Mike Gandolfo is a first generation Italian-American whose parents came to the United States in search of a better life. The promise of the American Dream was made possible for his parents because of their membership in labor unions. Mike grew up with an appreciation for union ideals of justice, equality and solidarity. After graduating from High School on Long Island, New York, Mike attended the University of South Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He spent the next eighteen years as an owner/operator of his own restaurant. Mike began working for the Pinellas County School District during the 2003/04 school year as a Social Studies Teacher at Fitzgerald Middle School. Since beginning his teaching career he has earned his Master of Arts in History and Reading Endorsement. He has served PCTA on numerous committees, was elected to the Executive board, and is a delegate to the West Central Florida Central Labor Council. Mike's goal for PCTA is to increase membership, unity, and to have all members feel they are a vital part of a powerful and effective organization. To this end, he makes himself accessible to all members.
Susan Spaulding began working for Pinellas County Schools in 1985. While teaching at Eisenhower Elementary she received her Gifted Education endorsement and began working as a pull-out teacher. Not one to turn down the chance to be challenged, when the position of Director of Education with the Florida Council on Economic Education, a statewide non-profit, was offered, she took it. That began six years of working with teachers, business leaders, and politicians all over the state and country. During this time, she also received her Master’s in Curriculum and Development. Returning to the classroom as a full-time Gifted teacher at Ridgecrest Elementary, Susan became quickly and deeply involved with PCTA when she saw the negative changes happening in her profession. Executive Board member, FR Chairperson, and GR lobbyist are just a few of the positions she has held in service to PCTA. Susan’s vision for PCTA is a solid union of educators who support each other through thick and thin and are willing to stand up to fight for that which they believe.
Nelly Henjes is a native of Puerto Rico where she received her elementary through high school education. Prior to moving to Florida in 1993, she attended the American College. Nelly is married to Andy Henjes and has two sons, Andres and Alexander. Both of her sons graduated from Largo High school. She also has three pets, two dogs (Mumble and Bella) and a cat (Nemo). In her spare time, she enjoys camping, going to the beach and spending time with her family. Nelly began working for Pinellas County Schools in 1996 as a food service attendant. She has worked in various capacities including ESE Assistant, Pre-K Assistant and most recently as a Child Development Associate (CDA) at Ponce de Leon Elementary, Belcher Elementary, Pinellas Central Elementary, and High Point Elementary. Nelly was employed at Skyview Elementary before assuming the role as PESPA President. Nellys' passion for equality in the workplace led to her becoming an active member of PESPA. Prior to being elected as President, she served as PESPA Secretary, on the FEA Governance Board and FEA Minority Affair Committee and AFL-CIO Governance Board. Nelly's goal is to visit all worksite and have active Association Representatives in every building to keep the members informed and involved. Growing and empowering the membership during her tenure as President is a priority.
Beth graduated from the University of Central Florida and began her career in education as a paraprofessional in a Pre-K VE classroom in her hometown of Chiefland, Florida. She has worked as a UniServ Director for the Suwannee River Service Unit and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association. Beth is a passionate advocate for public education, education professionals and civil rights.
Thank you for the opportunity to become a Membership Services Director with our organization. I have great respect for the high level of professionalism and dedication demonstrated by our members of PCTA and PESPA. I believe I bring to this position a unique set of skills that will help us position our organizations for the future. For the past nine years, I have been in the classroom in Pinellas County as a high school ESE teacher in an Exceptional Student Education Center. I have had the opportunity help some of the most challenged students and situations in our district. It has been both challenging and rewarding. I believe this experience will help me connect with our members and future members since I have walked in your shoes. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a Vice President of Human Resources. A human resources background is important to our organizations. Almost everything we negotiate in our contract is a human resources discipline. I am experienced in compensation and benefits, professional development, employment laws and performance appraisals. I served in the United States Air Force for 21 years. I learned things there that are important to teachers. I learned discipline. Then I learned self-discipline. I developed leadership skills. Most importantly, I learned the importance of team work. These same skills transfer to our organization. One of our priorities for our future needs to be building programs to enhance the quality of work life for our teachers and support professionals. These programs start with one word – RESPECT! Respect for each other, respect for all of our professionals, our ideas and our time. Together, we can do it.
She began her teaching career in 1995, teaching Spanish at JFK Middle School. In 2003, She earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision with plans to enter into Administration. However, although She was actively pursuing the administrative path, her heart remained with her students and with teaching, hence, it was not meant to be. She became a PCTA member in 2000, and shortly thereafter became a Faculty Rep. As the years passed, She became more and more active within PCTA/PESPA. She began serving on various committees and boards while continuing to be a Rep. She then realized that her true passion was working with PCTA/PESPA to support her colleagues, students, and families. Having been an educator for 21 years, She certainly understood and can relate to all of the challenges that one faces each and every day. Your job is not an easy one, but it is a truly special one; it is a calling. And, in her opinion, it is the most important job in the world, second only to being a parent.
Thomas Lentz believes that education and fairness are the cornerstones of the democratic system. He is a Nationally Board Certified teacher with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. He is a graduate of Stetson University and the American College of Education. In 2003, he married his college sweetheart, Amanda McCallister, and they both began teaching English in Polk County, Florida. They have shared their passion for education, home improvement, and travel together and with their two foster children. With his wife and former students, he co-founded a non-profit student leadership organization called Sigma Alpha Sigma in 2010 at Ridge Community High School. Sigma won FEA's Human and Civil Rights Award in 2015 and has since expanded to several other high schools throughout central Florida. He has been a building representative for his local union and fought to ensure fair treatment for teachers and support staff. He went on to serve on numerous committees including bargaining, FYRE, teacher evaluations, and management (executive board). As a teacher mentor and AFT ER&D trainer, he believes that it is never too late or too early to learn new skills and benefit from your union membership. His hope is to share his passion for education and the pursuit of equality with the educators of Pinellas and looks forward to helping PCTA and PESPA grow both in numbers as well as activism.
Robin is a native of New Jersey. She graduated from the public school system in Sayreville, New Jersey and attended College Misericordia in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Robin worked in real estate, office management and financial services for twenty five years in New Jersey and Florida. She joined PCTA-PESPA in March 2007. Her first assignment in the Association was as bookkeeper. For eight years she served as the Executive Assistant/Financial Specialist, providing support services to the PCTA - PESPA presidents as well as the bookkeeping functions. In her new role as Support Operations Manager she hopes to continue to work with the staff to improve service to our members.
Kathleen was born in Bronx, New York and moved down to Florida at a young age. She graduated from Dixie Hollins High School in 2006 with a focus in Web Design, and Vocal Performance. She later on continued her studies at Saint Petersburg College, majoring in both Wed Design, and Vocal Performance. Performing in shows such as Beauty and the Beast, as Chip, and Cinderella, as The Fairy God Mother. She looks forward to continueing work in both fields, music and technology. In personal studies Kathleen is an autodidact with focus in art, photography, web design, technology, and languages. She currently speaks English, Spanish, and Italian. Kathleen has many hobbies including singing opera, baking cakes, and treats, as well as crafting things with clay or paper. Traveling the world is something she hopes to soon accomplish.
Lexi was born in Hammond, Indiana. She has lived in Florida for 17 years. She was Salutatorian of her graduating class from First Lutheran School. She was selected for the Career Academy of International Culture and Commerce magnet program at Clearwater High School and graduated with distinction in 2012. She was a member of the Ecology Club and enjoys playing volleyball.