Cecily Myart-Cruz is a teacher, activist, and the first woman of color in UTLA’s history to serve as president of the union. Cecily has taught for 26 years, at both elementary and middle school levels, most recently at Angeles Mesa Elementary. Before being elected UTLA President, Cecily served as UTLA West Area Chair and NEA Vice President. As Area chair, she organized boycotts of over-testing and worked with the community, parents, students, and educators to demand collaborative administrators centering the health and well-being of school sites. Cecily is no stranger to taking direct action, whether it is fighting against co-locations by charter operators, demanding Ethnic Studies for our students, working for the end of the criminalization of youth, or leading local and statewide lobbying efforts for more funding. As the UTLA NEA Vice President, she engaged members and worked with community partners to bring resources to schools, including Honey Shine Inc. to bring a mentoring and self-esteem program for young girls of color. Cecily took office as UTLA President in July 2020, in the early months of the COVID pandemic. Cecily led the fight that organized UTLA members and school families behind the strongest COVID health and safety measures in the country. That work led to a series of agreements with LA Unified that kept the district one of the safest big-city school districts in the country. Cecily is committed to creating safe, just, and supportive learning environments so that every student can learn in an affirming, well-resourced neighborhood school. In 2021 Cecily oversaw the democratic development of the Beyond Recovery Platform, which was created by UTLA members, parents, and community allies over months of meetings and dialogue to address the urgent needs of our students at a time when historic levels of funding are coming to school districts. UTLA’s strategic plan for the 2022-23 school year will build power with families and the community to win this comprehensive plan for pandemic recovery and beyond. Cecily is the Chair of the NEA Black Caucus and a member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. She has helped shape the racial justice work of the union through critical dialogue, workshops, forums, and conferences — all while making sure student voices are front and center. Lastly, Cecily has continued to build strength and power for UTLA through a strong relationship with local, statewide, and national leaders within both of UTLA’s affiliates, the NEA and the AFT. Cecily is the proud mother of a LAUSD student.