Members of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 Educators’ Council (DEC) – the union representing about 750 District 65 teachers working in local public schools – last week elected Trisha Baker, a special education teacher at Nichols Middle School, as their next president.

Baker defeated incumbent DEC President Maria Barroso by 65 votes, receiving 268 votes to Barroso’s 203.

Teacher protest
Teachers protest outside a District 65 school board meeting in September 2021. Credit: Bessie Mbadugha

With 472 total ballots cast – one teacher wrote in a different candidate – the turnout represented about 63% of all union members. The DEC Elections Committee, along with a group of volunteer current and retired educators, counted the votes on Monday night, March 20, according to the results announcement shared with all teachers last week and obtained by the RoundTable.

All union officers hold their positions for two-year terms before the next election. Barroso served as president for one term, with Meg Krulee preceding her.

Below is a full list of all the teachers elected to executive roles n the union:

  • President: Trisha Baker
  • Vice President: Emily Castillo-Oh
  • Secretary: Heather Shaffer
  • Treasurer: Avelino Cortez
  • Public relations chair: Derrick Carlson
  • Membership chair: Kim Garcia
  • Member at large: Rahi Patel
  • National Education Association delegates: Maria Barroso (automatic delegate), Emily Castillo-Oh, Kim Garcia, Erika Garcia, Kyle Walk-Faust
  • Region 41 representatives: Kelly Post, Julie Irons, April Harper
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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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  1. If you look up the LinkedIn profile of the new DEC President, she lists her primary title as “Founder/President at FOCUSED Ministries, Inc.” and her D65 job as secondary. Yet another District employees who considers education secondary to some side hustle. She’ll get along well with the current administration..

    Is it too much to ask for our teachers and administrators to have one job and cut out the side hustles?

    1. Based on her LinkedIn profile you’ve decided she will make a good friend to the admins. Maybe you should get a little more information to support that claim. She’s been a dedicated special education teacher for decades for the district and can have a side hustle if she so pleases as a grown adult. I worked for her and can recall zero times in which it prevented her duties. Curious, don’t you write as a side hustle? I hate to upset you but I also have one and manage to fulfill my teaching duties.

      Not sure why you are lumping teachers into the shame of having a side hustle. Please check the salary scale at D65 and compare it with the cost of living.

    2. Tom, this comment really misses the mark. Please don’t shame a teacher for having a second job.

      Welcome to 2023, most teachers have “side hustles.” And any teacher who teaches here in Evanston and also wants to live in this community will probably need a “side hustle.”

  2. Does the DEC membership, i.e. the teachers, vote their Union’s decisions as well as leadership positions? For example, do they vote on endorsements for School Board candidates?
    Mary Anne Wexler