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Candidate Forum


Elections for Local, State, and National union leadership begin on January 31 and end on February 18, 2022.

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On Thursday, January 27, candidates for TAAAC President and Vice President answered questions from members to provide more information for the local elections. The video below is a recording of their responses.


Candidates for TAAAC Board of Directors were also able to answer questions from members. Below are their written responses.

Why do you want to be on the Board of Directors for TAAAC?

I got involved in the building representative position to help my fellow teachers better understand their contracts. From that point on everything I have done with or for TAAAC was to help other educators who may not yet have a voice to express their concerns. At the end of the day I just want to help others, and being on the board of directors will allow me to do this for more people.

– Daniel Kempler


I want to be on the Board of Directors to support our members under new leadership. Also, to help unite our members, to be an advocate for teachers and to make sure all our members feel that their union listens to and values their needs.

– Melissa McHarg


I enjoy being involved and being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Becoming a Board member will put me in a position to help both the faculty and our students.

– Marissa Raimond


I want to become TAAAC Board of Directors to support teachers and staff and fight against making concessions. My experience and diversity will bring fresh ideas to the negotiating table. In the coming years, when new salary scales are implemented due to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, we need to be proactively seeking equity for ALL Unit 1 members. We also need to make the necessary corrections to avoid repeating mistakes from the past and help teachers and staff increase salaries, decrease workload, and improve working environment and conditions.

– Karina Zotti

How will you hold TAAAC accountable for being non-partisan?

Life, much like unions, are all about compromise. Through understanding member wants/needs I hope to create compromises that allow TAAAC to continue to be on the non-partisan path.

– Daniel Kempler


I will hold TAAAC accountable to be non-partisan by making sure discussions and decisions are transparent to our members. In the past, too many times members have asked why things were said, done or not done because decisions were made and the why not communicated. I also will communicate to the Board what our members communicate to me as needs. There is no place for any pollical party ideology. The Board should be advocating for what is right for our teachers and students, period!

– Melissa McHarg


I believe in fairness for all our members and will not agree to favor one group over another, unless the facts and circumstances clearly require it.

– Marissa Raimond


By advocation for all TAAAC member’s rights, supporting public education, supporting TAAAC office leaders, supporting elected officials regardless of political affiliation.

– Karina Zotti

What is the most important issue that you believe needs to be addressed by TAAAC leadership?

Workload. Every teacher I have talked too, and continue to talk too, have this same issue. I would like to see TAAAC leadership continue to fight to make sure teachers can leave the building on time, and complete limited amount of work outside of duty hours.

– Daniel Kempler


Currently, the most important issue I believe needs to be addressed is workload. Most, if not all, of our members are feeling it. Teaching during COVID has brought this issue to a head. There is a lack of understanding and recognition from Riva road and some administrators about what teachers are experiencing right now. This cannot continue!

– Melissa McHarg


There are several important issues that need to be addressed, including health and safety in the schools, staff shortages, equitable pay, workload among educators, and special education and related service provider workload.

– Marissa Raimond


1- Increase salary scale across the board
2- Increase steps until 30 is reached as many members start young and once they reach 25 years, they still have many years to retirement and will only receive COLA
3- COLA to match inflation rate
3- Decrease workload
4- Improve working environment and conditions

– Karina Zotti

As a member of the Board of Directors, how important is it to reach consensus with the other members?

Every member of the Board of Directors is coming into this position with his/her own set of experiences. While it is unrealistic to have consensus on every major issue, I will continue to push for compromise/consensus when possible. There will be situations where this is not possible, which is ok, as long as the working relationship of the board continue to move forward.

– Daniel Kempler


It is very important to reach a consensus with other members because how can we support our members if we can not agree on issues. There will always be some “give and take” when trying to solve issues. The Board of Directors will need to be open minded to all sides and advocate for what is best, where we can make the biggest impact with the least amount of harm (concessions, when needed). Again this is where transparency is necessary. Members need to know the why behind the decisions the Board of Directors discuss and make.

– Melissa McHarg


It is very important that the members reach consensus on most major issues and move forward as a united Board. However, we will probably not all agree on every issue. It is also important for us to respectfully air out any concerns or differences we have. Independent thoughts help bring forward better discussions!

– Marissa Raimond


It’s important to reach consensus with the other members because it shows the willingness to work as a team for the benefit of all members.

– Karina Zotti

What will you do when you disagree with a majority position of the TAAAC BOD?

I will try to better understand the opposition’s point of view first and foremost. If possible I will continue to advocate for my point and work to reach some sort of compromise. If the point is lost, I will do what we do in IEP meetings, disagree and move on.

– Daniel Kempler


When I disagree with majority position of the BOD, I will objectively present my position and why I disagree. I will listen to their counterpoints and work towards a solution that all parties can support. Again, the TAAAC BOD needs to be sure to do what is right for our members, it is not about our personal opinions, it is about the collective voice of our members.

– Melissa McHarg


If I disagree on a minor issue, I will support the major position as I will always do what is in the best interest of all Unit 1 members. However, I will not compromise my position on significant issues in which I strongly disagree. I will always vote for what I believe is the better or more equitable alternative.

– Marissa Raimond


As in any democracy, majority rules. I will express my opinion appropriately during the conversation/debate, but once a consensus has been reached, I will support the decision. I will not work against the majority’s decision as it is not democratic nor in the best interest of TAAAC members.

– Karina Zotti

What will you do to increase membership and involvement in the association?

I would to start office hours, where anyone can come and talk with me via phone or virtual means. I believe if every member believes they have a voice that has been heard, they will be more likely to become involved.

– Daniel Kempler


To help increase membership and involvement is to be vocal, to communicate to members about upcoming meetings and events, and most importantly make sure all teachers feel heard! To throw out a movie quote, “If you build it, they will come.” If we strive to build a union the members want, need, and respect we will increase involvement & membership.

– Melissa McHarg


I will encourage monthly newsletters, support and establish voluntary committees, and continue to push for consistent FAC and 10-minute school meetings.

– Marissa Raimond


=I will work with the team on strategies to increase membership and involvement in the association such as phone calls/text messages/emails, organizing events and activating members by having one on one conversations.

– Karina Zotti

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