christine earned a Diploma in Nursing from the Albert Einstein School of Nursing, a bachelor’s degree from Philadelphia University, and a master’s degree from St. Joseph University.
FOOD SERVICE MANAGER REPRESENTATIVE
SHARON HANDZUS has been a Food Service Manager with the district for 13 years. At Saul High School, she works with both the food science faculty and the on-site vegetable farm to introduce more fresh food options for Saul’s students. Sharon wants to stop district conversions of real school kitchens to satellite kitchens, make sure that kitchen machinery is regularly serviced to keep kitchen staff safe, and fight to protect Food Service Manager jobs throughout the district.
PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT REPRESENTATIVE
TATIANA OLMEDO has worked for the School District of Philadelphia for the past 15 years as a bilingual school counselor (Spanish). She currently works at Central High School where she also serves on the Building Committee. Tatiana is a member of the PFT’s Counselors steering committee, the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association, and a founding member of the Caucus of Working Educators of the PFT and serves on the steering committee. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
AT LARGE REPRESENTATIVES
JOE ALBERTI has taught in the district for 11 years. He taught at Andrew Hamilton School, Lewis Elkin School, and has been at Samuel Powel Elementary for nine years. He is certified in Elementary Education, Middle Years English, and holds a National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. He is involved in numerous organizations across the city.
MARGARET DEVINE, RN, CSN, has been an active PFT member since 1992 and is a current member of the Executive Board. Peg has also been an AFT delegate. Currently, she is a school nurse at Abraham Lincoln High School and has received numerous awards including the PASNAP Regional School Nurse Excellence Award (2011) and the Coalition of Labor Union Women Working Women’s Awareness Award (2012).
HERMAN DOUGLASS currently works at Bethune McLeod Bethune Elementary School and formerly at Feltonville Arts and Sciences. He has been a PFT member for seven years. He has been a Building Representative and was the Multicultural Chair of Upper Darby Education Association (NEA) from 1997 to 2004.
DAVID HENSEL has taught at Taggart Elementary for 15 years. He has been the PFT Building Representative for four years now. He has a master's degree in Elementary Education and also holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education. David was a founding member of the Caucus of Working Educators of the PFT and has served on the steering and political committees.
CHARLIE MCGEEHAN teaches Humanities at The U School, a new District school designed to meet the individual needs and interests of our students. He also taught at Kensington CAPA. He is committed to strengthening our union through deep organizing work that empowers our members across the district.
DANIEL SYMONDS teaches 7th grade at Luis Muñoz Marín School, where he is the PFT Building Representative. He is looking forward to building a stronger, more organized, and united PFT. He holds a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's from Swarthmore College.
JESSICA WAY has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia for eight years. She is a registered nurse and teaches in the Medical Assistant program at Franklin Learning Center. Before she came to the district, Jessica was a public health, labor and delivery nurse. She is a Lindback award winner and serves on her school’s Leadership Team.