Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association (SMMCTA) president Harry Keiley has announced that he is running for a seat on the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CALSTRS) board.

The retirement system board oversees the management of more than $165 billion, making it the second-largest pension fund in America.

In addition, the board appoints the chief executive officer (CEO) and sets policies, which impact the investment decisions of the pension fund.

“As president of the SMMCTA, I’ve worked hard to protect the economic security of our area’s teachers these last seven years,” says Keiley. “Joining the CALSTRS board is really a natural extension of that work.”

Keiley says that if elected he plans to focus primarily on protecting the defined pensions of teachers.

“There’s nothing more important to the economic security of California teachers and their families than the defined benefit plan,” he said. “California teachers and administrators have dedicated their careers to educating children and serving our communities. Preserving their pensions is a moral imperative.”

Of the retirement system’s 12 board members, six are appointed by the governor, three are statewide officers (state treasurer, state controller and state superintendent of public instruction) and three deemed “at-large members.”

The more than 800,000 members in the retirement system elect the three at-large members.

In addition to serving seven years as president of the local teachers union, Keiley has spent two years as the chairman of the California Teacher Association (CTA) Political Involvement Committee and has been a local delegate to the state association for the past nine years.

Keiley has been endorsed by the California Teachers Association for the board position.

“It’s a great honor to have earned the endorsement of the California Teachers Association,” Keiley said. “I’m thrilled to have earned the support and respect of CTA members and the leadership of CTA.”

Keiley says he plans to remain in his post as president of the local union whether or not he is elected to the retirement board.

“CALSTRS is really at the center of our educational community,” Keiley said. “Protecting the defined pensions of teachers and working to preserve the economic security of retirees is a major responsibility. Ultimately it’s about service. The CALSTRS board is really a place where I think I can do a lot of good for others.”