Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Jesse Sharkey will resign from his role at the helm of the union when his fourth term ends in late June.

“It’s a difficult job, I’m told, and I’ve been doing it a long time. I think it’s time for me to do something different,” Sharkey explained. “I see this as part of the way I approach this education justice movement. Part of that movement isn’t to reach positions of executive power and hold onto them for as long as possible.”

The announcement came during a Zoom press conference on Wednesday morning where Sharkey, Vice President Stacy Davis Gates and a select few CTU officers shared their thoughts on Sharkey’s time as president with a few members of the media. 

Even though the news was shared with reporters this morning, the information was shared under an embargo which meant it couldn’t be shared until after 5:00 p.m. to coincide with this evening’s CTU House of Delegates meeting.

After his CTU tenure officially ends in June, Sharkey said he plans to return to the classroom and continue to be a part of the union as a rank-and-file member. Sharkey served as vice president of the union under Karen Lewis from 2010 to 2014 before she stepped down due to illness. After serving out the term as acting president starting in October 2014, Sharkey was re-elected president in 2019.

While Sharkey and the other CTU members declined to give any predictions as to who might run for president or who they’d want to see take on the role in particular, Sharkey was emphatic in his praise of Gates as a union leader.

“I’m confident in Stacy Davis Gates both as our union’s most effective spokesperson, this union’s best strategist, and as a capable leader who will inspire this union and the city,” Sharkey added. “Part of my stepping down is out of confidence in her leadership ability, and that the CTU will continue to be in good hands.”

Gates listed fine arts education funding, sports funding, and an end to using standardized testing as the single defining metric for students’ educational progress as some of her primary goals for the union moving forward. 

The TRiiBE asked Gates where she sees the role of youth in the movement to create a better school system for themselves and the educators that work with them.

“[Students] have something to say! And they need space and nurturing and affirmation,” Gates said. “All of what we’re trying to do as a union is to impact their lives positively. Doing it without their voice and agency is a bad move.” 

Elections for the CTU president and other elected union leadership are coming up in May. Gates has not officially announced her intention to run for the CTU presidency.

is a staff writer with The TRiiBE. Email him with news tips.
is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE.