PORTLAND — The Portland Education Association, which represents more than 800 teachers and other school employees, is backing Nicholas Mavodones as its top choice for mayor.

The PEA regards Mavodones as “a friend of education,” Kathleen Casasa, president of the PEA, said in a statement this afternoon.

The group also backed former state Sen. Michael Brennan as its second choice in the ranked-choice election, Deering High School teacher Markos Miller as its third choice and Ethan Strimling, who’s on leave as head of LearningWorks, as its fourth choice.

The PEA cited Mavodones’ experience and commitment to education as reasons for giving him the top endorsement in the race. Mavodones is the the current mayor under the system in which the council selects one of its own members to serve as mayor for a year.

In November, voters will elect Portland’s mayor for the first time since 1923.