Who is Tom Kertes?

You likely linked to this page from Community for Clean Water.

In the interest of full disclosure, this page provides some background information on me, Tom Kertes – volunteer organizer of Community for Clean Water in Prince Rupert. If you have questions, please contact me at tomkertes@gmail.com or 778-884-5343.

Current Associations

When I am speaking on behalf of Community for Clean Water I am NOT speaking on behalf of these other organizations, to which I have other associations.

  • My employer – School District 52
    • I am a Grade 7 teacher at Prince Rupert Middle School
  • My union – Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union (PRDTU) and the BCTF
    • I am am member (and a union activist) of the PRDTU and the BCTF
    • I serve on the BCTF’s Professional Issues Advisory Committee
  • My political party – NDP
    • I am member of the NDP (but not a party activist)
    • I am a social democrat
  • My church – Anglican Church of Canada
    • I am Christian – Roman Catholic and Anglican
    • I attend and am a member the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church parish

Past Associations

  • Past columnist for the Haida Gwaii Observer (Black Press Media)
  • Past contributor to TheTyee.ca
  • Past member (and union activist) of the BCGEU (as an employee of UBC)
  • Past organizer of the Liberation Learning Project and Child Care Equity Campaign at UBC (Vancouver, BC)
  • Past member of the Early Childhood Educators of BC (and board member)
  • Past consultant to the Toronto and York Region Labour Council
  • Past policy advisor to Ontario’s self-regulatory College of Early Childhood Educators
  • Past organizer of the United Workers Association (Baltimore, MD)

Short Bio

I am a US-Canadian dual citizen who immigrated to Canada in 2007, in part so I could legally marry my now husband Ron Braun (on my move: The Guardian, Toronto Star, BBC News).

In the United States, I was a community organizer. I worked with homeless day labourers to secure a living wage for the cleaners at Baltimore’s Camden Yards stadium. After a three year campaign, workers and allies set a deadline for the governor to agree to living wages and announced that a hunger strike would commence if the deadline was not met. On the eve of the deadline, Maryland’s governor intervened and agree to worker demands. The strike was called off. Workers secured a continuing living wage, direct employment, and other human rights victories.

In Canada, I worked with early childhood educators at UBC. We launched the Child Care Equity Campaign, which called for 20% pay correction – despite government mandates to the contrary. Working with the BCGEU, the union that represented child care professionals at UBC and the Liberation Learning Project, workers secured their demand. (When I first moved to Canada I lived in Toronto. There I consulted for the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, was policy advisor to the self-regulatory College of Early Childhood Educators, and was an instructor at Seneca College.)

I changed careers after the Child Care Equity Campaign secured its demands, to become a public school teacher and to move from Vancouver to northern BC. My husband Ron and I realized that we wanted to move to the region on our first visit, soon after moving from Toronto to Vancouver in 2009. I went back to school to earn a Bachelor’s of Education from Simon Fraser University. Once graduated, I taught for three and a half years in Haida Gwaii. We lived in Queen Charlotte and I worked at GidGalang Kuuyas Naay – teaching high school English and Drama. Ron and I moved to Prince Rupert in 2018. I currently teach at Prince Rupert Middle School (grade 7).

Critical Education Project

I am the founding organizer of the Critical Education Project, a network of North Coast and Skeena region educators.

Scrawler’s Academy

I am the lead facilitator of the Scrawler’s Academy, a creative writing program for teen authors.