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On Friday, May 20, rank-and-file members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted to re-elect the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) leadership slate, led by CTU President Stacy Davis Gates, Vice President Jackson Potter, Financial Secretary Maria Moreno and Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes, to a three-year term ending, June 30, 2025. CORE was re-elected with 56% of the vote, followed by the Members First slate with 27% and the Respect Educate Advocate Lead slate with 17%. CORE was first elected to Union leadership in 2010 with Karen Lewis as president and myself as vice president, followed by re-elections in 2013 and 2019, and an uncontested election in 2016.

I will formally step down from my position as CTU president on July 1, 2022, when newly elected Union leadership formally takes office.

As required by the CTU Constitution and the rules and procedures for this election approved by the House of Delegates, the results of this vote will be published on the CTU website within five calendar days following the certification of the results by the CTU Canvassing Committee. That information will include the number of votes cast for each officer candidate in each school or polling place, and by job classification for members voting by mail ballot. The CTU website will also publish a list of schools that have not returned all election materials, preventing the certification of their results.

As I prepare to leave CTU leadership after more than a decade in office, I look back in awe at what our unity and solidarity has achieved — a transformation of our union and the narrative around public education. In 2012, when we struck for the first time in a generation, the courage and organizing work of CTU members won a new contract at CPS, but also had profound ripple effects in neighborhoods, schools and labor unions in Chicago and across the country.

Our progress includes an historic series of legislative wins in recent years. We aggressively supported passage of the state’s 2017 equity-based funding formula, which is returning hundreds of millions of additional dollars to our schools each year. We led a contract campaign in 2019 that resulted in wage increases for PSRPs, more funding for athletics, staffing increases of nurses, social workers and case managers, and more.

We’ve shown that we could forge new relationships with parents and communities; that, to win, unions must be part of larger movements for social, economic and racial justice; and that, after decades on the defense, we could demand more for the schools our students deserve.

In 2021, we regained our bargaining rights from the state legislature, and worked in coalition to at last give Chicagoans the same right that residents in every other Illinois school district possess: the right to an elected representative school board to govern Chicago Public Schools. None of these were easy victories, but your sacrifice and willingness to take action made them possible.

I know the past three years have been extremely challenging, as we have withstood an 11-day strike, an ongoing global pandemic, and two brutal school reopening campaigns to protect your safety and that of your school communities. My fellow officers and I have heard from educators at meetings, in emails and online who have shared their hardship and heartbreak. Morale for teachers and other educators across the country has fallen, and many of you have personally struggled during these difficult times. I know I have. Yet each and every day, the rank-and-file members of this union have stepped up for students and families.

This particular election saw competing visions from three slates vying for leadership of our union. At times these debates could be contentious, but now, as with past elections, our members democratically decided the future of our organization. And now — perhaps more than at any point in the past 12 years that I have served in leadership — it is time for us to come together for healing, and the solidarity that anchors our strength.

That solidarity, and your willingness to make real sacrifices for your students and your colleagues, has won us real gains at the bargaining table, in the legislature, and in the goodwill and support of the people who love and entrust us with their children. Unity, and our commitment to the greater good will carry us forward, together.

I am grateful to you all for everything you do for our union and our school communities.