MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Meet The HCTA Executive Board

Rob Kriete, President

I was born and raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn, while attending the same elementary school as my great-grandparents, grandparents, and mom, P.S. 115. I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher after getting a summer job teaching campers how to swim. When they were successful, I found it so very rewarding. So, I found myself at U.S.F. and began my teaching career here in Hillsborough at Wilson Middle School in 1993. I come from a union family, and being a part of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association has been a big part of my career. Early on, frankly, I wanted the protection of our union. But, as I became a more seasoned educator, I saw the passionate work HCTA did locally to advocate for public education and how they represented and supported employees in so many ways, I saw beyond the protections offered members. Serving on the HCTA Board of Directors, and now as your proud president, I get to lead our efforts for better conditions of teaching and learning while advocating for the dynamic teachers and education support professionals in Hillsborough. I truly believe that together we are strong!

Johnny Green, Vice President

As a proud product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, I know first-hand the many accomplishments and growth that has taken place in our district over the years. I was born and raised in Tampa by my grandparents. My grandfather retired from the Navy and my father from the United States Air Force.

I am a proud graduate of Hillsborough High School and Hillsborough Community College and had the opportunity to attend the Historical Florida A&M University.

For over 18 years I’ve been employed with Hillsborough County Public Schools. I decided to become more involved in my community with voter registration drives, promoting community events, and youth job fairs. I have always believed that ALL employees should be treated with dignity and fairness and have significant protection no matter the position or job role. All of this led me to become more active in my union, first by joining as a member and secondly, by becoming more engaged so that I could not only make a difference but advocate for the voiceless.

I strongly believe that we all hold significant value in making our community and our public schools successful in educating all youth and advocating for all educators.

I have served on the HCTA executive board, and currently serve on the Florida Education Association (FEA) Credential & Elections Committee as Vice chair, and was chosen, to participate in NEAs ESP Leadership Institute. Now, I proudly serve as your HCTA Vice President. I am dedicated to being an advocate for our members to ensure that they receive the necessary protection and support. I am a firm believer that there is dignity in all our work. It’s not about the work that you do, but it’s about how well you do the work to further enhance public education for all students.

We are ALL stronger together.

Valerie Chuchman, Secretary-Treasurer

I want to live in a world where public schools are valued, educators are respected for their expertise, houses are self-cleaning, and great ideas formulated in the shower are not forgotten.

I spent 23 years teaching high school science and am honored to have been named Teacher of the Year while in Milwaukee (2006) and at Riverview High School (2016). I served as a building rep early in my career, but my union activism ramped up in 2011 when the governor of Wisconsin introduced union-busting legislation. Wisconsin winters were not made for protests. After six weeks in the cold and snow, I conceded that I was not genetically inclined to Midwestern winters. This was the push my wife and I needed to finally move to Tampa in the summer of 2011.

My plan to lay low in Hillsborough was thwarted in August 2015 when I was nudged into serving as the senior rep for RvHS. During that time, I focused on building a positive CTA culture, and over the last six years, our membership density grew by 30%. I am proud to call Hillsborough County my home and pleased to have served our members as an FEA, NEA, and AFT delegate, HCTA Executive Board member, and now as your secretary-treasurer.

When I’m not working to increase the power of our union, you can find me whipping up low-carb dishes, raising monarch caterpillars, attending an Indigo Girls concert, or cuddling with my cats.