United Faculty of Florida Statewide Officers and Staff

OFFICERS

UFF President

Teresa M. Hodge, Broward College

Teresa M. Hodge is from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and is a 1986 graduate of the Charlotte Amalie High School where the motto is “To Excel Always.”  To this day, she continues to actualize that motto in everything that she pursues.  She earned her BA in Mathematics and her MS in Applied Mathematics, both from Hampton University (HU), an historically black university in Hampton, VA.  Today, she’s an associate professor of mathematics.  Teresa has been an active union member since being hired full-time in August 2002, but her leadership development journey didn’t begin until the fall of 2010 when she was accepted into the National Education Association’s (NEA’s) Emerging Leaders Academy, at that time a competitive year-long leadership training program for higher education union members.  Since graduating from the program, she has served as a faculty senate president (2011-2014); UFF-Broward College Chapter president (2011-2016, 2018-2023); and UFF statewide membership committee chair (2017-2018).  She has also served as a delegate to the FEA, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and NEA; a UFF Senator; and a UFF representative on FEA’s governance board.  In September 2023, she was elected as UFF’s statewide first vice president.  She was then appointed as UFF President November 2023. As she serves UFF in this new role, she will continue to actualize her high school motto, “To Excel Always.”

EXECUTIVE STAFF


Adela Z. Ghadimi, Ph.D., Executive Director

Adela Ghadimi began her work with UFF as a three-term president of UFF-FSU-GAU, representing the Graduate Assistants of Florida State University. The proud daughter of immigrants, Adela is the first in her family to be born in the US and has always taken great pride in wanting to serve others in any way she can. Above all, equity and inclusion encompass everything she does. She is a doctoral candidate in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. Prior to beginning her doctoral work and relocating to Tallahassee, Adela lived in Washington, DC and worked in education policy and government relations and has prior professional experience in nonprofits, grassroots organizing and political campaigns. Adela has a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Miami. For the past three years, she served as Organizing Specialist and Service Unit Director for United Faculty of Florida for the past three years for the northern half of the state. Dr. Ghadimi is thrilled to tackle this new role to serve as the UFF Executive Director.

Most recently, Adela was selected for the Obama Foundation Leaders USA 2023, a program that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders across the country. Together, Leaders will accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities with a focus on strengthening institutions across sectors toward a more inclusive, participatory democracy.

See article Adela Ghadimi co-published with Daniel L. Fay in the Public Administration Review in 2020: “Collective Bargaining during Times of Crisis: Recommendations from the COVID-19 Pandemic”

SERVICE UNIT DIRECTORS


Cami Acceus, Labor Relations Specialist (Northeast/Southeast)

Cami has been passionate about the labor movement and social justice since she witnessed the positive impact that labor organizing had on her family. She has worked previously for the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, and she comes to us now from the Broward Teacher’s Union, where she has been serving local members since 2014. Her responsibilities at BTU included contract maintenance, solving issues, representing workers in grievance and administrative investigation proceedings, training stewards, advocacy, and building worksite leadership structure. With over 12 years of union experience, Cami looks forward to bringing her expertise to the United Faculty of Florida and to making a positive contribution to the union’s mission.


Allison Clarke, Labor Relations Specialist (Central/South)

A graduate of Miami-Dade Public Schools, Allison completed her Special Education undergraduate degree at Florida International University. For 16 years, Allison served as a K-12 Special Education teacher, ESE, and ESOL Coordinator. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education Leadership in 2016.Her expertise includes contract negotiations, grievances, training, organizing, member recruitment, due process meetings, and special investigations. While fighting for the rights of individuals with disabilities, she advocated for teacher rights as a building steward and, most recently, as an executive board member for UAW Local 2278. She is well versed in the labor laws and policies in the state of Florida and a master at creating seamless relationships between individuals, educators, administrators, and advocates. She has spent over 25 years working in the education sector, the past eight of which as a Field Staff Representative for the state’s second-largest union, Broward Teachers Union.  


Cristal Cruz, Labor Relations Specialist(Central/South)

A long-term advocate for worker, women, immigrant, and student rights, Cristal Cruz joins UFF after having served FEA K-12 members as a Service Unit Director and Regional Specialist in the Southern Region. As an undergraduate student and Resident Assistant in the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in the early 2000’s, Cristal helped organize the Residents Assistant Union (UAW 2322), the first labor union of undergraduate students in the country. Since then, Cristal has served the hotel workers union, the Florida AFL-CIO, and community organizations in different capacities in the US and Canada. With over 15 years of professional experience, Cristal’s extensive work has included worker and community organizing, political organizing, campaign strategy, corporate research, and bargaining and advocacy. She has most recently served K-12 locals in the Southern Region as a chief negotiator and advocate. A native of Puerto Rico and proud Florida resident, Cristal will be serving UFF as a Service Unit Director focusing on organizing, bargaining and advocacy in the Central and Southern region. When she is not working on building our movement, you can find Cristal reading, hiking, practicing yoga, traveling, or color-coordinating lists.

EDues and 65% Campaign Organizers


Keegan Cox, Organizer

Keegan Cox began organizing in second grade by uniting classmates to save a sea turtle. At the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and Syracuse University, Keegan dove headfirst into various campus and community environmental and social justice campaigns. In September 1998, in solidarity with 800 striking Syracuse University staff, Keegan co-founded the Student Coalition on Organized Labor (SCOOL). After completing a master’s degree in environmental policy & democratic processes, and a short stint at Syracuse Law, Keegan began a formal career in Union organizing. Over a decade as Lead Organizer for SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts, Keegan led eight successful organizing drives of human service workers, and coordinated contingent faculty unionization victories at Bentley, Brandeis and Lesley Universities, as part of SEIU’s Faculty Forward campaign. Nature, books, music, physical activity and cookies are also passions.


Angel Jimenez, Organizer

What do a Latinx working class family, feminism, animal advocacy, and punk culture have in common? For one, they’ve shaped the sense of justice that guides Angel Jimenez’s approach to living. Passionate about decolonizing social structures and interpersonal relations, Angel began labor union organizing with UFF in 2019 as a faculty member at Saint Leo University, where her teaching of academic writing and literature centered texts, pedagogies, and practices by queer, trans, and BIPOC artists. Since then, they have served as a Member-At-Large, a Senator, a member of the Statewide Membership Committee (SMC), Chair of the SMC, and a member of the Steering Committee, roles that offered her numerous opportunities to develop organizing skills. A lifelong resident of Tampa, FL, Angel is deeply committed to participating in building the collective power of higher ed workers locally, nationally, and internationally. Angel’s other passions are the arts, playing guitar, writing, and reading.      


Torrence Johnson, Sr., Organizer

Torrence Johnson, Sr. serves as Co-Founder, Board Secretary and Southern Conference Coordinator of the BMIU Institute For Labor Studies. He is a former Regional Director with The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Florida Council 79, AFL-CIO (AFSCME). Torrence has been in the labor movement since 1990, as the First Local Union President of  the United Steelworkers of America in Jacksonville, Florida. As a native of Jacksonville, Florida, he is a 1984 graduate of William M. Raines, Sr. High. He is also a graduate of Jones College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on Pre-Law in 2011. Torrence has also been awarded a Two-year Certificate of Completion in Paralegal Studies from the University of North Florida Legal Studies Institute in 1996. Torrence has represented employees and unions before The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Board (W&H); The Occupational, Safety, and Health Administration (OSHA); The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) to name a few. On the State level, Torrence has represented employees and Unions before The Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC); The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR); the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission (RAAC) and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and other unlisted agencies. In his spare time, Torrence is an active member of Phi Theta Pi (ΦΘΠ) Greek Fraternity and several Mason affiliate organizations through his passion of serving his local community.


Amina Kamau, Organizer

Amina Kamau, a seasoned advocate for democracy, emerged from the frontlines of political campaigns, realizing that advocacy is not just a profession but a profound calling. Her journey began with a passion for civic engagement, registering over 20,000 voters in Florida in her 11 years in the field. Amina’s campaign experience extends from local to national campaigns, embodying a forward-thinking, adaptable, and creative spirit. Having a deep investment in community, she cultivates mutual respect, employing a structured and tender approach to base building. Amina’s campaigns are a dynamic blend of marathon endurance and sprint agility, maintaining sustained enthusiasm for herself and her team throughout. Beyond organizing, she has been a ballerina for 15 years, substitute teaches Tai Chi classes, and is an amateur mermaid, gamer, and songstress.


Eric Lindemier, Organizer

Eric Lindemier has over 30 years of successful experience in union organizing, contract negotiations, contract enforcement and health care administration. Eric began his commitment to service by earning his BS in Public Administration from Michigan State University.  Serving the members of the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO, SEIU Healthcare Michigan, American Federation of Teachers – Michigan, and the Teamsters.  Eric has run for local school board and for Waterford, Treasurer.  Eric served on the Oakland Community Health Network ($400 Million annual budget) as the Chair of the Operations Committee (finance committee).  Eric holds a BS in Public Administration from Michigan State University.  In his free time Eric is an avid runner.


Will Vargas, Organizer

Will Vargas, brings 21 years of professional experience organizing in both the public and private sectors. He started his long commitment to social justice soon after graduating from Florida International University in Miami when he became an organizer with the Federation of Public and Private Employees in Ft. Lauderdale representing Broward County Workers. After 10 years in south Florida he moved to north Florida to organize public school teachers with the Florida Education Association. He then moved out west to Seattle where he spent the last 7 years working with SEIU1199NW organizing healthcare workers, fighting for better working conditions, leading strike teams and fighting for racial justice in area hospitals. When he’s not organizing, Will enjoys hiking, reading science fiction and cozying up with a horror movie.

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