Knapp Out as Head of Seattle Education Association

Update: letter from Knapp below.  Oddly, he doesn't say who is interim president.

End of update

Sources tell me that Jonathan Knapp resigned last week as the president of the SEA.  He also stepped down from the King County Labor Council Board as well.  I don't know why and I have not seen a notice about an interim head.

I am being told there will likely be a special election in April to find a new leader. 

Knapp's letter

Dear SEA Sisters and Brothers,
Nearly four years ago we embarked on a common journey when you elected me to be your SEA president.  I know that some of you may not have had big expectations about that event.  At the time, many of you did not see SEA as an entity that was particularly relevant to your lives.  I immediately started working to change that.  Compared to where we were four years ago, today we are in a very different place.  Together we have built tremendous power; we have engaged members at unprecedented levels; we have pioneered new approaches to bargaining that put forward the common good; we have changed the discourse in this city about the purpose and value of public education; we have discernably changed the landscape of public education in this state and across this country.  We have had successes that were unimaginable to some of you.  They are, nevertheless, the kinds of successes that I had always imagined we could attain. 

The stories about how those successes came about have yet to be widely told, but the successes did not come about by chance.  Some people think that if people just get fed-up or beat down enough, collective action somehow just spontaneously happens.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Organizing is the fruit of hard work, of careful planning, of steadfast commitment, of strategic decisions, of passionate argument.  SEA is in a good place today because of that work.  There will always be new and important challenges to face.  As you go forward, please don't lose sight of the promise for a fair society that unites us all: Every child in America deserves a high-quality public education. 

It is time for me to take my leave of the organization.  The limits of my last term are fast approaching. The SEA board and I have agreed that I will take my unused comp time from the last six years to finish the remainder of my term on leave.  In my years of service to the union I have observed that it is very difficult for an outgoing president to find a good place to land if s/he waits until after the end of the term to work on next steps. 

This time off will give me the chance to find and apply for job opportunities that will engage my skill set and challenge me in the future.  Spring time is when the bulk of these hiring decisions are made.  If I hire into a new job before the end of my term on June 24th, of course I will resign the presidency at that time.  The SEA budget will realize the savings of any unworked weeks or months.

There are many people for me to thank for their special contributions to our success, but it is a tender regret for me that I cannot thank each of you personally.  Thank you for believing in yourselves as the voice of public education in Seattle; thank you for accepting the premise that we can build our capacity for collective action; and thank you for becoming a united force for the common good that must be reckoned with.  Together, you are unconquerably strong.
Farewell and good luck!
Yours in 
Jonathan Knapp

P.S. For all further union business please contact John Donaghy at  


Anonymous said…
Recruitment shout out from this long time reader for Eric Muhs at Ballard to step up. Wish he'd beat out Jonathan a few years ago. Know others agree.

NW mom said…
Yes! Yay Mr. Muhs. One of my daughter's favorite teachers at BHS.
Anonymous said…
I bet Knapp has some job at the City lined up...

Anonymous said…
I haven't heard of a special election, but, everything in SEA-ville is extremely insider & clique based.

About all you can count on is that whatever comes out of the blue*, and, it all comes out of the blue*. [* out of the blue, to me, is not having ideas posted somewhere in internet-ville, so people have time to digest the idea and kick the tires and chat about it. I also believe that the processes about posting should be open and accessible, not dependent on who can sit for hours on end in meetings, after working all day, and the minutes of the meetings aren't available to members for days or weeks later.]

I know that at the 14 Mar. Representative Assembly (RA) there was an attempt to make sure JKnapp wasn't paid until the end of the year for quitting 4 months early, and this sensible idea was scuttled. [Hey teachers! How many of you have put in enough hours to just quit now & get paid for the rest of the year ???? ]

Once out of the blue occurs, there will be 2 or 3 days to mount opposition / consider enhancements / consider alternatives. There will also be "leaders" telling us how the organization is 'democratic' and 'grassroots', and the "leaders" love implying that those who feel that a 2 or 3 day notice is out of the blue are against the union, against solidarity, against unity, against mom & apple pie.

Good riddance JKnapp. Too bad your actions on open, accessible, inclusive, grassroots and democratic so brilliantly fit the definitions of doublethink

And Doublespeak

mirmac1 said…
Good riddance.
Anonymous said…
I agree with Cynic. Or something with DFER, Gates, or the charter corps.

Sarcastic One said…
It will be interesting to see where Knapp lands. He was always more than willing to carry water for Burgess.
Anonymous said…
Ya butt, he carried water but he was the head of the all evil teacher's union. There's 0 cred for that in Reformland or Cityland. Interesting. I'm betting he's got nada.

Anonymous said…
Quite a few teachers accrue a great deal of leave when they get into the end stages of their careers. Every year you get two weeks of sick leave and two days of personal leave. I've seen quite a few classroom teachers take the last several months of their career as medical leave to take care of the various medical issues and surgeries they've been putting off to teach. I don't know about the comp time policy that SEA has but if the leave was converted to comp time then it's likely that he has that amount. In addition it is wise to look for work early because which building wants a former union president in it? That's a surefire recipe for retaliation.

Under his leadership SEA grew stronger and tried to focus on the actual day to day teaching aspects that have been neglected for a wider political focus. I appreciate someone giving a damn about my work day. To the others who feel vindicated in character assassination I hope you are so well informed that you can know what the man thinks.

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools