Merrie Najimy, EDU candidate for MTA President, teaches kindergarten in Concord and is a founding member of EDU. She has just completed six years on the MTA Board of Directors and eleven years as president of the Concord Teachers Association (CTA). Merrie is a leader in the MTA movement to rethink collective bargaining through member leadership and transparency. As a member of the Task Force on Race, she has led workshops on Islamophobia and institutional racism in education.
Write to Merrie at MerrieforMTAPresident@gmail.com.
Struggling to learn and to read, and feeling invisible in the curriculum as a child, inspired me to want to teach. My dream of becoming a teacher became possible because I had access to a high quality, affordable prek-16 public education. I am a successful product of the Pittsfield Public Schools, Berkshire Community College and Framingham State University. I came out – debt-free – and began an exciting career as an elementary school teacher.
I just completed my 27th year of teaching. In those years have taught each grade from kindergarten to third. Most of those years have been in Concord, MA. When I began teaching, educators, schools and entire districts were largely in control of their pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and instructional practices. This is what made teaching and learning meaningful.
But the privatization agenda for education has robbed education of its meaning, purpose and joy. This agenda aims to dismantle our public schools and unions and threatens our democratic society. I am a union organizer because I believe in the power of building movements to bring social change.
I’ve served as president of the Concord Teachers Association for a decade and was a founder of EDU. In Concord, we endured a bullying principal, a privatization scheme against unionized bus drivers, and a retaliation campaign against me for my union activity. Morale across both the Concord and Concord-Carlisle Districts was on a rapid decline. We stood together, developed our relationships with each other and across locals, with parents, and the broader community. We lost our fear and built a movement.
After three years of struggle, we stopped the bus privatization, ended the retaliation against me, and the principal resigned in disgrace. The parents and community members involved in our movement went on to run School Committee candidates. By 2016, they won 4 of the 5 School Committee seats and the Superintendent has just moved on at the end of her contract in June 2017. We went on to open bargaining and won one of our strongest contracts ever.
I have just completed six years on the MTA Board of Directors and eleven years as president of the Concord Teachers Association (CTA). I am a leader in the MTA movement to rethink collective bargaining through member leadership and transparency. As a member of the Task Force on Race, I lead work- shops on Islamophobia and institutional racism in education.
I’m running for MTA president because I believe in the new direction of the MTA. Together we can continue the collective struggle to preserve public education as a right for all, and return the teaching profession to a one of joy, purpose, and dignity.