United Faculty of Florida Statewide Officers and Staff


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.”

UFF First Vice President

Robert Cassanello, University of Central Florida

Robert Cassanello is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida. He was President of UFF-UCF from 2000-2024. He is the Co-Editor of Florida’s Working Class Past: Current Perspectives on Labor, Race, and Gender from Spanish Florida to the New Immigration (2009) and the author of To Render Invisible Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville (2013).


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”


Cami Acceus (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 (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 (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.

Will Vargas (North/Central)

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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