Photo of CTU member and mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson at home with his wife and three children.Brandon Johnson: father, organizer, educator, leader taking on city hall

CTU organizer and mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson credits his large family with teaching him how to negotiate, collaborate and refuse to accept “no” for an answer — traits he’s used well in his career as an educator, organizer, and county commissioner because, “When you’re fighting for what our students and communities need, you never take ‘no’ for an answer.”

His mother also taught him that words speak louder than actions. That’s why he became a teacher, an organizer, and a county commissioner. “I’ve been speaking for and on behalf of working families for a long time and those are the voices I will take with me to city hall.” Read more about Brandon.

Head shot of CTU member and aldermanic candidate Lori Torres.Sense of family and community guide Lori Torres’ teaching philosophy — and campaign for alderwoman

Lori Torres credits her parents for instilling love and respect for education and the importance of community connectedness that grounds her teaching philosophy and her campaign for alderwoman.

“I learned from their experiences that not being an English language speaker was frowned upon and that is one of the reasons they made education a priority in our home growing up and why I started out as a bilingual teacher,” she said. Read more about Lori.

CTU Lead Organizer Tennille Evans in white t-shirt with red hat holding a microphone.What drives CTU lead organizer Tennille Evans? Family, church – and empowering members

Members have seen CTU Lead Organizer Tennille Evans whipping up the crowd and belting out chants and songs in her beautiful, powerful voice at union rallies, events and parties.  But most folks will be surprised to learn that Evans has always thought of herself as somewhat reserved and shy.

Evans uses her booming voice to empower members and always relies on her family and faith to guide her. “Singing and serving God has been my passion,” she said. “My family and church are everything to me.” Read more about Tennille.

George Washington High School teacher Lauren Bianchi outside CPS headquarter with her fist raised.Teaching powers systemic change for high school educator Lauren Bianchi

Lauren Bianchi was in a pre-nursing track at University of Illinois-Chicago in 2012 when the CTU went on strike, an action that influenced her to decision to become an educator. She saw teachers fighting for systemic changes and wanted to be a part of that movement.

“As a teacher, I want my students to know that they have the power to change society by working together at the community level,” she said. “We often feel powerless as individuals but when teachers, parents, and youth are united, we have the ability to make transformative changes.” Read more about Lauren.

Photo of Zeidre Foster, director of the CTU grievance department.From classroom to field rep, empowerment, advocacy drives Zeidre Foster

Zeidre Foster always wanted to be a teacher. So, she was a little apprehensive about leaving her classroom at Harlan Community Academy in 2012 to become a field rep. But she believes empowering our members is an important form of advocacy for our students.

“I was a little concerned about how my advocacy for students would fit with being a field rep,” she admitted, “But I soon realized that empowering and supporting teachers to be better in the classroom is good for students because the teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.” Read more about Zeidre.