Learn about Our Officer Candidates

Stylized group shot of the four candidates

Jesse Sharkey: CTU President and CORE Candidate

We have faced monumental challenges in the last few years. An anti-union mayor was elected in 2011; an anti-union governor was elected in 2014; an anti-union president was elected in 2016; and a Supreme Court decision robbed us of basic union rights in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union – led by CORE has fought back. CORE members and the CTU have gone on four strikes since 2012, more than all the other Chicago public sector strikes combined. As your CTU president and leader in CORE, I helped shepherd the efforts to change our Constitution to merge with our sisters and brothers in union charter schools and helped move the CTU headquarters out of the dreadful Merchandise Mart into our incredible headquarters today.

My vision, as your president, is for a militant, class struggle union – a social movement union that fights to build power in every sphere: in the contract, in our buildings, in the legal realm, in elected office, in public, and most of all, in the hearts and minds of our members. I think that the CTU must take a clear, unequivocal stand for a multi-racial, women-led union, and against racism and segregationist schooling practices.

Stacy Davis Gates: CTU VP & CORE Candidate

CORE members made the CTU a Political Force. We forced the mayor of Chicago into a runoff in 2015 – the first time ever – with a last-minute candidate. We elected our own Sue Garza, Brandon Johnson and Aaron Ortiz, all CTU members to all levels of state, city and county.

My leadership is grounded in advocating for the needs of our members and the school communities in which we serve. Our issues and battles are complex and manifold. Many times it is difficult for us to communicate that complexity in a manner that does not intimidate or discourage our membership. It is the duty of leadership to offer a theory of the case, connect the issues that our members are experiencing to the broader and larger issues impacting the balance of our city. We are on the verge of getting our bargaining rights restored and winning democracy for the Chicago Public Schools. The only reason we are in a position to finally bring democracy to our school district is because of our ability to connect the confusion and disjointedness of our workplaces to the larger issues of racism, school governance and the lack of democracy.

I am Black. I am female. I am a wife and mother. Our union’s principles help me to navigate in a very hostile world. I have made a decision to center my advocacy in a space – the CTU – that gives platform and support for those who struggle for a different type of world. Anything public in our society is under attack because the public sector has helped people like me achieve some modicum of parity and a chance to fight for more. Our organizing and fight back has transformed the debate regarding public education. We have educated the city about TIFs and various other scams the mayor uses to enrich himself and his cronies. The $1.3 billion luxury real-estate project known as Lincoln Yards could fund our entire contract. Keep on Pushing CTU, Vote the CORE ticket!

Maria Moreno, CTU Financial Secretary & CORE Candidate.

CORE members recruited more than 1,000 new members into the CTU by merging our union with the union for charter schools. I also led the effort to re-card over 23,000 of our members after the Supreme Court’s anti-union Janus decision. It was amazing to witness how CTU staff came together to accomplish this to victory. I say victory because less than 50 members have dropped their membership since. Hundreds of school visits by officers, organizers and field representatives were set in motion, while 21,000 cards were processed by our clerical staff. It was also a major accomplishment for our delegates and members who have a heavy workload to find the time to ask each educational worker in our bargaining unit to re-card.

CORE members are at the forefront of every fight for quality, equitable education for the children of Chicago. We understand the historical forces we are up against. And we are ready for the fight. We are currently leading an effort to expose the inequities of CPS’ so-called Student-Based Budgeting, and will be leading the campaign for a new contract. The current contract ends this June and another strike may be coming. Help us prepare: elect the best people for the job, re-elect CORE!


Christel Williams-Hayes, CORE Candidate for Recording Secretary.

I’m extraordinarily proud to run for this critical office in our union. If elected I would be the first PSRP, who is a Woman of Color, ever to hold an officer position in the history of the CTU.

I have seen the disparities of this system as a graduate of Chicago Public Schools, in my 26 years of employment and mother of three  CPS graduates. I have seen our members respond to and represent in their buildings through PPCs, at the HODs, etc.

Eight years ago we organized and prepared our members to become strike leaders and maintain other roles during the strike of 2012. There was a three-day march that included our members, parents, student, churches and community organizations that came from all over this city concluding in the downtown area with over 10,000 people. This had never been done before, but will forever be a reminder of what we are capable of as a caucus! We didn’t just strike, but would later go down in the history of the Chicago Teachers Union, City of Chicago and United States of America as a group of workers that are not afraid.

We have fought for equality for all and created a demand for the schools our students deserve. I’ve seen our efforts transform our political power and ability to transform the city. For example: when the mayor planned to close over a 100 school, we organized members, parent, students and community to give them push back and closed that margin to 50, which was less than half of what they proposed and exposed the deceitfulness of former CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett. We have more members taking on lead roles in buildings as delegates, PPC and PPLC members, LSC representatives, creating organizations and building relationships with community organizations. I will continue that effort. Please come out to support our movement!

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