Joe Bento: Get Out the Vote for Becca Ritchie, REA President 

Today I am writing to urge you to get out and vote for Becca Richie for REA President! Many have asked me why I, current vice president, am not endorsing the current leader. 

With ample public school funding at risk in our state, we need someone who can organize members. Becca is the only candidate for REA President with the skills needed to lead and organize in the manner needed today. 

I am going to tell you what Becca CURRENTLY does as Vice President of the Rainier Uniserv Council and how I think that will translate into the role of REA President. 

On Becca’s website: Becca lists all of her leadership positions, awards received and grants that she has written that have come into the local and council level. Included on this list is the Rainier Educators of Color Network, which is important to me. Becca came to my school, as a member of RECN, and led a listening session with over 500 students, a majority of our staff, and the local community—including parents. 

Becca also states she wants to empower Executive Board members, building reps and bargaining teams to better serve our local union. Becca says she will include an ESA and other marginalized voices on the bargaining team.

At Rainier Uniserv Council (RUC), Becca leads collaboratively with the RUC President, but also delegates, asks for feedback, forms or joins committees, and makes sure that all member voices are heard. This is the kind of leadership that we need this is the kind of leadership that we need in Renton.  

Right now REA doesn’t have a website that hosts important documents, an event calendar, contact information, or anything else to show transparency. Where are the meeting minutes? When are the Rep Council or Exec board meetings? Currently, you can’t find that information anywhere. Our members and Renton have a right to know and what is happening in our union. REA members need easy access to frequently asked questions about our contract.   

Becca will create this website and give members access to information with transparency. Becca will also follow our constitution, our bylaws, and our election procedures.becca will return democracy to REA, putting you and your voices in the driver’s seat.

Becca is the candidate to elect. She has years of service at local, state and national levels in many groups within our union. While local issues are important to focus on, there are national and state issues that we need to let our members be aware of and contribute to that conversation. 

Becca’s campaign has been about highlighting members’ needs and as the REA President she will do just that—and put the “you” back in Union. I urge you to talk to your colleagues and get out the vote for Becca Ritchie! We need her to become our next REA President! 

Lauren Daugherty: Becca Ritchie is Uniquely Qualified to be REA President 

I am so pleased to write about my wonderful colleague, Becca Ritchie. I’ve known Becca for over 25 years at RSD in various capacities— Department head, Choral teacher, Computer Science teacher, REA support, friend and colleague. Becca is a gifted and intelligent leader. She is very focused on teacher issues in the workplace, as well as education nationwide. She always has time to talk to us individually about our concerns. She is extremely knowledgeable about education and political issues, fairness, and equity and access. 

Becca brings teachers together in various capacities, and unites us all. I was thrilled to hear that Becca decided to run for REA President. Her leadership qualities, her intelligence, caring nature, and her collaboration with administrators and teachers in RSD make her uniquely qualified for this very position.

Cort Leininger: Why I’m Supporting Becca Ritchie for REA President

Cort Leininger, ELA Lindbergh HS

I’m voting for Becca Ritchie for REA President because of her unwavering stance on issues of social justice.
Becca understands the vast inequities in our school system, and she believes it is our duty to work towards eliminating them. She knows that teachers need support in these efforts, and she’s prepared to fight for them. 

I see her fighting for equity wherever I look.
The first time I saw Becca was in a picture posted to the Facebook event page for Seattle’s #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool action on 10/19/16. I didn’t know who she was at the time, but I remember being encouraged seeing her and the six other educators in the photo showing support for Renton students.

I met Becca a week and a half later at the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice Conference in Portland, where she was running a booth. I recognized her from the photo. We started talking, and I learned she had recently presented a speech to our school board showing support for Black Lives Matter At School as well. Then she started talking about the importance of the union. I could tell she was the type of person who pushes for justice from all sides.

I got to know her more when I found out about a grant she had helped the Rainier UniServ Council acquire. The grant is currently funding research and outreach related to restorative justice. Not too many schools practice restorative justice yet, but those that do generally see reduced issues with discipline, as well as a reduction in the disproportional and unjust discipline of students of color. Becca is a leader in spreading awareness about this alternative system of justice, one that will help us be more effective educators.

Becca clearly has a passion for helping teachers acquire the necessary tools to provide an equal opportunity for all of our students. I hope you join me in supporting her.
– Cort Leininger

Lucero Alegre: Why I’m Voting for Becca Ritchie for REA President

Being a fairly new educator I knew that I wanted to be involved in union work and although I became involved with WEA first, I was not as active with REA – that is until I met Becca Ritchie.

The first time I really noticed and admired Becca was not just at the WEA RA while she spoke out about the many new business items she wrote or helped write, but at last year’s May Day Immigrants’ Rights march. It was then that I knew she walked the talk, literally. Ever since then she has continued to reach out to me, mentor me in union work and has encouraged me be engaged in REA; from the work she does with Rainier Educators of Color Network, to becoming a board member of Rainier UniServ Council, to joining the core team of a restorative justice cadre, Becca demonstrates she is a leader that inspires others to lead.

Being an elementary school counselor, I know and understand the need for equitable contracts for ESAs. We are at a time that all ESAs’ needs must be met. It saddens me to see colleagues leave to other districts or burn out due to our contract not being competitive and equitable enough. I know that Becca will not only highlight our needs, but truly understands the importance of having ESAs at the table.

This is why I am voting for Becca Ritchie for president and why I believe she is what REA needs as our president.

Julianna Dauble: Why Becca is Right for REA

Julianna, Becca, and Reverend Barber ll, North Carolina NAACP President 

Hello colleagues,

It isn’t often that we get to write the accolades of our best friends for public consumption, but that is what I am doing. Becca Ritchie deserves your vote for REA president for so many reasons; a few you may not know about. Yet.  

The job of local president is not well understood by many people; in fact, no one really knows how massive it is until you’re in it but based on my years of organizing alongside Becca, no one, I mean NO ONE is better prepared.

Becca knows more about education policy than anyone can fathom. She is so well connected to the movers and shakers in truly wholesome ways. Becca has said ‘I’m not a schmoozer.’’ to which I often answer ‘that says why you SHOULD be REA President’. She’s right, she’s not a superficial schmoozer. She’s really truly the kind of leader that stands BESIDE people giving them the resources, the confidence, and the perfect balance of accountability and encouragement to make you realize the potential you didn’t know you had.

Together Becca and I have organized many events that educate the public about public education. Each time we go through the planning stages, she is the constant, the rock, the knower of all and the one person everyone counts on. That is who she is.

Becca has more respect for democratic unionism than anyone I’ve ever met. And I know a lot of unionists! It would be impossible to count the number of times she has reminded a room full of committed educators that the union CAN and SHOULD hear from them. That their voice is what is missing from the conversation on a broader stage.

Becca is the union; in the face of negativity she calmly navigates back to doing the right thing for the right reasons.  

Becca is the kind of teacher that pulls on your heart strings in the movies, except she is for real. She builds up the kids who need it most, in every way possible. Beyond facilitating a compassionate classroom, her building leadership is unparalleled. Becca works tirelessly on leading young people to discover their history and the struggles of social justice movements. She teaches tech skills, masterfully, but always in the context of BEING THE GOOD in the world.

Becca is a leader who never stops connecting people and ideas to better the teaching profession AND our democracy. She listens better than most adults ever could and when she responds it is always with integrity and honesty. I wish I knew how many times she’s made a Google Doc to compile amazing ideas, or a survey to make sure every member of a team has an opportunity to be heard. That’s who she is; she is the coordinator of so many passionate and overscheduled people already, it is time she shows the world what an ORGANIZED local teacher’s union can be.

Becca is the kind of leader REA needs right now; giving her your vote is the right thing to do for our students and our profession.