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ISTA statewide officer candidate statements

At the 2019 ISTA Representative Assembly (RA) April 27, there will be three statewide positions up for election – president, vice president and National Education Association (NEA) board of director. The following candidates submitted their nomination form according to election requirements.

Ask your local president for information on how to attend the ISTA RA as a delegate or visit

Candidates for President 

Paul Farmer


We are at a turning point in our profession and association where the alarming rate of educational change requires a leader with the tools, fortitude, personality and collaborative skills to meet challenges head on. Public school advocacy and lobbying state legislators for financial support of public schools have always been a focused objective, but the teaching profession and how we broker legislative support must change. It is time we meet this challenge head on. We must change our approach to how we battle against vouchers and charters, so that we work collaboratively to avert factions that seek the destruction of public schools and our association. We must embrace our pluralistic differences in order to move forward and succeed in the battle to support public schools for ALL students. I promise that if elected ISTA President, I will work tirelessly to provide leadership for our members, so they can accomplish their goals of educating our youth of today and tomorrow. Combating accelerated change and the prolonged attack of our public schools and association, requires organized, collaborative efforts from all and I am the person to lead those efforts.

Keith Gambill 


Public education is the great equalizer. Unfortunately, there are leaders in our state and nation that seek to destroy this valued institution. For over 160 years the ISTA has been a stalwart in protecting public education, fighting for members’ rights, and championing our students. We have come too far to turn back now.

As Vice President of ISTA these past six years, I have had the privilege to witness, firsthand, the hard work and struggle of our members. I have seen members give their time, money, love, compassion, sweat, food, clothing, and other necessities for their students. I know the sacrifices educators, and their families, make to ensure all students receive a quality education.

It is my belief in public education and the great work of the Association that drives my decision to seek the office of President. For more than 30 years, I have sought to be the best teacher for my students inside the classroom and the best advocate for them outside the classroom. I have faith that collectively we can make a brighter future. As your next president, I pledge to work in solidarity to advance public education in Indiana and I thank you for your support.

Candidates for Vice President 

Jennifer Smith-Margraf 



While traveling the state exchanging thoughts and ideas talking with teachers, education support professionals, and retired members I hear a common theme. We all want our profession to be respected and valued.

As a female educator I recognize that society’s view of the role of educators as caregivers plays to that lack of respect and how this perception negatively impacts every educator – male and female.

I believe that ISTA needs to be proactive and take the initiative in generating support for our policy positions in our communities and at the state legislature by consistently advocating for a model school funding formula, full bargaining rights for our ESP members, and a yearly COLA for our retirees.

We will achieve success by organizing our members around these issues. As we have seen with the Red for Ed movement across the nation, we do have the power to make positive change on behalf of public education.

As your next ISTA Vice-President I pledge I will work on every member’s behalf to bring back the respect that our profession deserves. I ask for your vote for ISTA Vice-President.

Steve Wilson 


I am Steve Wilson, candidate for Vice-President of the Indiana State Teachers Association. During 30 years as a Spanish teacher, I was Vice-President and President of the Northwestern Classroom Education Association in Kokomo, and elected to the ISTA Board of Directors. I now serve on the negotiating team and am Vice-Chair of District 7. I was grateful to receive training for emerging minority leaders through the National Education Association. I regularly attend state and national representative assemblies.   

Adversity in education created the need for a strong union in Indiana to protect and advocate for our public schools amid the current negative climate. I advocate that diversity in leadership positions will make ISTA more capable to serve its active and retired teachers, education support professionals, and student members. We must also reach out to other unions and community organizations throughout the state to forge a powerful coalition to improve the pay and working conditions of our members.

If elected Vice-President of ISTA, I will work tirelessly to foster effective communication among ISTA affiliates, all membership categories, and local communities. My desire is to be an agent of change where needed to move us forward in a positive and progressive manner.

Candidate for NEA Board of Directors 

Julie Hyndman 


Our public schools must be a priority to ensure that all children receive an equitable education and appropriate services. I am Julie Hyndman, and I am seeking to serve ISTA as a member of the NEA Board of Directors. As a local president of the Fort Wayne Education Association, active participant in both the State and National Representative Assemblies, and elected IPACE member, I am continuously engaged in the state of public education. Over the past twenty-plus years, I have taken an active role in seeking communication with our legislators and establishing opportunities for our members to share their personal stories with elected officials. I regularly promote ISTA/NEA legislative programs and lobbying activities.

I served in a number of capacities on the ISTA Board of Directors from 2010-2016; I was elected to the Board Management Committee and worked on the Member Benefits and Affiliations teams. I have co-managed a membership blitz, facilitated local and state training, proactively engaged in one-on-one conversations with members, and sought and received grants to advocate and encourage our organization’s principles. We must strive to stimulate the success of our public schools. I ask for your vote of support to help achieve this goal.

The candidate statements were prepared by the candidates for the offices of president, vice president and NEA board of director. Each statement has been printed in its entirety, unabridged, as it was received, but limited to 200 words or fewer. ISTA Rules Governing Elections, (III. A., 2., b. and c.) prohibit the use of Association staff and equipment on behalf of any candidate for Association office.