Jessica Tang for BTU President
@JessJTang

Over the last fifteen years, Jessica has demonstrated the experience, knowledge and skills needed to lead our union.  In the last four years, she has participated in master bargaining negotiations as well as side table negotiations and Level 4 and 5 negotiations. She has worked closely with the BTU attorneys, testified at hearings, and stayed current on important litigation and policy changes.  She is familiar with the inner workings of the office, responsibilities of all office staff, and worked closely with the current President, Richard Stutman, who has endorsed her candidacy for this position.  Her proven advocacy includes leading our union's efforts to overcome overwhelming odds in the defeat of Question 2 just this past fall, and this is just the latest in a long record of effective advocacy for students, families and educators.  

Since 2013 Jessica Tang has served as the founding Director of Organizing at the Boston Teachers Union where she has since spearheaded both the BTU’s internal and community organizing efforts. In addition to the successful No On 2/Save Our Public Schools campaign, she has successfully led the "Everyone is Welcome Here" campaign, the Annual Back to School Fair, "Less Testing, More Learning" campaign and all of the BTU Organizing Committees. In the spring of 2016 she was also elected to serve as a Vice President for the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts.  At the Boston Teachers Union, she was elected to the Executive Board and delegate in 2009 and has also served as a Building Rep at the Gavin Middle School then Young Achievers K-8 Pilot School since 2007.  She is also a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance MA Chapter, which was chartered in 2014. 

Jessica began working in Boston Public Schools as a college student volunteer tutor and then tutoring program director at the Mather Elementary School in 2000 and then began her teaching career as a student teacher at the McCormack Middle School in 2004 before teaching at the Gavin and Young Achievers. Throughout her years in BPS she has held many teacher-leader positions including a seat on Governor Deval Patrick’s Teacher Advisory Board, the BPS Teacher Diversity Work Group, Teacher Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves and the BPS History and Social Studies Fellow.  She is a co-founder of the Teacher Activist Group-Boston and Boston-area Educators for Social Justice Conference, co-founder of the Boston Education Justice Alliance and Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, former co-chair of the Massachusetts Asian American Educators Association, former board member of the Haymarket People’s Fund and current board member of Citizens for Public Schools. As a teacher-activist, she has been involved in many different community organizations that are working to advance racial, social and economic justice and brings this perspective and experience of community and labor organizing to lead members of the BTU and AFT-MA.

Throughout her career, Jessica has continuously demonstrated a true commitment and dedication to BTU members, students and public education.  In just in the last three years, she has built a completely new department, from the ground up. Below is a summary of her accomplishments both internally and externally in just this role.  With her experience, knowledge of local and national policy and her vision for the future, she is the qualified leader that the BTU will need to steer our organization through troubling times ahead.

Internal Organizing:

  • Created organizing committees made up of BTU members (and in some cases also parents, students, and allies) that are actively addressing professional issues including support for new educators, special education inclusion, over-testing, history and social studies, ELL needs, teacher diversity, LGBTQ inclusivity, restorative justice, climate justice, and immigrant rights (#UnafraidEducators). 

  • Created a Building Rep Regional Leaders network to recruit, support, and activate Building Reps across the city

  • Re-structured the workshops and content for the annual Building Reps Conference and created an annual Winter Building Rep conference with the goal of building leadership and empowering our members.

  • Organized monthly regional “Meet and Greets” that hundreds of members have participated in to expand opportunities for our members to interact with staff, hear from our members, and learn about the activities at the union.

  • Worked with individual schools to revive their Faculty Senates and collectively solve school-based issues.

  • Initiated the BTU/AFT Teacher Leader Fellows program with Paul Tritter,  the BTU Director of Professional Learning, to develop policy leaders within our ranks.

  • Organized members to meet with community leaders and testify at public hearings to advocate for the needs of our educators, students, and schools.

  • Worked with Level 5 school staff and parents to advocate for the schools communities and supported staff, students, and parents fighting school closures.

  • Hired, with a hiring committee, two new organizers to further strengthen internal and external organizing efforts in the union.

External Organizing:

  • Developed new relationships with over 40 community-based organizations and outreach to dozens more.

  • Creation of the, now annual, Welcome Back To School Fair where the BTU gives away over 40,000 new free books each year. 

  • Established the new Parent Advisory Committee that created the first ever BTU Parent 2 Parent conference for both members and BPS parents, also now an annual event. 

  • Co-founded the Boston Education Justice Alliance with the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project, Boston Student Advisory Council/Youth On Board, Jobs With Justice, Coalition for Quality Education, and over a dozen other education advocacy organizations which have successfully worked on campaigns ranging for charter school accountability, school equity, transportation and budget concerns over the last two years.  

  • Spearheaded the creation of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance with Jobs With Justice and other state-wide labor and community groups to create a statewide table for public education advocacy.  MEJA later housed the Save Our Public Schools/No On 2 Campaign.  

  • Developed relationships with student leaders, parent leaders, community leaders, and elected officials and brought them together to collectively problem-solve school based issues and concerns.

  • Organized town halls, community actions, and school-based actions as part of larger strategies to achieve goals and create positive visibility for the union in the community.


Testimonials

“Jessica Tang offers dynamic, committed, savvy, and collaborative leadership. I fully support the vision articulated in her principles and believe that she will help move our union forward.”

— Amika Kemmler-Ernst, Retired Teacher

“Jessica Tang’s candidacy for President of the BTU is beyond exciting. Our membership is incredibly diverse! It would be great to see this diversity represented in the leadership of our Union. Jessica will not only reengage our most disengaged membership but will also support ALL of our member from our wise veterans to our newest and youngest members. I support Jessica Tang for President without any reservations and with a new found enthusiasm!”

— Christiaan Summerhill

“Jessica has proven herself a tireless supporter of social justice causes. At every opportunity, she has voiced her support and organized others to stand with labor, with the forces of equity, with those who are disenfranchised or belittled by a system of high-stakes for the under-served. Most importantly, she has a vision that encompasses and honors our natural allies — the students and families of the Boston Public Schools. More than anyone I have known, Jessica Tang has put her mind to the task and her boots to the ground in the work of building coalitions that promote and protect public education across our larger community.”

— Seth Peterson

"Jessica Tang knows that we bring out the best in children when we bring out the best in us."

- Mel King