Candidate for MTA President: Timothy Sullivan
M y name is Timothy D. Sullivan, and I am a 34-year veteran educator, a 25-year union activist,;and;a;candidate;for;the;office;of
President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
I am seeking election because of my passion for the
fundamental values of unionism and professionalism
and my commitment to preserving them. I have
demonstrated this commitment during my tenure as
your Vice President.
I believe that my association experiences at the
state, county, local (Brockton), and national levels
have prepared me well for the continued challenges
that await the MTA and the students of our
Commonwealth. In my current capacity as MTA Vice
President, I serve as Chairperson of the Advisory
Budget Committee and as Co-Chair of the Public
Relations/Organizing Campaign Committee. Both of
these positions have afforded me an opportunity to
work on issues that affect all of our members each
and every day. My focus as a leader has always been,
and will continue to be, on our members, who are the
core reason for our existence.
Throughout my four years as MTA Vice
President, I have focused on our mission. The MTA
mission statement reads in part: “The MTA promotes
the use of its members’ collective power to advance
their professional and economic interests.” With
MTA’s emerging focus on our Strategic Action Plan
and Full Capacity Locals, now is the time to use our
collective power to its fullest.
n We must meet head-on those who seek to
diminish our voices and our profession.
n We must harness our common expertise by
continuing to put our own imprimatur on education
n We must send a message to the political
establishment that we insist that our collective voice
After all, it is the practitioner — whether
a teacher, an ESP, a higher ed member, an
administrator or a retiree — who should be the
standard-bearer of public education. I believe the
MTA is at a critical point — a point where we
need to remain true to our core union values while
remaining open to possibilities of collaboration that
have the potential to change education policy for the
good of our members and our students.
When I became your Vice President in 2010, I
that our organization would face. I am not sure
anyone could have predicted that in “union-
friendly” Massachusetts we would be confronted
with changes to pensions, health care, teacher
evaluations and seniority. Now more than ever is
the time to use our collective power to defeat those
who seek to harm us and to work with those who
are truly interested in partnering with us for the
betterment of our schools and colleges. As a result
of our recent challenges, the MTA has emerged as
a strong and rational voice for unionism, education
reform and our profession.
A s we move forward, the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, PARCC assessments, District-Determined Measures,
RETELL and accountability intervention models will
continue to challenge our preK- 12 members. I vow
that if I am elected MTA President, the association
will work with our members to raise awareness
implementation, seek to modify existing regulations
and laws to help educators in their practice, and
delay timelines where appropriate.
Our higher ed members face myriad challenges
that include — but are not limited to — the Vision
soaring tuition and fees, ORP changes, attacks on
academic freedom, and online instruction. As I
have in the past, I will work closely with our higher
education members through their local chapters and
HELC, the Higher Education Leadership Council.
In recent years, one of the fastest-growing
segments of our membership has been our Education
Support Professionals. I want to continue to work
with all of our ESPs, preK through graduate school,
to ensure that they feel they are a valued part of the
they rightfully deserve. Speaking from experience, the
ESPs who worked in my classroom were a vital part
of the educational process for the students we served
together. Going forward, I hope to work with the
MTA ESP Committee to strengthen ESP support and
offerings at all levels of the organization.
The road ahead will not be an easy one, given
the forces out there that would welcome our
demise and will try to ensure that outcome. Last
year I had the honor of chairing an MTA task force
charged with identifying the players in the local
and national networks of anti-public-education and
anti-worker groups. Our work culminated in the
release of a report appropriately titled “Threat from
We need to heed the warnings in the report
concerning local groups such as the Beacon Hill
Institute and the Pioneer Institute, as well as national
groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),
and the Heritage Foundation. These groups, along
with others, often espouse policies that attack public
education and the rights of workers. To combat such
forces we need to continue to develop our power at
the grassroots level. Strengthening our grassroots
efforts will be a hallmark of my presidency.
I t is incumbent upon us — the educators — to put forth our own solutions to address the achievement gap. We also must address other
perceived “ills” of the public education system. If
we do not provide real solutions — our solutions —
then others will drive the education policy debate.
Although Massachusetts is No. 1 and we should be
proud of it, we all realize there is still work to be
done. I say: Ask us. We are the experts!
On a personal note, my wife, Joyce, and I are
public school graduates (K- 12 and higher ed) and the
proud parents of Timmy Jr., a seventh-grader in the
Weymouth Public Schools.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you
for the past four years. I ask for your vote so that I
may continue to serve.