Your Vote, Your Retirement

Two MTA-endorsed candidates — longtime educators Karen Mitchell and Dennis Naughton — are running for seats on the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement Board.

And anyone who has not yet returned a ballot supporting them is reminded that time is growing short, since the deadline to send in votes is Dec. 5. Ballots have already been distributed to all active and retired members of the MTRS.

The board is made up of seven members, two of whom are elected by the members of the MTRS for four-year terms. Mitchell, a teacher in Plymouth, and Naughton, an MTA Retired member, are among five candidates running for two seats this year.

 The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement Board:

  • Establishes the policies, rules and regulations of the agency.
  • Oversees the dissemination of services and information to its membership of more than 88,000 active educators and 55,000 retirees and survivors.
  • Investigates and votes on all claims for accidental and ordinary disabilities.

Your Vote, Your Retrement

The Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System is the largest of the Commonwealth’s 105 contributory retirement systems. The MTRS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 88,000 active educators and 55,000 retirees and survivors.

Mitchell has been a teacher in the Plymouth Public Schools since 1986. She currently teaches seventh grade at the Plymouth South Middle School. She has been highly active in her union; she has held every office locally, including president, and has served on the MTA Board of Directors.

“It is my belief that we have a responsibility to each other and to our students to actively stand up for public education. This is what motivated me to pursue a position on the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System board five years ago,” Mitchell said. “It has been a wonderful experience, and I truly hope to continue working for the preservation of our retirement system and the improvement of our cost-of-living allowance in Massachusetts.”

Mitchell believes that having the voice of an active teacher on the MTRB is important, noting that she has brought a greater understanding of the current conditions of public education to the conversation.

Naughton retired from the Millis Public Schools in 2004 after 36 years of service. During that time, he served in a number of offices in the Millis Teachers Association and was local president for 19 years. Naughton also served on both the MTA Board and Executive Committee.

“I am only too aware of the unfair attacks on teacher benefits that have been taking place across the country — including right here in Massachusetts,” Naughton said. “I am committed to defending our existing defined-benefit retirement system and to increasing the dollar amount of our retirement benefit upon which our COLA is calculated. I am also committed to making the MTRS just as responsive to your questions and concerns as it can be.

“You’re the reason I’m a candidate,” Naughton added in a direct appeal to MTA members.

MTA President Paul Toner said it is crucial for the thousands of MTA members eligible to participate in the election to support both Mitchell and Naughton — and to get their ballots in on time.

“Karen has made a huge difference for our members, and Dennis will do the same,” Toner said. “The MTRB makes decisions that have a big impact on the lives of people who have dedicated their lives to public education, and it is vital for us to have the most effective representation possible in its deliberations.”

MTRB Election Flyer