Slate of WSEA Nominees for Officers for 2018-2020


Joao Franco

Joao (John) has acted as Co-President for the last two years. He is a History teacher at the high school and has been teaching in the system for twenty years. During the last two years the WSEA has formatted new approaches to union practices. Particularly, the addition of a Rights and Responsibilities co-Chair and the decentralization of union representation in the buildings. In addition, changes have been made to restructure the operations that resulted in cost savings that are being applied to shore up support in representation. During the last two years representation has gone up considerably in meetings and representatives have a direct "say" in union operations. Lastly, the current Union officers have followed a consistent, close scrutiny of Union by-laws and contractual expectations. 

Darbie Pettengill

As of June 2018, I will have completed my sixth year teaching for the West Springfield Public Schools. It is my full intent to remain with WSPS for the duration of my teaching career. I have served on the negotiation team for our current contract between WSPS and WSEA. I am currently representing the association as Co- President.

I have been a resident of West Springfield since 1982. I am married with two adult
children and three grandchildren.

I began my teaching career at The Montessori Children’s House of West Springfield in 1993. I spent 12 years as a pre-k teacher and 6 years as school administrator. Montessori was accredited and served children from pre-school through grade 5. I am currently an adjunct professor at Our Lady of the Elms.

Rights and Responsibility co-chair

Laura Canon

I am running for reelection for the position of Rights and Responsibility co-chair.  I have held this position for the past two years.  Before taking on this position I was the Corresponding Secretary for 10 years.  One of my duties was to organized the yearly Retirement Social.  I was also the building representative for Mittineague for 15 years. During my 21 years of teaching in West Springfield, I have been a classroom teacher for grades 1 and 2 at Mittineague Elementary and the Title One Math teacher at Memorial. I would appreciate your vote on June 1st for the Rights and Responsibility co-chair.

Robert Pettengill

Robert Pettengill has resided in West Springfield since 1982. He is married with two adult children and three grandchildren.

Robert has been a member of the WSPS faculty since the fall of 1996, a WSEA Building Representative from 2000-2016 and served on a past contract negotiations team.  Robert was also a two time member of the NEASC visiting accreditation team.  From 2014-2016 he was a member of the Evaluation Steering Committee, working with WSPS administration to guide consistent implementation and understanding of our evaluation process. Currently, Robert serves as the Professional Rights & Responsibilities co-Chair for the WSEA.

Membership Chair

Leanne Berggrun

I am currently a third grade teacher at Mittineague School, and I would like to submit my name for Membership Chair of the WSEA. I am in my third year in West Springfield, and I have spent two years as a building representative for Mittineague School. I am applying for this position because I am committed to serving my community of educators. As membership chair I would work to get more teachers (especially young teachers like myself) motivated about their union. I hope to continue to serve the teachers in my district as Membership Chair of the WSEA board.


Rachel Dionne

Rachel is a Mathematics teacher at West Springfield High School. During her six years at WSHS she has been part of the PLC and Terrier House efforts as an exceptional interpersonal and professional participant and contributor. Rachel has also coached at WSHS. Her multifaceted persona and willingness to work collegially make her an outstanding choice for Treasurer. In addition to personality, Rachel demonstrates consistent professionalism in her academic plans and approach. Furthermore, as salutatorian at Westfield State University Rachel demonstrates an above average achievement standard, which she will continue to achieve as treasurer for the WSEA.

Recording Secretary

Susan Gerardi

I am the Site Coordinator, Mittineague Boys and Girls Club: Before/After School
Program. Ms. Gerardi has been the site coordinator at Mittineague for the past two years.

She has been an active member of the WSEA for 31 years. She started as a building
representative and has been the Recording Secretary for the past several years.

Ms. Gerardi, has one daughter named Lianna, who is currently a junior at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Ms. Gerardi was born and raised in Brookfield, Connecticut until the age of 16. She has lived in West Springfield ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends at her favorite spot in Westerly, Rhode Island. She enjoys cooking, dancing, reading, and listening to music. She also enjoys watching football and baseball. Her favorite color is turquoise. Her favorite type of food is Italian. She has traveled to Aruba, Canada, France, Italy, Turkey and Greece. She hopes to travel again someday.

Ms. Gerardi is a first grade teacher at Mittineague Elementary School. She has been teaching for 31 years all of which has been in West Springfield. She still gets excited in September to start a new year and is sad to end each year in June. She hopes she leaves each of her students/members in a better place and prepared for the next step in their learning journey and life journey. Each student leaves her taking a piece of her heart with them! One of her favorite quotes is something she tries to instill in her students/members each and every day “Reach for the stars, spread your wings and fly. You never know what you can do until you try!”

Corresponding Secretary

Kristen Hogan

I began teaching in 2011 after graduating from Westfield State University. I have been teaching at Mittineague School for six years. I currently teach fifth grade but have also taught first and second. I have served as the WSEA’s corresponding secretary for the past two years. As corresponding secretary, I carry out roles that involve reaching out to the membership. I also plan our end of the year WSEA Social This past year it went very well and I am hoping for continued growth in the number of members who attend each year.”

Publicity/ Political Ed
Stephanie Duggan