Ramona Teachers Association elects new president

Ramona High School math teacher Cori McDonald, left, and Barnett Elementary third- and fourth-grade teacher Nicole Brown review paperwork after the June school board meeting. McDonald's term as Ramona Teachers Association president begins July 1. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson
Ramona High School math teacher Cori McDonald, left, and Barnett Elementary third- and fourth-grade teacher Nicole Brown review paperwork after the June school board meeting. McDonald's term as Ramona Teachers Association president begins July 1. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

By Pixie Sulser

Ramona High School math teacher and varsity softball coach Cori McDonald is the new president of the Ramona Teachers Association.

She was elected by a 13-vote margin over incumbent Donna Braye-Romero. A total of 239 votes were cast: 126 for McDonald and 113 for Braye-Romero, who has been RTA president for the past five years.

It was the second RTA vote this month, with election irregularities at the first prompting a revote. In the first election, more votes than signatures came from one school and at another school a person signed and voted for a spouse who was not on campus.

McDonald will join re-elected treasurer Jeanine Hawkins, vice president Michael Jordan II and secretary Jennifer McSparran on the RTA Executive Board.

McDonald said her leadership goals will focus on building positive relationships with Ramona Unified School District administration, teachers across the district and parents in the community.

“It’s important to make sure decisions are right for teachers, but also right for students,” she said. “We all became teachers because we wanted to do what was right for kids. I think it’s important we focus on the education of students while providing the best support possible for our teachers. I hope to work with the district and the community exploring ways to improve and repair facilities, upgrade technology, and facilitate teacher input for the implementation of the common core standards.”

Education in Ramona is nothing new to McDonald. Two of her grandparents, Jean and Glae McDonald, were longtime Ramona educators. She graduated from RHS where she was a four-year member of the varsity softball team before playing at the collegiate level for Hope International University in Fullerton.

Her professional life is also Ramona-based, with nine years teaching experience at Olive Peirce Middle School and RHS. She has been an active RTA member as a site representative the past seven years, first at OPMS and then at RHS.

Braye-Romero, a kindergarten teacher at Ramona Community School, said that she is most proud of “taking the RTA from a service model where the members only came to the association when there was a problem to a model where more members have a consistent voice and an interest in ongoing situations.”

In addition to leadership involvement at the local level, Braye-Romero is involved at the state level as a member of the California Teachers Association State Council and, more recently, as a state representative on the National Educational Association Representative Assembly.

Her advice to any new president is to realize that “any decision may not please everyone, but you need to make the right decision for the entire membership whether anyone is watching or not.”

   
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