SEA Presidential Candidates Pros and Cons

Today begins voting for Seattle Education Association’s officer elections. Members of the WAESN Board of Directors put together this pro/con list of each of the candidates running for SEA President because Ethnic Studies is a topic on some of the candidates’ platforms! WAESN has endorsed a slate that includes Jon Greenberg for president of SEA. This pro/con list makes the reasons pretty clear!

**The list has been updated (05/01/2020) to reflect the runoff election between Jon Greenberg and Jennifer Matter.

Jon GreenbergJon’s campaign video includes some of the anti-racist and organizing work he’s been involved in on top of his 20+ years teaching in Seattle Public Schools.
Some highlights are:

SEA, WEA, and NEA representative experience

Organizing for racial justice at SEA, WEA, and NEA representative assemblies

Picket captain during the strike of 2015

Member of ERAC – a racial equity advisory group to the superintendent – since 2014

Led the initiative to create an Ethnic Studies Program in SPS with the NAACP in 2016

Member of the SPS Ethnic Studies Advisory Group

Advisor to the NAACP Youth Council

Jon is well versed in racial equity literacy through his anti-racist work and professional development to support his praxis as an Ethnic Studies educator for over 20 years.

Jon repeatedly shows up to publicly challenge district leadership about their lack of commitment to their own racial equity rhetoric.

He regularly and readily cedes time and space to BIPOC who may not have the access Jon’s white male privilege grants him.

Additionally, Jon has the endorsements of prominent educators and organizers of Color, including Nikkita Oliver, Larry Gosset, Jesse Hagopian, and our organization.
Jon has been accused of being divisive, but most of those accusations come from racially fragile community members who would rather not advance racial justice.

Jon is a white male leading racial justice. We recognize this is a paradox and we endorse him because we know no other candidate has his experience in praxis.

Jon can seem like he takes up a lot of space and exploits his white, male privilege, but it’s important to note that several educators of Color asked him to run for SEA president. Jon initially was wary of this idea and consulted with womxn of Color he respects who also told him to run. 

Jon wears a lot of hats both in education as well as in the community and may be spread too thin to accomplish the lengthy and ambitious objectives of the Slate. 
Jennifer MatterJennifer created a campaign video highlighting some of her union experience.
Some highlights are:

Bargaining in 2013, 2015, 2019

SEA Treasurer

Bylaws Committee Member 

SEA building representative

Jennifer, like Derek, claims to value racial equity, but lacks any evidence of working on racial equity initiatives other than serving on a building racial equity team.
Jennifer has great union leadership experience, and that seems to be where her experience ends. A Google search turned up nothing other than an SEA video from 2010 about the power of unions.


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