Jeff Freitas and Luukia Smith elected to lead CFT at annual Convention
History made with leadership election: Freitas and Smith are the first out LGBTQ members to lead CFT and Smith is the first classified member elected to a top CFT leadership position

News Release

For immediate release

Contact: Matthew Hardy (510-703-5291)

Educators and classified professionals from throughout California gathered for the 2019 CFT Convention this past weekend at the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The Convention marked the 100th anniversary of the CFT, which was founded by eight local teachers’ unions in Vallejo in 1919.

At the Convention, CFT delegates elected statewide officers for a new two-year term, set to begin on May 24, 2019. CFT’s current Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas was elected as CFT’s next President, and CFT’s current Council of Classified Employees President Luukia Smith was elected CFT’s new Secretary Treasurer.

Both Freitas and Smith are proud members of the LGBTQ community, who have worked for years to help build the CFT.

Jeff Freitas, who is a former math teacher and local union leader from the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees, Local 2216, has been a member of the CFT family for 25 years. He is eager to continue the union’s work in securing full funding for California’s schools, colleges, and universities, fairness and transparency for all public schools (including charters), and to address the student debt crisis.

“Our top priority must be investing in California’s public education — drawing on the strength of our world-class economy to rescue our state from its current embarrassing place among the lowest in per-pupil spending in all of the United States,” says Freitas “We will continue to fight boldly for increased education funding — not only because California should lead the nation in per-pupil funding, but because it is the right thing to do for the children of this state and the society they will shape.”

Luukia Smith, who becomes the first classified member elected to a top CFT leadership position in the CFT, is a former accounting tech who also served as the President of the El Camino Classified Employees, Local 6142.

“I am honored to earn the support and trust of my fellow members and am proud to become the first classified professional elected to a top leadership position in the CFT,” says Smith. “Classified professionals are the backbone of our schools and colleges, and I will work hard to ensure that all CFT members receive the respect, pay, and voice at work they deserve.”

About CFT’s newly elected officers:

Jeff Freitas is a secondary math teacher who has served as CFT Secretary Treasurer for the past eight years. Previously, he advocated on behalf of members for more than a decade as president of the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees, AFT Local 2216, as a field representative, and lobbyist for the CFT. Freitas also sits on the Board of Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Luukia Smith has served as president of the Council of Classified Employees, the CFT division of support staff and paraprofessionals, for the past two years. Smith led the El Camino Classified Employees, AFT Local 6142, representing staff at El Camino College in Torrance for 16 years, where she has worked for 34 years.

CFT: A union of educators and classified professionals, represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at