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About Us

The Chicago Teachers Union is an organization of educators dedicated to advancing and promoting quality public education, improving teaching and learning conditions, and protecting members’ rights.

Our History

For more than 75 years the Chicago Teachers Union has fought for the schools Chicago’s students deserve. The CTU represents more than 25,000 teachers, paraprofessional and school-related personnel, and school clinicians working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve.

Our Mission

We, teachers, and other educational personnel in the Chicago Public Schools, being members of the Chicago Teachers Union, do hereby declare this Union to have the following purposes:


to protect and improve the services of the public schools as a social agency for developing the capacities of the young and promoting adult education;


to promote and guarantee efficient and faithful service from us to the public and to insure to us in return for that service a fair reward and a just security;


in accordance with the Agreement between the Board of Education of the City of Chicago and Chicago Teachers Union, to assert, secure, and protect the inherent and fundamental equity in our jobs;


as the sole collective bargaining agent for members of the bargaining unit, to establish and maintain orderly and practicable democratic processes in the management of the Chicago public schools, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement;


to maintain a relationship of mutual assistance and cooperation with organized labor;


to unify the educators of traditional public schools and public charter schools in the City of Chicago, together with other Chicago-area educators that may join with this Union.


to promote racial, economic and social justice in order to achieve educational justice and build community and labor coalitions to achieve that objective. 


Jesse Sharkey

Jesse Sharkey


Jesse Sharkey was elected president of the 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union on May 19, 2019, succeeding retired President Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT. 

A member of the CTU since 1998, Jesse has been a champion of workers’ rights throughout his career, believing that the Union’s true power comes from the strength of its rank-and-file and their willingness to fight for the betterment of Chicago’s public school students, families and communities.

Sharkey is a native of Maine, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and later a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University in 1996. He moved to Chicago and joined the Chicago Teachers Union in 1998. Sharkey taught social studies in Chicago Public Schools for 12 years at Senn High School and Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where he also coached chess, served as union delegate and worked with community and activist groups such as the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

In 2004, Sharkey played a leading role in the Save Senn campaign that mobilized hundreds of parents to oppose the takeover of the school by a military academy, an experience that taught him the value of defending traditional public schools against privatization. 

Jesse was elected vice president of the CTU in 2010, where he served until 2018, and during which time he played a key leadership role in two rounds of contract negotiations, the merger between the Union and the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, and the Union’s historic 2012 strike. He was on the front lines of fights against school closings in 2013 and the ongoing campaign for revenue for the school’s Chicago’s students deserve. Since then, has led the union in securing legislation for an elected school board, restoration of bargaining rights and the removal of Academy of Urban School Leadership schools from the district.

In 2019, Sharkey led the union during a historic strike for smaller class sizes, unhoused student supports, and a nurse and social worker in every school, and two years later, in securing a historic agreement to safely reopen Chicago’s public schools in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sharkey represents the CTU on the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Executive Council, and sits on the AFT Executive Board. He currently lives with his wife and youngest son in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.

Stacy Davis Gates

Stacy Davis Gates

Vice President

Stacy Davis Gates is the Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Executive Vice President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Prior to her current role at the CTU, she served as the union’s Political and Legislative Director. In the fall of 2019, she helped to lead a 15-day strike and to negotiate an historic contract that provides for smaller class sizes, ensures a nurse and social worker in every Chicago public school, secures sanctuary protections for immigrant families, and supports students and families experiencing homelessness.

While at the CTU, Ms. Davis Gates has been the architect of bold political and legislative campaigns for the schools and city that all Chicagoans deserve. She has raised millions of dollars to elect classroom teachers to all levels of local government and to challenge school privatizers and union-busters. Ms. Davis Gates has also spearheaded statewide legislative campaigns to pass the strongest charter school accountability measures in the country, push for the restoration of the bargaining rights of Chicago Public Schools employees, and fully fund public education by ending tax loopholes for the 1%.

In 2017, Ms. Davis Gates was elected Chair of United Working Families, an independent political organization by and for working-class people and our movements. She also serves as a board member for the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE), a nexus for organizations working at the intersection of the struggle for racial justice and Wall Street accountability.

Ms. Davis Gates is currently on leave from the classroom, where she taught high school social studies for over a decade at Englewood, Clemente, and Mason Community Links High Schools. She attended Saint Mary’s College, the University of Notre Dame, and Concordia University. Ms. Davis Gates lives on the South Side of Chicago with her husband and three children.

Christel Williams-Hayes

Christel Williams-Hayes

Recording Secretary

Christel Williams-Hayes is a 25-year veteran of Chicago Public Schools, serving as a PSRP delegate, district supervisor, functional vice president and American Federation of Teachers-Illinois Federation of Teachers (AFT-IFT) convention delegate in that time. Christel was a Chicago Teachers Union organizer during the 2012 strike, as well as the three-day march in 2013 and CTU Summer Organizing Institute prior to becoming a Union field representative in 2017. She is an IFT executive board vice president, member of the IFT Scholarship Committee and has served as co-chair of the IFT PSRP Constituency Committee and organizer of its bi-annual PSRP Constituency Conference. At the national level, Christel has worked on the PSRP Professional Problems Committee for the American Federation of Teachers and was a member of its Summer Organizing Institute in Houston, Texas.

A native of Chicago’s West Side, Christel was raised by a single mother who retired as a school clerk. She graduated from John Marshall High School and proudly serves on the school’s alumni committee. Christel, her husband and her three daughters are all graduates of CPS, with her middle daughter starring for a Marshall Lady Commandos state championship team under legendary coach Dorothy Gaters.

Maria T. Moreno

Maria T. Moreno

Financial Secretary

Maria T. Moreno worked in CPS as a bilingual education teacher and as a speech-language pathologist prior to her election as CTU financial secretary in May 2016. As an elementary bilingual education teacher, she served as a delegate, district supervisor and strike coordinator. As a district supervisor for Midway Network 1, she worked with the CTU’s organizing department, parents, teachers and community members in the fight to oppose the turnaround of Marquette Elementary School and against abusive and counterproductive network administrators. As a speech-language pathologist, she served as an executive board elementary functional vice president and Big Bargaining Team member. As a rank-and-file member, she was active in the charter outreach committee, clinicians’ steering committee and the CTU Latino Caucus’ policy committee.

Executive Board

The Executive Board of the Chicago Teachers Union is comprised of the elected officers, committee chairs, appointed members and union staff. The “E Board” directs the work of the officers, sets the agenda for the House of Delegates, and makes decisions in emergencies.