Szalai, 54, lives in Coupeville and is a social studies teacher at Oak Harbor Middle School. While he pledged to make the WEA more proactive, unlike the others he faulted the current leadership for ceding valuable ground to reformers.
He said he joined the race after the WEA embraced a new statewide policy of evaluating teacher performance using student test scores and other numeric measures.
"I do not believe you can reduce teaching to a number," he said. "I don't think that's possible and even if it was possible I don't think it would be healthy."
He's set three goals: to repeal the new evaluation system, to reorient the WEA as a nonpartisan professional organization "and not as a wing of the Democratic Party" and to push for its agenda rather than react to that of others.
"We have given aid and comfort to bad ideas. I think we have damaged education," he said. "I think there comes a time to say no."
"Three in race to lead teachers union," 4/8/13 Everett Herald