MTA elects Cambridge teacher president

Paul F. Toner, a Cambridge middle school teacher, speaks Saturday in Boston upon being elected president of the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Paul F. Toner, a Cambridge middle school teacher,  is the new president of the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association. Timothy D. Sullivan was elected vice president. They were elected Saturday at the the association’s annual meeting of delegates in Boston, which was attended by more than 1,100 educators and staff from public schools and colleges across the state.

Toner is the association’s vice president. He replaces Anne Wass, a Hanover teacher whose second term as president expires July 15. The association’s president and vice president may serve a maximum of two two-year terms.

Sullivan, a Brockton middle school teacher, is president of the Brockton Education Association. Toner defeated Paul J. Phillips, a high school teacher from Quincy; Sullivan ran unopposed.

In a statement, Toner pledged that “MTA will lead the fight for positive change in order to improve our schools and support our students.

“Where there are issues to be addressed, such as significant achievement gaps between our student populations, we will not shy away from these challenges,” he continued. “Teachers and their unions are not the problem; we have the solutions.”

Sullivan promised to “meet head-on those who seek to diminish our collective voices. After all, it is the practitioner — whether classroom teacher, college professor or education support professional — who has the front-line experience to speak for education.”

Toner taught social studies and reading to seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Harrington Elementary School in Cambridge from 1993 to 2001, when he was elected president of the 1,100-member Cambridge Teachers Association. In 2006, he was elected vice president of MTA.

A graduate of Boston University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Toner also holds a law degree from Suffolk University. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Susan Connelly, and their school-age children, Grace and Jack.

Sullivan taught Title 1 reading and was an instructional technology specialist at South Middle School in Brockton before being elected president of the Brockton Education Association in 2006. He studied at Barrington College in Rhode Island, East Nazarene College and Bridgewater State College and holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He and his wife, Joyce, live in Weymouth with their son, Timothy Jr.

Toner and Sullivan will take office July 15.

Robert Travers is a member of the Cambridge Teachers Association and an National Education Association executive committee member for the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

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