First Leaders of New Faculty Union Announced


Eliza Lampert

The voting booths inside the Learning Commons, where the anonymous voting took place.

Members of the Latin School Union (LSU) gathered outside of the Upper School Learning Commons this past Thursday to elect a leadership team, bringing them one step closer to the bargaining table.

While the number of faculty and staff who have signed membership cards has not been released by the union, 47 percent of members voted on Thursday. The turnout was almost certainly affected by the fact that the elections for some of the top positions were uncontested.

The 2021-22 school year leadership team is listed below, with the exception of the position of Upper School representative, which will have a run-off election in the coming weeks because no candidate won a majority of votes on Thursday.

Elissabeth Legendre, Upper School Latin teacher, will head the LSU as its president.

Brandon Woods, Upper School English teacher and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Curriculum Coordinator, will serve as vice president.

Chris van Benthuysen, Upper School math teacher and co-chair of the Math Department, will serve as treasurer.

Avani Tandon, a fourth-grade teacher, will serve as secretary.

Carrie Smey, a senior kindergarten teacher, will serve as the Lower School representative.

Wayne Wheatley, a Middle School science teacher, will serve as the Middle School representative.

The run-off election for the Upper School representative position will be between Upper School English teacher and DEI Coordinator Kate Lorber-Crittenden and Upper School math teacher and Math Department co-chair Nichol Hooker.

Gretchen Metzler, Upper School librarian, will serve as the non-teaching contract representative.

Vocal Music Director Gabriel Di Gennaro, Upper School history teacher Matthew June, Upper School English teacher Lori Kloehn, and Lower School assistant teacher Anthony Mucia led the Elections Committee.

“Our elections committee ran an incredible election,” Ms. Legendre said. “Very professionally done.” She said the election reminded her of her role as an election judge in the most recent U.S. Presidential election.

The election process was outlined in the union’s bylaws, which were developed over the summer and ratified in the fall.

The Elections Committee notified the membership of the upcoming election and the positions available and took nominations for candidates from the members. Once members nominated candidates, those nominees could accept or decline the nomination. LSU members were then notified of the candidates and had an additional opportunity to nominate candidates at a general membership meeting.

Latin School Union members gather outside of the Learning Commons to vote for the 2021-2022 executive board. (Eliza Lampert)

The Elections Committee chose the time and place for the election. Latin’s administration agreed to allow the union to hold the election at the school. The vote was conducted by secret ballot.

Members are permitted to object to any of the elected officials up until this coming Tuesday, five days after the election. The Elections Committee reads through and either accepts or rejects such objections if any are submitted.

Now that the election has taken place, the bargaining committee and the administration will begin to work together to reach agreements that benefit the students, teachers, and the school as a whole. Currently, the bargaining committee is gathering information on what members believe to be the most crucial issues.

“I am excited about working with the members to identify the priorities that we all want to work together to bargain for, and I’m looking forward to working with the administration to negotiate our very first collective bargaining agreement,” Ms. Legendre said.

The election was quite successful, according to Ms. Legendre, with almost half of the members participating. Ms. Legendre said, “I loved being able to vote for something so incredibly local and personal—democracy at its best.”