Brendan Muckian-Bates

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Brendan Muckian-Bates, Director of Organizing: Brendan has a Master of Arts in Secondary Education, a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies, a Master of Arts in History, a Bachelor of Arts in History, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies.

For seven years prior to joining OVEC, he was an educator, and had taught classes at WVU, high schools, and a middle school in Wheeling.

While Brendan was a college instructor at WVU, he taught a variety of gender studies courses and supervised some of the undergraduate teaching assistants. Brendan says:

Those years helped shape my vision for what kind of teacher I wanted to be. In the classes I taught to middle and high school students, the human relationship between content and action was always stressed. What good is it to know something without knowing how to relate it to the world? I wanted my students to be scholar activists—knowing the content, but knowing why it matters and how to use it for the better.

In 2018, I showed my students what being an activist looked like. I helped organize my building for the statewide walkouts and, soon thereafter, West Virginia made history for the education workers’ strikes that began after local activists compelled the state leadership of the West Virginia branches of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association to hold a strike vote. I spoke at numerous conferences after that, discussing what we learned here and how to combine labor with activism. I helped form the rank-and-file caucus, WV United, the first of its kind in the state, in the WVEA and AFT-WV. Our caucus helped educate members about the threat of charter schools, leading to the two-day walkout in 2019.

All of this is to say that my organizing background is rooted in social justice activism. Fighting for the common good is what I’ve done best for the better part of a decade, and at OVEC, I hope to continue that fight.