The origins of MTA

Written by Rick Pineda, Tuolumne Prep Provider

1968 was, arguably, one of those years that forever changed the course of human history. In our own country, it was a year marked by political assassinations and protests against the war in Vietnam. It was a year that saw teacher strikes in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington DC, Albuquerque, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Abroad, the Cold War continued to rage, and in a sleepy little town in the middle of California, our glorious union was taking shape.

The incorporation of our union began on the spookiest day of that fateful year, Halloween, when James Sherman (Downey) assumed the very first presidency of the Modesto Teachers Association. This first cabinet also included VP Margaret Miller (Garrison), Secretary Doris Causey (Rose Avenue), and Treasurer Avena Jones (Enslen). Waiting in the wings should catastrophe strik e—it was 1968—was Cecil Curfman, serving as President-Elect.

This first momentous year was followed by a period of short presidencies which may, on paper, remind one of the succession of Emperors during the times of the Roman Republic (minus the treachery and intrigue). The great Edward Gonsalves was our first President to be elected to a two- year term. 1975 was rocked by the resignation of President Stanfield, with Charlotte Peck filling in until Clayton Gottschalk finished out the rest of that term.

It wasn’t until 1973 (the year of the OPEC oil embargo) that the Executive Directorship became a full- time position.

Presidents 1968-Present
  • 1968-1969 James Sherman (Downey High)
  • 1969-1970 Cecil Curfman (La Loma Jr High)
  • 1970-1971 Margaret Miller (Garrison Elementary)
  • 1971-1972 Harold Crumpley (Beyer High)
  • 1972-1974 Edward Gonsalves (Modesto High)
  • 1974-1975 Elizabeth Stanfield (La Loma Jr High)
  • 1975- Charlotte Peck (Davis High)
  • 1975-1976 Clayton Gottschalk (K-6 Music)
  • 1976-1978 Harry Bradley (Downey High)
  • 1978-1980 Charlotte Peck (Davis High)
  • 1980-1984 Jon Walther (Downey High)
  • 1984-1992 Frank Vandervort (Davis High)
  • 1992-1998 Barney Hale (Davis High)
  • 1998-2008 Megan Gowans (Modesto High)
  • 2008-2010 Charlie Young (Modesto High)
  • 2010-2012 Dana Filippi (Tuolumne Elementary)
  • 2012-2022 Doug Burton (Kirschen Elementary)
  • 2022- Chris Peterson (Modesto High)
Executive Directors 1973-Present
  • 1973-1975 Joan Stout
  • 1975-1979 Andy Alkema
  • 1979-1992 Ken Burt
  • 1992-2006 Frank Vandervort (overlapping term with Barney Hale)
  • 1999-2011 Barney Hale (overlapping term with Megan Gowans)
  • 2008-2014 Megan Gowans
  • 2014-2015 Dana Filippi
  • 2015- Yaser Herrera

A Look to the Future

Written by Chris Peterson, MTA President

Today the Association continues its work on behalf of our membership. At our annual Planning Conference in July 2023, MTA Leadership endorsed a vision to move our union forward into the 21st century. Our Strategic Plan includes REM: Recruit, Empower, and Modernize, which outlines: