From Oklahoma to Arizona, meet the teachers that are taking the future of their state’s education into their own hands

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week by supporting these candidates

Amid teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado and, most recently, Arizona, educators across the country are taking a stand for their students and communities.

Many have been inspired to step into the fray and are using Crowdpac to run for office for the very first time.

These candidates have dedicated their lives to improving education. As educators themselves, they know firsthand that not all kids have access to the educational opportunities that they deserve. So now they’re running for their state legislatures, city councils and school boards because they know we can — and must — do better.

Help celebrate #TeacherAppreciationWeek by supporting these amazing candidates crowdfunding their campaigns on Crowdpac:

Arizona

Joseph Bisaccia

Candidate for Arizona State House, District 12
Middle School Teacher
As an active member in the #RedForEd movement, Joe is running because he believes the views of Arizona constituents are not reflected by their representatives in the state House. Because he’s running a clean campaign in compliance with the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Joe won’t be accepting any dark money. He’s fighting to restore public education funding, pay teachers a living wage, increase access to quality healthcare for every Arizonan, and protect the right to vote.

Iowa

Eric Gjerde

Candidate for Iowa State House, District 67
Special Education Teacher

Dr. Eric Gjerde, a special education teacher with a doctorate in educational policy and leadership, is running as a pro-women’s healthcare, pro-education, and pro-union alternative to his current representative in his Cedar Rapids district. His focus is on restoring funding for education, investing in disadvantaged teens, and strengthening working-class unions across the state.

New Jersey

Zellie Thomas

Candidate for Paterson City Council, Member at Large
Third Grade Math Teacher
Zellie is a third grade math teacher, a community activist, and a Black Lives Matter leader. He’s running because the residents of Paterson deserve access to living wage jobs, affordable housing, and quality education. Zellie wants to build a political revolution and keep his community “empowered within a system that often ignores them.”

Maryland

Alice Cain

Candidate for Maryland State House, District 30A
Education advocate
This mom and educator works at Teach Plus, where she partners with teachers in Baltimore and Prince George’s County to improve results for underserved students. Alice wants to be the voice for them in state school funding and decided to run when a friend reminded her, “Don’t get mad…get elected.”

Washington, D.C.

Jessica Sutter

Candidate for Washington, D.C. State Board of Education, Ward 6
Education policy advocate & former middle school teacher
Jessica has worked to improve education for kids for nearly 20 years. After teaching middle school for seven years, she made grants of public funds to foster innovation in DC public charter schools and ran community meetings in all eight wards to understand what DC families wanted from their schools. For the past five years, she has run a consulting business to improve educational outcomes for students.

Omekongo Dibinga

Candidate for Washington, D.C. City Council, At-Large District
Professor at American University
Dr. Dibinga is a professor and motivational speaker who has been constantly working to improve DC’s education system — whether by working with youth in our public and private schools, our community centers, and our correctional facilities or by training educators on issues related to cultural competency. He wants to continue to improve DC’s public education as a city council member.

Georgia

Everton Blair

Candidate for Gwinnett Board of Education, District 4
Math teacher & education advocate
This lifelong Atlantan went to Gwinnett County Public Schools — now he’s running for Gwinnett’s Board of Education to give back to his hometown school district. As a teacher himself, he believes it’s important that the school board has members with direct teaching experience. And, if elected, he’d make history as the first person of color on the board in a system where 3 out of 4 students are students of color.

Florida

Mara Schiff

Candidate for Indian River County School Board, District 1
Educator & consultant to school districts
Dr. Mara Schiff has been teaching at Florida Atlantic University for over 25 years. After a long career focused on juvenile justice issues, she realized that opportunities to address their needs had already been missed by the public education systems that were supposed to serve them. Mara began working instead to address issues in schools that were failing the kids who needed the most support. She wants to use her experience to improve the schools in her community.

Oklahoma

Renee Jerden

Candidate for Oklahoma State Senate, District 24
Choir teacher

Renee Jerden is a choir teacher who has advocated in the Oklahoma State Capitol for increased education funding. After participating in the teachers’ strike, she’s challenging the status quo by crowdfunding her run for Oklahoma State Senate on Crowdpac.

“I used Crowdpac.com and I raised the $750 filing fee in three days. And I said, if that’s not a message that I need to be doing this, I don’t know what is,” says Renee.

Angela Moffit Jones

Candidate for Oklahoma State House, District 31
High School Teacher
Angela fell in love with teaching while serving as a substitute teacher at her local high school. She decided to pursue her degree to teach while continuing to substitute teach and raise two children. As a teacher, student, and mother, she has seen firsthand the decline of education in her state. Angela’s running for state house on Crowdpac to make Oklahoma worthy of passionate teachers like her.

Madeline Scott

Candidate for Oklahoma State House, District 101
Fourth Grade Teacher

Madeline working with at-risk students and knows firsthand how harsh budget cuts can affect Oklahoma’s children. After approaching her representative with her concerns about the state of education and leaving disappointed with the answers she received, she decided to run for state house on Crowdpac.

Joey Rodman

Candidate for Oklahoma State House, District 84
Science communicator & educator
Joey is a science communicator and educator running for state house in the 84th District. Her focus is on supporting education funding and infrastructure with evidence-based legislation. The Run for Something-endorsed candidate believes that education must be made a priority for Oklahoma to truly thrive. She’s campaigning to bring a science-based policy approach to her state.

Mary Boren

Candidate for Oklahoma State Senate, District 16
Former School Counselor
Mary is not just a former school counselor, but also a public interest attorney with plenty of experience representing the teachers, students, parents, and children who need the most help. She’s running because schools don’t have enough textbooks, teachers are leaving, and some students don’t even have desks.

Tyler Smith

Candidate for Oklahoma State House, District 41
Teacher
Tyler Smith is running because Oklahoma’s education crisis hits close to home: his parents were both teachers; his wife is a teacher; and he’s a teacher, too. According to Tyler, “classes are overcrowded, underfunded, and lacking resources that surrounding states are able to provide. Oklahoma has never made education a priority, and I’d like to fix that.”

Cyndi Ralston

Candidate for Oklahoma State House, District 12
Public school teacher
Cyndi Ralston, a public school teacher with 30 years experience, made national headlines recently when she announced her bid to unseat State Rep. Kevin McDugle after he “disrespected” teachers in a viral video during the strike. “I feel like we’re showing the students what a free democracy is all about,” says Cyndi.