California Educator

April/May 2024

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" I G E T E N E R G I Z E D by CTA," says Steven Acosta, a mem- ber of Association of Classified Employees-Culver City. "I get energized by the membership and everyone who supports us and helps us grow. It all makes me glad to be a part of this family." A technology technician in Culver City Unified School District for 25 years, Acosta is the 2024 CTA Paula J. Monroe Educational Support Professional of the Year. Acosta says he is truly honored for the recognition from his CTA siblings. "I feel that CTA gives us a great opportunity to become family with the people we work with — I really value the union because of that," Acosta says. "Learning about advo- cacy and supporting fellow workers." On the job, Acosta is a tech wizard, support- ing the technological needs of students and staff alike. The district's most senior technician provides technical assistance and maintenance for everything from video app support to Chromebook repairs. In his local, Acosta is similarly a powerhouse — constantly working to support his fellow members and help them reach their personal goals. He first got involved in the local after get- ting bumped to a part-time position with fewer hours, which meant Acosta had more time on his hands for the local and he was recruited to be on the executive board. He found a passion for helping colleagues with ideas for their professional growth, working to show them options for becoming teachers or taking on other roles in education and encouraging them to strive for their dreams. "I'm very happy when I see that somebody has grown and decided where they want to go," says Acosta. "I don't have children, but I feel like this is a way that I am imparting something to somebody. Even if it's not my goal to become a teacher, I can help others reach their goals. I was able to motivate several instructional aides to become teachers." Acosta has served his local in a variety of capacities, including membership contact, site representative and he currently serves as a State Council of Education rep- resentative, representing 450 fellow ESPs on the highest decision-making body in our union. He has attended mul- tiple NEA Representative Assemblies and he served for many years on the CTA LGBTQ+ Issues Conference Plan- ning Committee. "Steven has advanced the image of ESPs," wrote Palos Verdes Faculty Association member Samantha Weiss in her nomination of Acosta for the award. "He is cur- rently serving as CTA's ambassador to CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement Sys- tem), where he monitors and synthesizes the public meetings with an eye on flagging import- ant information and developments related to the classified pension system." Acosta gets emotional when he talks about what CTA means to him. He said it meant so much to him to be accepted so easily into the CTA family, underscoring how much influence it's had on his life. "CTA means opportunity. It means education and growth," Acosta says. "CTA says 'Hey Steven, grow, become something." In that vein, Acosta wishes the same for all 310,000 members of the CTA family. "Keep educating yourself for yourself," he says. "Keep growing!" Steven Acosta is CTA Paula J. Monroe ESP of the Year By Julian Peeples Family One of the "CTA gives us a great opportunity to become family with the people we work with — I really value the union because of that." 49 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 24 CTA & You

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