HCEA 2020 Election Bios

Bio Sketches and Names were printed exactly as they were submitted.

Bio sketches for Board of Director, MSEA, and NEA Delegate were limited to 55 words and sketches for Officers were limited to 100 words.


Candidates for HCEA President (and Delegate to MSEA and NEA RA)

Colleen Morris

Worksite: HCEA

Biography: As your HCEA President, I have strived to make Howard County Public Schools the absolute best place for all educators. Jointly, we have: secured a two-year contract that helps us attract and retain ESP and certificated staff; influenced policy and practices in evaluations, job descriptions, grading and reporting, and scheduling; secured grants for professional development; increased membership, engagement and our internal financial stability.  Providing opportunities to ensure our member’s truths are heard and needs are met through our elected Board, County and State officials is still my main priority. With your support we will continue this progress. Re-elect Colleen Morris. To view her flyer click here.



Erika Strauss Chavarria

Worksite: WLHS

Biography: I am a 10th year Spanish teacher at Wilde Lake High School and I currently serve on the NEA and MSEA Board of Directors. I have served on numerous NEA, MSEA, and HCEA task forces, committees and caucuses. I have also served on many HCPSS Policy Committees. I have facilitated workshops and presented on various education related topics at dozens of conferences, universities, and panels across the county, state, and country. I have extensive experience lobbying both in the Maryland General Assembly, as well as on Capital Hill. I have the experience, knowledge, and passion to serve as HCEA President. To view her flyer click here.





Candidates for HCEA Vice President (and Delegate to MSEA and NEA RA)


Benjamin Schmitt

Worksite: CCES

Biography: I am a 21-year, HCPSS veteran art teacher, running for HCEA Vice President.  As a career HCEA member, I’ve served as a building representative, member of the Organizing Committee, volunteer for elections, delegate to NEA Rep Assemblies, participant/presenter at NEA Leadership Summits, and Board of Directors member.  Professionally, I’ve written curriculum, served on the Visual Arts Leadership Cadre, testified at CO/BoE, and been an NEH Summer Scholar.  I bring a three-pronged perspective as an RA teacher, husband to a classroom teacher, and father of two children in the system.  I look forward to advocating for and representing everyone.




Doug Lea

Worksite: DRES

Biography: What’s next?  We elected a Board that hired a new Superintendent. We improved evaluations. We negotiated a great contract with solid raises and protected your health care. We secured support for the Kirwan Commission. We protect your employee rights and support professional practice and equity. As your HCEA Vice President, I’m proud to have personally contributed to every one of those success stories while teaching full-time. Ongoing challenges: budget deficits, the aftermath of redistricting… who knows what’s coming? I ask for your vote so I may continue to protect and uplift our union.  Re-elect Doug.  We’ve got your back!





Jessica Nichols

Worksite: RHHS

Biography: I am currently a 15th year social studies teacher and currently serve you on the HCEA Board of Directors and on the NEA Resolutions Committee.  I also served you at representative assemblies on the state and national level.  I am passionate about our members and our students have participated in NEA leadership trainings to further my knowledge about budgets and fiscal fitness.  If elected by you to be the HCEA Vice President, I will bring my boundless energy, compassion and willingness to fight for all of our members to the position.   Thank you and I look forward to serving you! To view her flyer click here.



Candidates for BOTH MSEA October 2020 AND NEA RA 2020:

Jennifer Bezy

Worksite: FES

Biography: My name is Jennifer Bezy. I’m asking for your vote to attend the NEA 2020 RA & the MSEA RA 2020. Every year I volunteer to help MSEA raise $ through the auctions we hold during our State delegation meetings at the NEA RA. Thank you so very much for your consideration.






Kara Brooks-Odom

Worksite: MHHS

Biography: As a special educator working primarily with students with significant disabilities, I feel it is important to have an often under heard voice at the RA. I have attended in the past and all voices should be present.







Cheryl Coleman

Worksite: JHES

Biography: My goal is to serve the members of our association better and to be your voice at the NEA and MSEA Conventions.


Gail Duncan

Worksite: SFES


Sheila Ebron

Worksite: IES



Jason Fahie

Worksite: HCMS

Biography: My name is Jason Fahie and I would like to continue my activism, by representing you the members, as a delegate to the MSEA and NEA Representative Assemblies in 2020. Delegates need to be dedicated, focused, and informed and I believe I embody these qualities. I appreciate your support and thank you for your time.






Elizabeth Greer

Worksite: VES

Biography: I would be honored to be your voice at the conventions. To help be a part of the community to help better schools for students and fellow staff.







Melannie Herrera

Worksite: SFES



Lauri Hornicek

Worksite: MWES

Biography: I would like to represent HCEA members at our annual MSEA and NEA conventions. I will listen, learn, and voice an opinion on important issues when needed. I will ask questions and seek out answers to share with members. I will be an involved member at these conventions. Thank you for considering.






Hugo Jackson

Worksite: LKMS

Biography: Vote Hugo Jackson in for delegate to NEA and MSEA to help us to continue to strive for equity in Howard County, the state of Maryland and the nation!








Doug Lea

Worksite: DRES & SES

Biography: I’ve served as a state and national delegate for years & I’m always eager to help newer members navigate the experience. I’m the least expensive option on the ballot. Huh? I’m fully funded as a member of the NEA Credentials Committee, so HCEA/MSEA will pay nothing for me to represent you in Atlanta. Bonus Delegate!







Rachel Lewis

Worksite: BBES

Biography: I’m a Reading Specialist who believes in creating equitable learning environments that values every teacher, student and parent as part of the learning community. As an association representative, I plan to use my expertise in reading, behavior, special education and public policy to further this mission. Change will happen when we work together.






Kathleen MacLaughlin

Worksite: Homewood Center

Biography: For years, I’ve advocated for the members in my building, local and community. I want to be an advocate for my state at the NEA convention. The united force of thousands of educators means real change for our organization. I want to be an active part of that process. Thank you!








Georgianne McNeirney

Worksite: DMS

Biography: I have served as HCEA board member and school rep. I also served on MSEA committees and currently serve on the Women’s Concerns committee. I believe that with 25 years of union serving I can represent our voice for educators and our students with wisdom and perspective.


Rebecca Otte

Worksite: FES

Biography: I am the Current Chair of the Government Relations Committee, a GR member for 5 years, and Building rep for Fulton Elementary for 3 years.








Susan Peck

Worksite: CCES

Biography: As a member for eleven years with MSEA and HCEA and NEA.  I have been to most of NEA conferences and all Maryland State.  School rep for all of the schools I have worked. All the years are with special needs children. I can be helpful in sharing ideas and love going to see people


Lisa Pellegrino

Worksite: CLES

Biography: As a six-year teacher who changed careers, I have been working hard to learn and advocate on behalf of educators and students. I am a Building Representative who has attended multiple MSEA Assemblies, as well as two NEA Assemblies. Please support my intention to continue to learn and work for you!








Marcy Peterson

Worksite: WES

Biography: I have been a special education paraeducator for 16 years and became a union member in order to fight for my individual rights. I have spent the last six years fighting for our rights as a group entity and I wish to continue that for you so please vote for me.






Maxine Salah

Worksite: VES

Biography: Serving as your voice for 19 years and still going strong!  I will represent ALL educators! Thanks for your vote!








Mary Stein

Worksite: LKMS

Biography: I have happily served on the BOD for several terms and various committees.  I would like to continue to represent all of you at the MSEA assembly.






Zenoba Stephens

Worksite: DMS

Biography: I’m a 27 yr. master educator. My service along with teaching includes: MSEA/NEA delegate Rally at BOE for funding, March in Annapolis for educational funding, walk the neighborhood for educational representation, knocked on doors for education, walk the communities w/Apple ballots for education, work the polls for education, Service the community and homeless Afterschool programs


Sam Walters

Worksite: WLHS

Biography: WLHS Science Paraeducator.  I would like to serve HCEA members as a Convention delegate. Building Rep, 100% attendance Rep Council Meetings, HCEA Building Rep 101 Training, March for Our Schools Annapolis, MSEA Summer Leadership Institute 2019, MSEA Collective Bargaining Conference 2019, Staff Advisory Committee, and NEA ESP Convention.  Longstanding commitment to Racial and Social Justice.





Brittney Ware

Worksite: SFES

Biography: I am working towards creating learning environments that fosters the importance of learning, integrity, compassion and leadership. Keeping in mind if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.


Cindy Waugh

Worksite: EMMS

Biography: Over my 15 years I have served in various roles within NEA/HCEA to fight for quality, equitable, and valued public schools; HCEA Board of Directors, Article XIII Co-Chair, Government Relations Committee, Building Representative, NEA Black Caucus and MSEA Minority Caucus Member. Vote for me so I can continue the fight for both of us!


Irene Williams

Worksite: BBMS

Biography: Hello, I am Irene Williams. l would love to use my 18 years of experience as a HCEA/MSEA/NEA member to represent you at the MSEA and Representative Assembly. Please vote for Irene Williams.







Bonnie Young

Worksite: LRHS

Biography: I have been an active HCEA representative for the past 22 years and have been a representative for our members in my many years of education, have attended numerous workshops and will speak out for my fellow members. Thank you.





Candidates for NEA RA 2020


Anna Gannon

Worksite: BBMS

Biography: It is my desire to represent you in the upcoming year for the issues that are most important to our members.  I pledge to make decisions on your behalf that maintain the spirit and intent of our member’s organizational values.  Please vote Anna Gannon as HCEA BOD and Delegate!







Sarai Gray

Worksite: LWES

Biography: I am currently the HCEA Secretary, have been an MSEA delegate for six years and would be honored to represent HCEA and all educators at the NEA for a fourth year. I hope you can support me.







Michael McLellan

Worksite: PVMS

Biography: Our Children, Our Classrooms, Our Community    Since completing Association and community trainings, I have hustled, marched, and rallied, while tirelessly advocating for education, in order to empower our learners & educators. As a passionate education activist, I share my enthusiasm to serve others, through relationship building, communication and compassion. Further, together- with me!


Jessica Nichols

Worksite: RHHS

Biography: Hi!  I would love the opportunity to represent you at the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly!  I have served as a building rep since 2014.  I currently serve you on the NEA Resolutions Committee and HCEA Board of Directors. I also represented you at the Boston and Houston Assemblies. I would love to represent you again!




Jamie Parrish

Worksite: RHHS

Biography: I am a member of the Board of Directors, I have served as a delegate to the MSEA RA for the last two years and I was a Delegate to the NEA RA last year in Houston.  I would love the opportunity to represent Maryland and HCEA again this summer in Atlanta.







Randy Patterson

Worksite: SFES

Biography: I am a 5th year HCPSS Para-Educator and a 2019 Bright Minds awardee. I’m a HCEA Building Representative (4th year) and on the Elections, Membership, and Minority Affairs committees. As a passionate and enthusiastic educator with a strong commitment to service I would love your vote to represent you at NEA.






Benjamin Schmitt

Worksite: CCES

Biography: I look forward to advocating and representing everyone as a delegate, while relying on my experience as an active union member, related arts teacher, husband to a classroom teacher, and parent to two school-aged children.  Thank you so much for your vote!






Leirdre’ Clements Galloway

Worksite: PVMS

Biography: Please Stay with Galloway. Allow me to continue working with and for YOU! Red for Education is not just a chant! Allow my passion, focus, energy and positive attitude to work promoting, informing, supporting and motivating! I’ve represented at Conventions & Leadership Summit, worked in different capacities, including: Membership, BOD, MAC, Building Rep. and Negotiations.





Teri Dennison

Worksite: HCPSS-CO

Biography: As an active HCEA member since 1995 I have had many roles, attended conferences as your representative and participated on many committees, such as ESP Negotiations, ESP Professional Development Committee, Benefits Committee, and ESP Sick Bank Committee.  I would like your support in this current election. Many thanks, Teri Dennison, HCEA Treasurer







Danielle King

Worksite: MVMS

Biography: I would like to be your voice again at this year’s NEA convention.  I’m honored to represent all educators at the National level year after year!






Candidates for MSEA RA 2020

Leah Donovan

Worksite: Retired

Biography: I am a retired HCPSS educator. I was a building rep for 18 of my 20 years in the same building. I continue to be a member of HCEA and to be dedicated to education and the needs of my former colleagues. I would like to serve them as a delegate to the MSEA convention.







Karen Randall

Worksite: Retired

Biography: As a retired member, I would like to represent HCEA at the Fall Representative Assembly.  I’m able to give a retired perspective to the HCEA delegation.   MSEA Chair of Women’s Concerns Committee, MSEA member of Retired Advisory Council, past HCEA Board of Director, past chair of HCEA Membership/and member of Minority Affairs committee.






Lizabeth Smull

Worksite: OMMS

Biography: Dear fellow HCEA members, I have been working at OMMS now for three years as an ESP. Last year was my first year attending the MSEA Conference as a Delegate.  I would like to attend the Ocean City Conference and talk about the issues that we still have in our schools.







Erika Strauss Chavarria

Worksite: WLHS

Biography: I am a 10th year Spanish teacher at Wilde Lake High School. I have been active in NEA, MSEA, and HCEA for a decade and I currently serve on the NEA & MSEA Board of Directors. I would be honored to serve as Delegate to the MSEA Convention.