My name is Erika Hughes, President of CA-AFT and I am from Gardendale, Alabama. I am married to Brian Hughes of Gardendale, and we have three boys, Lawson (16) and twins Bradie and Brodie (13). I am a 17-year veteran teacher for Jefferson County.
I am humbled to have been elected to serve our outstanding members of Central Alabama AFT. I am a strong leader who will stand up for what is right and lend a hand to help others who are struggling to find their voice. Growing up, I constantly had to work hard to accomplish anything I wanted to achieve. Hard work and challenges do not scare me but drive me to find a way to achieve the task.
I want to help our members and be their voices when they can’t speak up. Over the last 17 years, certified and classified staff would confide in me to help them with situations they didn’t know how to handle. It was an honor to advocate for them and help them get what they needed to be done. I have been an AFT member for 17 years and have attended many conferences where I have received training to bring back many classes to benefit our members. I am also the Teacher Leader facilitator. This fantastic program helps many of our members find their voice and help stand firm in our local and help others.
I look forward to working with our fantastic staff and continuing to make Central Alabama AFT the best Teacher’s Union for its members. I am a phone call away at any time of the day. Please let me know if I can help you at any time.
I have 19 years of experience with AFT and I can't imagine working anywhere else! Before AFT, I worked at Chalkville Elementary School and was a proud member of AFT. I wake up every morning looking forward to another day, another opportunity to serve others.
I live in Blount County and my grandchildren attend Blount County and Oneonta City Schools. I have two married sons. Jake is a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Vestavia Hills Fire Department and his wife Kristin is a detective. Zach is a salesman for McPherson Oil Company and Valerie is a 6th grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary School.
One of my responsibilities as senior staff representative is to assist you with grievances. My goal is to find solutions for issues that may arise with you and/or at your school. I work well with superintendents and school leaders to resolve issues and get everyone back to work in a timely manner. We attend board meetings and committee meetings. We address issues that are important to you.
Thanks to our incredible members, I have the best job in the world! If you are not already a member, consider joining a union that represents our members aggressively and with integrity. It would be an honor to serve you.
My name is Kristy Bensko and I’m one of your local CA-AFT Staff Representatives. I have been married to my husband, Jere, for 25 years. We have 3 children; Connor is 22 and is a Firefighter/Paramedic. He is following in his mother’s footsteps because of his passion to serve others. My daughter Callie is 17 and is a senior at Gardendale High School where she is very active in various social and academic clubs. Carter is 16 and is a junior at Gardendale High School. He is very involved in the small group bible study at our church and is pursuing opportunities to enhance his leadership skills.
Before coming to work for AFT, I was a paraprofessional with the Jefferson County School District for several years. I am currently attending Central State University where I am enrolled in their Bachelor of Science Education program with a major in Early Childhood Education. I used our UnionPlus benefit that every AFT member gets with your membership at NO cost at all to our members.
I am looking forward to bringing all my strengths to the table as I represent you and advocate for our members.
I’m Steffanie Burford and I’m so excited to be a part of the AFT family! Education has been my passion since I dressed up as a teacher in first grade for career day. I spent 9 ½ years in Early Childhood Education where I fell in love with serving others. My goal is to help veteran and new teachers/support staff alike to create safe and happy environments.
I’ve had the pleasure of raising 4 amazing children that have kept me active in the schools they attended. This is where I became aware of the struggles facing so many of my friends and family working in the schools. I’ve watched them fund their own classrooms, lose planning periods, and struggle through all the changes that came with Covid. I wanted to be a part of the solution so when I joined AFT I knew I could finally make a difference. I look forward to going out in the schools and meeting everyone and giving them the voice they deserve.
I’m Deborah Arnold and I am so happy to be working with CA-AFT. I have been a member of AFT for many years and I have served as a building representative as well. I have 28 years of experience as a school nurse in Jefferson County School District. I have served students in the elementary, middle and high schools as well as students as the Burkett Multi-Needs Center throughout my career. I was blessed to work with several great administrators before retiring.
I am currently a member of our retiree chapter. I encourage all our members to consider joining the retiree chapter after your retirement. We meet often and work hard to support the school districts that we serve.
I have two children and 6 grandchildren that attend schools in two district we represent. I know the importance of good, strong public schools because I have a vested interest. I also know how important it is because I represent all classifications of employees in the 12 districts that we serve. We want the very best schools for our children, so we need excellent and dedicated teachers.
I am excited to be a voice for you in Central Alabama AFT
I am Cynthia King and I am the mother of 3 children and I currently reside in Fultondale, Alabama. I am so happy to be working as the Administrative Assistant at AFT! I enjoy helping others and love building relationships with our members.
I spent that last 22 years as a banker in the commercial/corporate field. I’m looking forward to bringing those skills to CA-AFT, handling all finances for the union. I certainly love a challenge and I look forward to serving our members in the role.
I love life, my kids, and I pride myself in working as a team player. I am excited about this new opportunity to serve others!
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