|Derra Smith (L).
"MACE is a super-fantastic
union...MACE was there ASAP to support me, and now I am a happy, stress-free, hassle-free, teacher in Gwinnett County, and
I want to Thank-You MACE for saving my life, career, and reputation. Love Ya, Ms. D. Smith"
MACE started in the Fall of 1995, and within its first week of soliciting members, it had
already enrolled two former presidents of GAE locals (Fulton and Cobb), a former president of the Atlanta
Federation of Teachers (AFT), and other leaders of other educational organizations. These teachers joined MACE
because they knew that MACE was totally committed to the protection and empowerment of classroom educators.
The message of MACE resonates with Georgia’s teachers. The good news of MACE continues
to spread throughout Georgia, and MACE now represents teachers in over forty school systems in Georgia.
MACE does not allow administrators to join. Why should MACE? Administrators have their own organizations
(like GAEL, GSSA, GAESP, etc.); however, administrators continue to flood
the membership ranks of GAE and PAGE. This is one of the main reasons that GAE
and PAGE cannot speak forthrightly for classroom educators. Sometimes, to advocate for teachers, you have
to be critical of the misconduct of administrators. Sometimes, you even have to call names. But what happens at GAE
and PAGE when there is a conflict between a teacher and a principal and both are members of the same organization?
You know! It’s a classic case of conflict-of-interest. Furthermore, the assistant superintendent and/or the superintendent
may also be a member of that organization. What will GAE or PAGE do? Nothing, probably.
And, that’s what often happens – nothing. The teacher’s interests do not get served. Frustration and a sense
of impotence set in. Not so at MACE! MACE knows that the administrator is not a member of
MACE. MACE knows that there’s no conflict. MACE knows whom we serve
and for whom MACE advocates; therefore, keep spreading the good news that there is a union for teachers,
a union which does not apologize in advocating for teachers. Keep encouraging other teachers to join the growing union that
packs a powerful punch. When you say “MACE,” administrators listen.
teachers and I at our school first joined MACE in 1996, it was one of the best decisions that we made. MACE
affords classroom educators the opportunity to teach in a non-threatening environment. MACE is like the
Marines, the Rangers, and the Navy Seals – they’ll come to your rescue when you’re in harm’s way.”
– Wayne Thompson, DeKalb Teacher
Chatham [MACE attorney] was phenomenal." -- Vivian Morgan, Reporter with The Hartwell Sun newspaper after watching Attorney
Chatham defend a MACE member who won her hearing and continued to keep her job.
Retiring Atlanta Teacher, Jill Beracki, Thanks MACE!
Good afternoon Dr. [John]Trotter, Mr. [Jeff] Cox, Mr. [Darryl] Plenty, and Mr. [Norreese] Haynes:
I want to thank you so much for representing me for these past
few years. I could not have made it through the Atlanta Public Schools without you. No teacher should continue to teach
without having MACE to represent them.
DeKalb MACE Member, Dr. Collette Keeton, Praises MACE!
Dr. Collette Keeton, a member of MACE since 2006, praises MACE for standing in the gap
for her. She thanked Dr. Trotter and Jeff Cox, writing: "Thank you, MACE, for filing my first grievance in April of 2008
and anohter one in October of 2010. Without your assistance and blessings from the Most High, I do not know where I would
be right now. You are truly a Teacher's Best Advocate!"
Men in Black
Have Nothing on MACE, Says Grateful Member!
Retiring Douglas County Teacher Praises the MACE Teachers’
“To my dearest MACE: After 30 years
in the classroom, I am retiring from teaching and beginning a new life. I have taught over 6000 children
in the Douglas County School System, many of whom have been the children of the children I taught. Knowing three generations
within some families has created very powerful relationships and feelings of trust that few other jobs allow. Several
former students are now close friends who will last a lifetime. Parting will truly be difficult.... briefly.
“I have been a MACE member since very near the beginning. If Dr. Trotter was going to leave
GAE to develop a better organization, I was going to follow. Over the many years since, I have been involved in only one grievance
(as a witness) and was astounded at the brilliance of Dr. Trotter and his team to reduce opponents to whimpering, stuttering,
dumbfounded fools. ZAP! ZING! WHAMMO! It would come hard, fast, and with unquestionable
clarity. I have never had to bring one of the MACE team into a meeting with an administrator or parent
because the mere mention of that as my next step has solved problems. I have played that card only three
times over the years (seeking advice from MACE beforehand) because someone in authority wanted a grade changed to make an
outrageously annoying parent go away. Each time the 'veiled threat' from a weak principal instantly vaporized.
“MACE has a reputation for not just having a teacher's
back, but their front and flanks as well. It's like having a kind of Justice League for the classroom educator
- or as one colleague phrased it, "Psycho lawyers from hell." Either way, thank you for being
there. I am 'officially' requesting a cancellation of my membership, including the automatic monthly draft
of dues from my bank account. I will continue to read your website news and encourage good teachers to
join your ranks. Best of luck, my superheroes! Men in Black have nothing on you guys! Truly, Kathryn
Dr. Trotter: “Thanks you, Kathryn! It is the unsolicited thank you notes and letters
from members like you which make us feel so good about what we are doing for the dedicated teachers of Georgia.
Please enjoy your well-earned retirement! You have the highest respect from your children and colleagues
– and from the MACE Staff as well! I remember when several of us guys on the MACE Staff first met
with you and several other teachers in your classroom many years ago! Please stay in touch with us!
Obiago (DeKalb County Teacher):
“I am short of words to thank Mr.
Norreese Haynes and MACE for the overwhelming support that turned a weak case to success. Prior to visiting MACE, I consulted
a few volunteer attorneys and they advised that my chance of winning the appeal was at most 25%. In fact, one advised that
I really had no case unless I wanted to waste my time. At this time, I had lost hope of any positive outcome on this appeal,
but I just wanted to fight anyway.
“I did not think that I needed to involve
MACE because I considered that my issues with DOL was outside the classroom and consequently outside the scope of my relationship
with MACE. However, as my last resort, I called and discussed my appeal with MACE and I was immediately invited to the office
and was supported all through the preparation for the appeal. Contrary to my expectation, it was an unbelievable appeal victory.
With the assistance of Mr. Haynes of MACE, I achieved victory and the DOL appeal decision was in my favor.
to the appeal date, Mr. Haynes thoroughly gathered all documents for the appeal and advised on subpoenas. Even though I received
the appeal notice less than one week before the appeal date, MACE personnel and Mr. Haynes arduously worked through the weekend
days preceding the appeal date and contacted me to discuss and finalize all plans. Mr. Haynes and Jeff [Cox] followed up daily
to make sure that all plans worked as planned. In fact, MACE took the pressure off me and I felt much supported.
Haynes called me to set up a meeting to discuss the appeal process. He coached and explained our perspective and the entire
procedure step by step. At the end of our 2 hour meeting at 10:00 pm, I regained the confidence I had lost when I met with
previous attorneys. Unbelievable, the MACE office was fully staffed and very busy at 10:00 pm with teachers visiting and receiving
counsel and assistance all day and night long! This is what I call selfless dedication; no other teachers union will invest
their late evenings to support teachers the MACE way. With the constant assurance I had from Mr. Haynes, I looked forward
to the appeal with reasonable expectation.
“During this appeal process hearing, Mr. Haynes tactfully cross-examined
me and assisted me a great deal to remember documentary material facts that I was too nervous to remember. Mr. Haynes was
very professional and really “worth his onions”. Mr. Haynes’s outstanding demeanor, knowledge, confidence,
and expertise earned us our victory. Through Mr. Haynes’s cross-examination, he helped me to recall and established
material facts to my favor, and we were able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that we deserved to win the appeal, and we won.
I am so proud of Mr. Haynes and the entire MACE team.
“Thank you for all that you
do in support of teachers. Thanks for being the ONLY REAL and SINCERE voice that teachers have. Thanks for your selfless dedication.
Thanks for being the teacher’s advocate. Yours Sincerely, Glad Obiago."
Teacher/Coach Praises Attorney Brown And MACE!
one of MACE's Network Attorneys, did a tremendous job representing me in a hearing when I was falsely accused recently.
Mr. Brown represented me like he was representing someone in a murder case. He was all over them, dotting all of the
"I's" and crossing all of the "T's." He turned their witnesses into my witnesses. Attorney
Brown is personable and thorough. I appreciate what all MACE has done for me!" -- Earl White (DeKalb Teacher/Coach).
Former Teacher, Nancy Hall, Praises MACE
While Now Attending Law School!
Dr. Trotter, Mr. Haynes, Jeff [Cox], and the rest of the gang at MACE:
"Allow me to start this letter with an expression of enduring
thanks for what MACE has been able to accomplish on my behalf in the past. MACE allowed me to not only retain my job in [County
Name Withheld], but also to keep my reputation intact. Ongoing support from Jeff [Cox] after the fateful hearing before the
BOE [in which she won] gave me the strength I needed to hang in there and complete the entire school year. Of course, I resigned
my position in [County Name Withheld], but only after being allowed to show my teaching abilities in the classroom
and complete the entire school year. In fact, I received a gift from the administrators at the year's end, many words of thanks,
and letters of recommendation should I decide to teach again. I dare say that if there were
a position open at [School Name Withheld] Elementary School in the future, I would be eligible for rehire. This is all attributed
to MACE. As I
stated above, I resigned from teaching in January and have decided not to stay in the profession of teaching any longer. My
CRCT scores were wonderful, I always kept the support of my co-teachers, and parents were extremely
supportive of me. The children were wonderful and often cooperative (amazingly!). One might argue that I am in the right
place and should remain in teaching....I applied to law school and have decided to attend school at the University
of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. While I received offers in Florida,
Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, Ohio,
and Georgia, I am confident in my decision to relocate to Arkansas (they did quite well in U. S. News this year)...Please
keep fighting the good fight!!!
"Because I have decided to trade an income in teaching for studying and surviving
on Ramen Noodles and student loans, I must cancel or suspend my MACE membership. I am not
certain if you offer any type of "lesser" or "affiliate/non-teacher" membership that has less benefits
but continues to support the cause. If you do, please let me know as I would be very interested. I have been asked to intern
in Georgia next summer and continue to own a home here, so my ties with the state are not totally
severed; however, I cannot be certain that I will return here after law school. I wish I had an endless amount of money as
I would certainly stay a MACE member forever.
"Thank you again, and rest assured
if I ever teach in Georgia again, it will not be without a membership in MACE. Inversely, if there is every anything I can
do to assist MACE, please do not hesitate to contact me." -- Nancy Hall (Former Butts
Craig Simmons (Fulton County Teacher):
"Mr. Ramay [MACE Attorney
J. Anderson Ramay] did a phenominal, phenominal, phenominal job in my hearing.. I would definitely recommend Mr. Ramay
for any educational law issue."
Jill D. Beracki (Atlanta City Teacher):
"To the entire staff of MACE:Thank you for assisting me with my case against Mr. J.
Austin Brown. No matter what the outcome may be, I appreciate the manner in which you handled all aspects of it.
I want to especially thank Mr. Cox for taking all of those phone calls and being there at what ever hour I arrived at your
office in Fayetteville. Also, I want to give a special thanks to Mr. Haynes who
was so aggressive and sure of himself when I was just a mass of nerves; wow. You all were there every step of the way.
I could not have asked for better support. Teachers everywhere should take advantage of your services."
Christine Jackson (Atlanta City Teacher):
"I've been teaching in Atlanta since 1991 and for years I have tried to fight the
battles on my own. A couple of years ago, I joined MACE, and now I have the support that I need. All teachers need to join
Felicia Williams (Atlanta City Teacher):
"Dear Mace: Thank you for enduring the summer heat
while recently picketing on my behalf. I look forward to the new school year at my new school, Douglass High. Thanks
Leroy Walker (Atlanta City Teacher):
"I have been a member of MACE for many years in Atlanta, and when I needed MACE
in a particular situation, MACE did not let me down. MACE is guaranteed results."
Alieka Anderson (DeKalb County Teacher):
"Dear Dr. Trotter, Thank you for supporting and rescuing me from Atlanta Public
School. Words cannot express the joy that I feel about your wonderful teacher's union. Thank you for providing me with my
new found 'peace of mind!"
Hamisi Esop (Fulton County Teacher):
"I was a member of AFT for years in Atlanta. I later switched to MACE, and I am glad
that I did because they get the job done."
Glad Obiago (Dekalb County Teacher):
"I love teaching, but as a native of Africa, I was being harassed a lot by the administration and students. I had been
active in the past in GAE and PAGE, but neither group did anything for me. I later joined MACE. When I enlisted MACE's help,
things began to happen. People now know that I am a member of MACE and the discrimination has been put in check. I enjoy my
Tony Guisasola (Dawson County Teacher):
“When I taught in Gilmer County,
I would not have won my grievance if it had not been for MACE. I had been the system representative
of PAGE for sixteen years and PAGE did nothing for me. Had it not been for MACE,
I may have been out of a job!”
Jocelyn Johnson (Atlanta City Teacher):
“I’d be a member of MACE if it costs $50.00 per
month because of the excellent service! Representation is always available 24 hours, 7 days a week.”
Audrey Arrington (Atlanta City Teacher):
“Instead of dialing 911, I dial M-A-C-E. MACE
is the best $40.00 I spend each month. Don’t wait too late to join!”
George Jones, Jr. (Dekalb County Teacher):
"I had to call upon MACE Legal Services one time, Attorney Anderson Ramay was Excellent
& better than Johnny Cochran!"
Vera Culpepper (Cobb County Teacher):
“Joining MACE has kept me from losing
any more of my hair and from drinking Pepto-Bismol. Now, I can go home after teaching all day and relax. If you
are not a member of MACE now, you NEED to join immediately!”
Gunny Yawn (DeKalb County Teacher):
“Why spend money for alleged teacher unions who only protect administrators?
With MACE, you can call upon the Lion and let the Pride fight your battles – and win! Everyone
knows that Lions enjoy large families, so join MACE and become part of the Pride!”
|Rep. Darryl Jordan
Rep. Darryl Jordan (Henry County Teacher):
“I think that it is imperative that we as classroom teachers have some
organization that we can say is ours, and MACE is truly just a teacher’s advocate. Recently,
a teacher had unfounded allegations made against her and through MACE’s intervention, she remains on
staff. In my opinion, MACE brought about justice just when the situation looked extremely bleak.”
Mary Ann Murphy (Fulton County Teacher):
“I pray this quick note finds you well. I am doing just fine in my new assignment.
“I just want to say a deep, sincere thank you for all you and the wonderful attorney did on my behalf in saving my job.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate what you did for me.“May God continue to bless you in a
“I cannot imagine what I would have done without your help and encouragement.”
Andrew Manning (Atlanta City Teacher):
“To be fair, not all administrators are ogres. However, too many
administrators consider their position to be their personal petty fiefdom, and teachers are considered pawns to be squashed
just to show that they are powerful. It’s no longer enough for teachers to be the ‘kind-hearted infantry,’
soldiering on despite all that the politicians and educrats throw at us, quietly cursing our fate in the teachers’ lounge.
We must stand up for ourselves, for we teachers are the one group in education, who, when we stand up for ourselves, really
are in a position to do something ‘for the children.’ If you’re not the type to make your voice heard
(and let’s face it, many teachers don’t like to be perceived as ‘rocking the boat’), then let MACE
be that voice for you. When you support MACE, you support teachers everywhere; and when you join MACE,
believe me, MACE will support you. You don’t have to worry about MACE selling
you out for a ‘prestige car tag.’ When the chips are down, brandishing a car tag isn’t going to save
you; you need a MACE!”
Tricia Weeks (DeKalb County Teacher):
“In analyzing the difference that MACE membership has made to me as a veteran teacher of seventeen
years with DeKalb County Schools, I want to emphasize MACE’s giving me a sense of personal empowerment
in my daily interaction with students, parents and administrators. Until I joined MACE, I frequently
experienced the vulnerability of seeking fair treatment from unpredictable decision-makers who demanded my loyalty and trust
for their support or who threatened retribution for any views I might have held which differed from theirs.
“Membership in MACE virtually eliminates feelings of oppression from administrative heavy-handedness
and misconstrued realities. I have experienced the support of an excellent legal team who knows my rights in any circumstance
and are willing to take issues of justice to the fullest extent of the law. I have observed MACE in
confrontations in which reluctant officials have been forced to abide by the codes, rules and laws which they have established
and agreed to uphold. I have watched the subjective realities of administrators shatter under questioning in which they
have been required to explain their reasoning processes.
of all, MACE has allowed me the privilege to practice in my profession the very skills and ideals which I
daily encourage my students to develop. As a MACE member, I am a teacher who can think, ask, evaluate,
analyze, probe and reason. Because of MACE, when my opinions are based on the truth and the law, I
Doris Walker (Clayton County Teacher):
“MACE never left my side. MACE
was the only group that consistently supported me and my family during this horrendous ordeal. I couldn’t
have asked for a better attorney.”
Mary Mallory-Gober (Atlanta City Teacher):
“I wish MACE has been around in 1974 when I first started teaching in Atlanta.
I regret the dues I paid to AAE and AFT. Years passed before I
found out that both AAE and AFT were sleeping with the enemy (the administration).
As soon as I found out about MACE, I joined.
“Five years ago the CANCER of Mental Abuse from a vindictive principal, some irresponsible parents, and their disruptive,
disrespectful children was eating away at me and the job I love – teaching. John Trotter and the
MACE TROOP came to my rescue. MACE lit a fire under that principal and
brought her more attention than she could handle. Slowly, her dictatorship fell and she retired.
“I left Atlanta and went to Henry County. The setting was different but, there were still unruly,
spoiled students and irresponsible parents. Some parents even seemed more concerned about my pigmentation
than my qualifications. I changed school systems but, the ‘Blame the Teacher Cancer’ was here
too. The years of mental and physical abuse have caused me to have numerous disabling ailments and have
forced me to take early retirement. I will continue to pay my MACE dues because MACE
tells it like it is! It is so comforting to know that MACE supports teachers and is committed
to exposing the injustices we face. Teachers, you cannot afford to teach without MACE.
If you sign a teaching contact, you’d better fill out a MACE application.”
Dr. Sherri Hintz (Douglas County Teacher):
“I would like to thank you for your support, guidance, and professional
expertise in dealing with my work problem. The MACE organization is by far the most reliable and professional
organization for classroom teachers. Your strong character and finesse secured a positive result in my case.
“I was a member for 24 years of GAE
and they could not even give me the time of day, much less give me sound and reliable advise in my case. Your care and concern
to see my problem to a successful conclusion was a true example of a well-organized association. MACE is
truly an organization for the working teacher.
“I investigated my personnel file today and the report has been removed. The
only papers in my file are the 24 years of positive evaluations and praises that have accumulated over the years.I appreciate
all the time and effort on your part to rectify my situation.”
Janice Scott (Atlanta City Teacher):
“I have found a Teachers Union, in my opinion, with ‘True Moral Convictions.’ When
I was a college student a decade ago, I often reflected on a statement made by a college professor in reference to teacher
union membership and the value of joining it. The statement did not make any sense then. However,
at the present time, I know the importance of union membership and good representation.
“The Metro Association of Classroom Educators, better known as MACE, is a union which
believes in teachers. They will take the risk to support them in any way needed. MACE
has shown great leadership, practices fundamental fairness, and is consistent. When these things were put
into action before my eyesight, it allowed me to gain not only respect for the organization, but also manifested confidence
and trust. MACE is definitely a union with moral convictions which represents Classroom
Educators.“I have experienced membership with other unions. However, I found MACE
to be the most effective for me. This union has shown great representation and speaks ‘true words.’“I
have found MACE to be a union of true moral convictions for all Classroom Educators and one with a strong