Former RHS teacher to lead policy arm of CTA

Joe Nuñez steps into union’s executive director role today
2013-08-01T00:35:00Z Former RHS teacher to lead policy arm of CTALauren Foreman/ Santa Maria Times

Joe Nuñez was born in Santa Maria, grew up in Guadalupe and taught at Righetti High School for more than 20 years. 

“I loved teaching,” Nuñez said.

So much so, he devoted the last 17 years of his career to work for the California Teachers Association (CTA), the largest affiliate within the National Education Association.

Today, Nuñez begins a role as the executive director of the state union.

“To me, public education is the cornerstone of our democracy,” Nuñez said. “And it’s teachers that do that work tirelessly every day and create the educated workforce to make sure that we have a stable democracy in moving forward.

“We should be forever grateful for the work they do.”

As CTA executive director, Nuñez will oversee a staff of 450 members and assist leaders in implementing education policy.

“The biggest priority that I have is to work in consort with the officers of the organization and the board of directors,” he said.

This is not the first time a former Santa Maria educator has served in a leadership capacity in the state union. David Sanchez, the first Latino president of the California Teachers Association, served from 2007 to 2011.

Nuñez gained his first experience leading a teacher’s union in Santa Maria, where he served as president of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s faculty union from 1986 to 1994.

He led teachers in a strike in February 1990, the culmination of parent complaints about the administration and board members and teacher dissatisfaction about employee compensation and benefits.

“1990 was (23) years ago, so the issues at the time were over pay and benefits, and we felt that the district wasn’t being honest in responding that their budget was not able to accommodate more support for teachers,” Nuñez said.

The effort ended in one month with the recall of two board members, according to minutes from a March school board meeting.

“It was very successful,” Nuñez said.

The two state initiatives that would most effect local teachers in moving forward are a state funding overhaul known as the Local Control Funding Formula and implementation of Common Core State Standards, Nuñez said.

The recently passed Local Control Funding Formula, is the governor’s attempt to simplify school financing and funnel more state dollars to schools in need over an eight-year period.

“It’s the biggest thing to (impact) school funding in a generation,” Nuñez said.

CTA is currently amid a strategic planning process to determine how to best deploy resources of the organization.

“Hopefully, the state council will make a decision in January about the direction they want to go in in strategic planning,” Nuñez said.

Copyright 2015 Santa Maria Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. ConcernedCM
    Report Abuse
    ConcernedCM - August 03, 2013 1:23 am
    Doubt you'll see this, but Way to go, Joe! I discovered a love of horticulture and a career path due to your love of teaching it! Thanks! Definitely agree that education is our cornerstone, and MUCH APPRECIATE the dedication of our country's teachers!

    Life's Best Always!

    Natalie Clouser(Crandall)

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Santa Maria Times ( may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Santa Maria Times or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

Follow Us

Deals, Offers and Events

Featured Businesses

View More...

Online e-Edition

Read your newspaper online, anytime, anywhere!

Read today's Santa Maria Times print edition at any time from any computer. Your local news and information at your convenience!

Read | Subscribe