MTA Elects Toner President, Sullivan Vice President

Paul F. Toner is the new president of the 107,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association. Timothy D. Sullivan was elected vice president. They were elected May 8 at the MTA 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, a Cambridge middle school teacher, is currently MTA vice president. He replaces Anne Wass, a Hanover teacher whose second term as president expires on July 15. The MTA president and vice president may serve a maximum of two two-year terms.

Sullivan, a Brockton middle school teacher, is currently 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 in 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, Bridgewater State College, and holds a doctorate in education from UMass Lowell. He and his wife, Joyce, live in Weymouth with their son, Timothy Jr.

Toner and Sullivan will take office July 15.

Other Saturday Business

  • Approved a bylaw to add an at-large ESP seat to the MTA Executive Committee.
  • Defeated a bylaw to permit charter school employees to join the association.
  • Approved the proposed budget as presented.
  • Viewed a video message from NEA Pres. Dennis Van Roekel.
  • Paid tribute to out-going Pres. Anne Wass and presented her with the first MTA Friend of Labor Award.