Cleveland Teachers Union elects new president
(Plain Press, April 2020) Cleveland Teachers Union members elected Shari Obrenski as their new president on March 13, 2020. Seventeen other officers won seats on the 24-member Executive Board in the week-long biennial election.
President Obrenski is only the second woman to hold the position of president in the Cleveland Teachers Union’s 86-year history. (Editor’s Note: Joanne DeMarco, who retired in 2008, was the first.) Obrenski succeeds President David Quolke, who will be retiring from teaching in June. He served as President from 2008-2020.
“It will be my honor to lead the Cleveland Teachers Union as we work to improve the lives of our members, our students and their families, our school communities, and working people in Cleveland and Ohio,” said Ms. Obrenski. “I am looking forward to the challenges.”
Obrenski is a 22-year Social Studies teacher in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, most recently teaching senior high American History and U.S. Government at Jane Addams Business Careers Center.
As Director of Negotiations, she was the leader of the CTU Negotiating Team that negotiated the last two Collective Bargaining Agreements in 2016 and 2019 for the 5,000-member union, representing teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and related-service providers.
The recent contracts increased members’ wages, maintained health care benefits, eased teacher evaluation and excessive student testing concerns, and improved working conditions for educators and learning conditions for students.
“Our members’ solidarity forms a clear, strong voice for Cleveland’s children,” Obrenski added. “As a union, we are intent on ensuring learning conditions in CMSD schools that will help our students succeed, and on being an integral part of healthy, vibrant communities in which to live, learn, and grow in the city of Cleveland.”
Obrenski is an Ohio native, raised in Jefferson in Ashtabula County. She has always attended public schools and graduated from Miami University and Cleveland State University. She and her husband have two adult children.