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Current Leadership

CalRTA’s State Board of Directors includes five officers and directors from each of the 12 areas. All members are volunteers elected by the CalRTA membership. CalRTA leaders generally begin with volunteer positions at the division level.

Bill Kipp


Prior to being elected state President, Bill Kipp served as Area II Director, Chair of the State Communications Committee and President of Division 16. He also represented CalRTA at the National Educator Support Network Conference and the NRTA Leadership Conference. Prior to retiring in 1995, Bill served as a teacher at the elementary, junior high and high school levels, and worked as a principal, personnel director, assistant superintendent of instruction and superintendent. He was named Superintendent of the Year by ACSA in 1994. Bill and his wife of 54 years, Dene, have four children and three grandchildren. In addition to CalRTA, Bill’s volunteer efforts include serving as the AARP Regional Volunteer Leader for Northern California, and as a HICAP and long-term care counselor. Bill’s goals for CalRTA include “strengthening the partnerships with NRTA, AARP, ACSA and other educator special interest groups and improving the communication and involvement in CalRTA.”

Ken Hewitt

President Elect

Prior to being elected as CalRTA’s President Elect, Ken Hewitt served as chair of the State Legislative Committee, helped launch the Leadership Development Program and helped lead the CalRTA Advocacy Days. He is a member of the Speakers Bureau and has served as State Treasurer and treasurer for his local division. Ken retired in 1998 from the Ukiah USD. He taught mathematics at the 8th grade, high school and junior college levels. He also served as pastor of the Redwood Valley Community Church. He is married to his lovely wife Beryl and currently lives in Northern California. Ken’s personal goal for CalRTA is that the organization be the leading advocate for retired educators in the state and that every division have a solid group of leaders eager to help the organization move forward.

Peter Paolino

State Treasurer

Peter Paolino held numerous CalRTA volunteer positions prior to being elected State Treasurer including co-director of Area I, division co-president, treasurer and scholarship foundation chair, and a member of the State Nominations and Elections Committee. Prior to retiring in 2001 Peter taught business, Spanish, English, and worked 37 years as a high school counselor. He is a native Californian and has 41 cousins! Peter’s personal goal for CalRTA is for the organization to become a larger, more influential organization on behalf of retired educators.

 Jessie Perry

Jesse Perry

State Secretary

Jesse Perry retired in 1991 after teaching high school English and serving as a District Administrator. He was also president of the National Council of Teachers of English. His volunteer duties for CalRTA have included serving as Division Publicity Chair and Division President. He is married and three wonderful children!  Jesse’s goal for CalRTA is to contribute his skills as State Secretary to the best of his ability for the effective working of the Board.

Joe Dion

Past President

Joe Dion is finishing his years on the CalRTA Executive Committee having served as President Elect and President.  He’s also served as Area III Director, Chair of the State Insurance Committee and as Division 75 President and Treasurer. Prior to retiring in 1993, Joe worked as a teacher and middle school principal for the San Juan Unified School District. He was also President of the ACSA San Juan Administrators Association and President of ACSA Region III. Currently he serves as a member of the Citrus Heights Water District Board of Directors and the Regional Water Authority Board of Directors. Joe has four sons, one daughter and 10 grandchildren. His personal goal for CalRTA is to “seek ways and means to continue to move CalRTA into the 21st century to meet the needs of all its members.”

Betty Silva

Area I Director

Betty Silva’s professional career includes working as a government research librarian/reference librarian for Fresno County Library, a library media teacher for 31 years (20 of which were at Fairfield High School) and an independent training contractor with Follett Software Company. She retired in 2004. She and husband Ray have one dog, a blue merle Australian Shepherd named Pepper. Betty’s favorite quote is “I choose what kind of a day I will have.” Her personal goal for CalRTA is to make CalRTA an active, viable, first choice of organizations that retiring teachers will want to join!

Bob Sharp

Area II Director

Bob retired in 2001 from the Campbell School District where he taught for 32 years. He’s in his second term as Area II Director and is a Past President of Division 51. Bob and his wife Carol are blessed with seven children and 18 wonderful grandchildren. In his spare time Bob likes to play in the small band he started in 1957. In fact, he’s kept the same group going for over 50 years!









Chuck Denonn

Area III Co-Director

In June 2011, Chuck Denonn completed a 20-year career as a teacher in the Grant and Twin Rivers Unified School District. Raised in New York, he first came to Sacramento in 1968 as a Second Lieutenant to work at McClellan Air Force Base. He finished his military career at Beale AFB and retired to Roseville. In 1989 he began a new career as a teacher. For nearly two decades Chuck has been a local, state and national leader in the fight for teacher rights. He belongs to many civic and community organizations including the American Legion, Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, the American Mensa Society, and the Sacramento Area Math Educators Association. In addition to serving as Area III Co-Director, Chuck also serves as President of Division 67.


Marcie Launey

Area III Co-Director

Marcie’s professional career includes 36 years in the Sacramento City Unified School District (16 years as elementary special education teacher and 20 years as school psychologist), as well as being an Adjunct instructor at CSU Sacramento, and President, Sacramento City Teachers Association. She retired in 2008. Marcie is a native of Sacramento where she lives with her husband. Their three children and give grandsons live nearby. She says that during her professional career she was dedicated to supporting teachers and the teaching profession. CalRTA provides the opportunity to continue those efforts in retirement.



Pat Seaman

Area IV Director

Prior to being elected Area IV Director, Pat Seaman served as Area IV Co-chair of Membership and Division 52 President, Membership Chair and Directory Editor. She has also been very active with the Social Security Fairness group and represented them in Washington, DC. Before retirement, she taught art, special education and computers. Most of her experience was at the high school level with the Contra Costa County Office of Education. She was Outstanding Business Teacher in California and Teacher of the Year for Contra Costa County. Since retirement she has taught at Brandman Division of Chapman University. Pat and her husband, Rod, care for his mother who is over 100. Pat also serves on the boards for the American Sewing Guild and the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society. Pat is especially looking forward to using technology to increase CalRTA membership.

Richard Benitez

Area V Director

Richard Benitez first taught in the Pomona Unified School District in grades 7-9. Through the years he worked in South Whittier, Coachella Valley, and Paso Robles. He joined CalRTA and became Co-President and then President of Division 86. Richard has held leadership positions with the Children’s Services Network of San Luis Obispo County, Kiwanis Club, the Food Bank of San Luis Obispo County, and he was the founder of a scholarship program for Latino students.  Richard and his late wife raised 5 wonderful children, always stressing the importance of education.

Carol Luhring

Area VI Director

Prior to her current position as Area VI Director, Carol Luhring served as Division 34 Treasurer and on several Division committees including Scholarship, Games Day and Newsletter. Before she retired in 1997, Carol taught for 25 years, plus 10 years as vice principal, for the Merced River School District. She has three children and six wonderful grandchildren. Carol’s favorite quote is “Don’t run faster than your guardian angel can fly.” As for personal goals for CalRTA, Carol says “We all appreciate the need for increased membership but my personal goal for the next year is to find ways to increase participation in Area VI’s division meetings and activities.”





Belinda Lister

Area VII Co-Director

Prior to retiring in 2002, Belinda Lister’s professional career included elementary teacher, curriculum coordinator, mentor, and Los Angeles County Office Program Coordinator for TEAMS Distance Learning. She served as Division 11′s treasurer and the Government Relations Committee Representative from Are VII before she was elected to the State Board of Directors. Belinda has been married to her husband Don for more than 50 years and enjoys spending family time with their son, daughter and three grandsons. Her personal goal for CalRTA is to increase communication between Divisions and Areas.


Wendy Wengrow

Area VII Co-Director

Wendy Wengrow began her teaching career in LAUSD and taught 1st to 5th grades for 37 years. During her last five years with LAUSD she was the Categorical Program Advisor at Denker Avenue School in Gardena.  Wendy served as a District Mentor teacher in the 80s and earned her administrative credential in the early 90s. She is proud of her three children who have all earned professional degrees.  Wendy also has  four grandchildren who live in Torrance. She is a member of the San Pedro Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma and was elected founding president of her synagogue, Temple Emet. She is currently serving as a Library Commissioner for the City of Torrance. One reason Wendy is active in CalRTA is that she believes active and retired teachers have a lot to offer our community and State.

Barbara Gera

Area VIII Director

Barabara Gera currently serves as Area VIII Director. Before joining the State Board of Directors she served as Vice President of Programs for Division 71. Barbara retired in 2003 from the El Monte City School District where she taught grades K to 5th including working as a Miller-Unruh Reading Specialist, a Title 1 Teacher, Assistant Principal and Director of Instructional Services. Barbara and her husband John like to line dance and even teach it periodically. Her personal goal for CalRTA is “to fully implement the ‘Membership Marketing Initiative’ and then help accomplish all the other goals.”


Ron Breyer

Area IX Director

In addition to serving as Area IX Director, Ron Breyer is also President of Division 33. Prior to retiring in 2005, Ron taught high school Social Studies, coached football and track, and served as Student Council advisor. He and wife of more than 30 years, Sue, have four accomplished children (policeman, fireman, teacher and prospective lawyer). Ron shares the story that his father trucked oranges out of orange groves and told him to go to college so that he wouldn’t have to work as hard. Ron was the only one to graduate from college in his family. His personal goal for CalRTA is to correct the inequities in educators’ pensions because of the unfairness of the WEP/GPO laws; educate legislators about our issues; and help current educators.

Judy Smith

Area X Director

Prior to being elected as Director for Area X Judy Smith volunteered many hours for her local Division 42 serving as President and Legislative Chair and serving as Area X Legislative Chair. Her teaching career spanned 38 years in three states including West Virginia, Maryland and California. She retired in 2000. When not donating her time to CalRTA Judy loves to garden and sing in a local chorale group.  Judy’s personal goal for CalRTA is to include members’ feelings when making decisions at the state level; to increase membership; and to continue to make CalRTA known to legislators on both the state and federal level.

Kathy O’Leary

Area XI Director

Kathy O’Leary is serving a partial term as Area XI Director. Prior to this position, Kathy has been very active in Division 45 serving as Secretary, Program Chair, President Elect and President. Prior to retiring in 2003 she taught elementary school in Oceanside including 11 years in Special Education. Kathy has been active in Delta Kappa Gamma since 1984 and has served on the State Executive Committee for six years. Her favorite quotes are from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; in fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” And Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Her personal goal for CalRTA is to maintain the energy Barbara Bethel built within Area XI and to work with Divisions to help CalRTA grow and prosper.

Tom Collette

Area XII Director

Tom Collette has been very involved in CalRTA prior to his term as Area XII Director. He held many positions within Division 22 including Secretary, Membership Chair, Program Chair, Vice President and President. He’s also served as Membership Chair for Area XII. Prior to retiring in 1994, Tom taught elementary grades including one year at a private school in England. He also worked as a teaching principal for one year. Tom has traveled extensively during his lifetime, visiting over 80 countries. His favorite quote is “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” His personal goal for CalRTA is “to continue to bring in new members to CalRTA and to tell retired educators the important reasons to join.”