“This is where the strength and protection comes from,” says Tai Hayden. The former Moler ES teacher has served in one leadership position after another since 2000, including the State Teachers Retirement System board (since 2006).
She almost couldn’t refuse the opportunity. She had “jumped in head-first” in 1998 – her third year teaching in CCS – when tension began to brew at the school she was working. “ I attended all of my district meetings and talked to my governor (Christy Maser) a lot,” she said.
Two years later, John Grossman, then CEA president, walked into her classroom. “He handed me a declaration form to be an At-Large Governor.” She gladly accepted it.
“I won!” she said. From there, she served on the Central OEA/NEA Executive Board and was elected a governor once more. “A significant moment that will always stick with me will be being a part of the board when we separated from Central OEA/NEA and created the Capital District,” Hayden said.
She served as its vice president, and later, president.
Tai was born and raised in Columbus and graduated from Columbus Alternative High School. She has seen many changes in the school district and knows it takes a team to address them.
Tai served many years as District 7 Governor until becoming a CEA Staff Consultant in August of 2018.
Cindy Love’s career path started when she was in high school. Her Spanish teacher at Boardman High School encouraged her to cultivate her love of the language and to share it with others. She became a Spanish teacher and taught for nearly a decade at Northland HS.
Love, a longtime classroom veteran, taught adults at the former North Education Center. She also encouraged her younger students at Champion MS and at Northland to pursue their interests beyond high school. Her teacher also recognized that Love was a natural mentor to others. So did former CEA President Rhonda Johnson, who then encouraged Cindy to represent teachers on the CEA Board of Governors.
“I have always been interested in the union,” Love said. “It’s all about giving teachers a voice.” She became a faculty representative, and she joined the PAR program as a consultant drawing upon her master’s degree in adult education and interest in strengthening the profession.
“PAR is a special program,” Love said. “It’s an opportunity to grow in the profession that most teachers don’t get. The most important thing is making sure that every person in front of the students is a quality teacher.”
Love served two terms as High School Governor-at-Large before becoming a CEA Staff Consultant in August of 2018.
Teri Mullins won’t soon forget the battle to save union rights and bring Senate Bill 5 down.
“I don’t think I have ever witnessed a time when people came together and were so vocal about the rights of teachers and students and other labor unions,” she said. “Being inside the Statehouse the day most people got locked out, then going outside to be with my building colleagues—the entire experience, although a hard battle, evoked a sense of pride in my profession and my union that still gives me goose bumps.”
Mullins taught special education for 13 years, all at Wedgewood MS. She advised the STEM Club the past two years. She attended Columbus City Schools as well, including Duxberry Park ES, Franklin MS and East HS. When asked what drew her to union service, she prefers to stay positive about the disagreements that often trigger CEA representation. “Let’s just say that I wanted to make sure that everyone had help having their voices heard.”
Teri found ways to get involved. She was an OEA delegate and an alternate building FR. She ran for District 6 Governor in 2008 and won. She then served on the bargaining team and the Reform Panel. We are pleased to have Teri on board as a CEA Staff Consultant. Her vast experience will serve the membership well.
Brittany Herb had a very unconventional approach to leadership in CEA. In 2016, she was in her eighth year teaching and decided to complete the Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) program offered through NEA. While participating in this course, she realized a harsh reality: new teachers were leaving the profession at record numbers. With the support of CEA, she was able to create a committee to help retain new educators in our district called Columbus Early Career Educators (CECE). They can be found around Columbus the last Friday of every month to offer an opportunity for educators to collaborate with other educators in years 0-10 of experience, open to all CEA members.
Throughout Brittany’s career, CEA has consistently acted in her best interest. They have supported her with disgruntled administrators on multiple occasions, as well as, in creating CECE. Brittany has marched at the State House, supported those speaking against SB 5, and spoke to city council about the importance of social emotional learning in CCS, especially after the Pandemic.
Brittany is passionate about being an educator in Columbus and is eager to create change in our broken system. She serves as our Elections Chair and has taught at Johnson Park, Sherwood, Woodward Park, Ecole Kenwood, Monroe, Buckeye, CCPSG, and Starling (she was staff reduced 4 times) but most recently she will be one of our negotiated SEL positions at Highland and Sullivant. She welcomes your questions about NEA, OEA, and CEA elections.