Shawanda Weems

For Executive Board, Elementary School - Independent

My name is Shawanda Weems.

Passionate. Focused. High Expectations of Students. Advocate of Workplace Rights of Educators. Provider of Opportunities for Students. Equity. Access. Driven. These words are at the core of my belief system.

I have been an advocate as well as an educator in The Bronx for 23 years. I have taught at the same school - PS/MS 15 in the University Heights section of The Bronx for the last 21 years.

As a union delegate for 9 years, I saw the union at work and had some concerns about the decisions made on our behalf. When the opportunity arose to be my school’s chapter leader, I saw an opportunity to be a part of the solution, instead of just complaining about the problems.  I wanted to engage with the UFT in a way that would allow me to bring the concerns of all members in my chapter regardless of titles to the forefront. These last few years have been eye-opening about the ways in which the UFT leadership makes decisions on our behalf. I have filed and won numerous grievances at my school over the course of the last 2 ½ years two of which went to the Chancellor’s level. I did this in order to fight for the workplace rights of my school community which has been under attack. I have gone to the media to bring to light the sweltering heat in my school complex that, because of our zip code, was continuously being ignored. I had to go to the media to shine a light on this issue because the union does not understand the needs of its members or the students we teach. This has left me no other choice but to file safety complaints as well as grievances: making me push the union to do its job.

If elected, I will bring our concerns to the table and advocate that our voices are heard. This coalition - United for Change - is the opportunity to ensure that we are not just seen but are also heard. I am running because, in a democracy, the democratic process needs to be upheld especially in the way in which the union conducts its business. I have decided to run because union leadership is out of touch. This pandemic changed the way in which we teach and has placed a spotlight on what needs to change within our union, which has the responsibility of representing and advocating what is best for its membership, as well as the children that we serve.