Following their convocation this morning, Guilford teachers were treated to a pizza lunch, courtesy of the Guilford Education Association.
“We want to celebrate our teachers—about 320 GEA members—and welcome 18 new educators into our district,” said GEA President Regina Sullivan, a physical education teacher at Guilford High School, where the back-to-school celebration was held. “It’s important to start the year off with plenty of positive energy and let our teachers know how much we appreciate them.”
High school music teacher Kevin Buno agreed. “This is a great way of allowing teachers to build community and start off on the right foot.”
“We don’t often get the opportunity to all be together in the same building,” science teacher Kristie Whitcomb explained. “This is a way of bringing teachers from each of our schools together as one big unit. We are also joined by administrators and board of education members.”
Joseph Mangino, starting his second year as a building representative, stressed that standing together has never been more important.
“The strongest voice for teachers is having one voice,” Mangino said. “I’m really passionate about educating our members about what their union provides. I think they may not always know, or they may take a lot of the stuff that’s in their contract for granted. I’m always interested in talking to members in detail about what our union dues go to, why it’s important to have one voice, and what the benefits of union membership are. My sister is a teacher, both our parents were teachers, and they’re lifelong union members who understand the value of the union—so I grew up around that. I’ve been tracking cases like Janus for years, and where we are now, there are so many forces fighting against working people—and definitely against teachers—in favor of corporate interests. Union strength is key right now, because there are so many forces—political and otherwise—that are going against teachers, so it’s really, really important that we all stick together.”
Lunch was catered by Naples Restaurant, which brought two pizza trucks with wood-fired-ovens to an area of the school outside the commons. Between tossing the dough, owner and chef John Mazzarella said, “I’m happy to be here supporting the union and our Guilford Public Schools.”