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.
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 worksites 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.
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.
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 Suwanee 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.
Rosemary was born and raised in Queens, New York, and is a UNION girl through and through! Her father and grandfather both belonged to the Teamsters Union in New York, her uncle belonged to the NYPD Union, her other grandfather, Rosario, belonged to the Upholsterer’s Union (UIUNA) and her grandmother, Rose, who carried her Union Contract in her purse every day, belonged to the Garment Worker’s Union in New York City. Her mother was also a PESPA member for several years working as an ESE Associate. Rosemary learned early on, from her Union family, that Collective Bargaining rights are PRICELESS, and Union membership is the only way that workers can have a voice in their salaries, benefits, and working conditions. “Stay in your Union, stick together, and stand up for your rights!” was her family creed!
Rosemary began her teaching career at JFK Middle School, Clearwater, in 1995. In 2003, she earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from the University of South Florida with plans to enter into Administration and eventually become a Principal. However, although she was actively pursuing the administrative path, her heart remained with her students and with teaching, and with PCTA, her union.
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 such as Government Relations and PAC. She then joined the PCTA Executive Board in 2014 while continuing to be a PCTA Faculty Rep, and realized that her true passion was working with PCTA/PESPA to support and empower educators, students, and families.
Having been an educator in Pinellas for 21 years, Rosemary certainly understands and can relate to all of the challenges that educators face each and every day, and she believes that Union membership is an investment in oneself and one’s profession. PCTA/PESPA is the organization that supports educators throughout their career, for the job of an educator 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.
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.
Sheryl moved to Florida in the fifth grade and is a graduate of Jefferson High School in Hillsborough County. After spending a couple years at the University of Florida, she returned home and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa as an elementary school teacher. She later completed her Masters’ Degree in Elementary Education at USF, St. Petersburg with a focus in math and science education and certification in Educational Leadership. Sheryl retired after a successful thirty-year career at Westgate Elementary School here in Pinellas County. At Westgate, she was the building representative and active member of PCTA.
Sheryl lives in Largo with her husband of 30 years, Jonathan. She has two grown children. The oldest, Alyssa (26) is a graduate of Clearwater High School and Florida State University and lives in St. Petersburg. Spencer (21) is a graduate of Tarpon Springs High, Jacobson Culinary Academy and is currently a graduating senior at Florida State University studying Environmental Science.
Sheryl’s goal is to help grow PCTA/PESPA’s membership and to provide the best service possible to the educators in Pinellas County. She maintains her membership on the Government Relations committee and is now a member of P.E.E.R. as well as working in the office keeping membership records up to date.