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Antonucci: New California Teachers Association president elected in upset

Mike Antonucci | April 2, 2019

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Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears weekly at LA School Report.

Delegates to the California Teachers Association State Council elected E. Toby Boyd as the union’s next president last weekend in Los Angeles. Boyd defeated CTA’s sitting vice president, Theresa Montaño, for the position.

It is rare for an incumbent union second-in-command looking to move up to be challenged in an election, and even rarer to be defeated. Last week, CFT elevated its secretary-treasurer to the presidency with the endorsement of the outgoing president. Boyd, a career teacher from Elk Grove, is a member of the union’s board of directors.

According to CTA, its State Council is “comprised of 800 democratically-elected educators from across the state and is the union’s top governing body.” However, only 643 valid votes were cast in the election, with Boyd receiving 358 votes.

It is difficult to analyze how Boyd pulled off this surprising result. During election campaigns, union officers don’t usually draw sharp distinctions between themselves and their opponents. Boyd’s campaign speech in front of the State Council didn’t exactly bring the house down.

The only semi-controversial statement he made in the run-up to the election was in an interview that appeared in his local union’s newsletter. “I am running to ensure that there will be a candidate who would be the voice for educators across the state and not just those who are in L.A. County,” he said. Montaño, his opponent, is a professor at California State University, Northridge.

But the most likely explanation for Boyd’s victory was his unexpected last-minute endorsement from outgoing CTA President Eric Heins. CTA’s executive officers are limited to two two-year terms.

In a message directed to Council members that was posted on Instagram, Heins announced his support for Boyd. “He has a vision for an inclusive CTA where ALL members’ voices are valued,” Heins wrote.

Endorsing the challenger to his own vice president was a shocking move by Heins, but it appears to have had the desired effect. Boyd won a solid majority of the votes.

The other two executive officer elections went more to form. Incumbent secretary-treasurer David Goldberg, who is the nephew of L.A. Unified school board candidate Jackie Goldberg and previously the treasurer of United Teachers Los Angeles, was elected CTA vice president. Leslie Littman, a member of CTA’s board of directors from the Hart Union High School District, prevailed in a runoff for secretary-treasurer.

Boyd’s term does not begin until July, but he can be expected to have a large role in the next set of CTA actions, including a mass rally at the Capitol on May 22 to support three union bills seeking to regulate charter schools, as well as opening the campaign for the split-roll property tax initiative.

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