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After 37 years in the union, the current President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is stepping down.
PFT President Jerry Jordan shared the news via email to his members Tuesday evening. Jordan announced that he would not seek re-election and would instead retire on June 30 after completing his current term.
In the message, Jordan reflected on his journey within the organization, “From my career as an educator to my time as a building rep, to a PFT staffer, and ultimately as president of this great union.”
The Philadelphia native was the first African American president of the organization. Jordan, who was educated in Philadelphia public schools, shared the impact he hopes to leave.
“I have worked every day to strengthen our union, to fight for the future of public education and of our democracy, to take on fights big and small, and to never stop believing in both the power of the individual and of the collective in making the world a better place.”
Jordan comes from a long line of family educators, including his grandparents and other relatives who taught in Philly.
Jordan received his degree in Education and Spanish from Temple University and began teaching high school Spanish and English as a Second Language in the Philadelphia school district.
Jordan joined the union in 1987 as a district staff representative, representing teachers and support staff in 50 schools and school district offices. He was elected head of the union in 2007, and ultimately rose to PFT presidency in 2008.
In the email, Jordan assured the union’s 13,000 members that he plans to keep working for its members until the newly elected union president, Arthur Steinberg, takes over on July 1.
“The next several months will be busy ones for this union, and I remain fully committed to the work. Our team has been hard at work preparing contract proposals, and I have been reviewing every submission with care.”
Jordan addressed questions about whether his departure will negatively affect talks as the union negotiates its contract this year. He explained that he hasn’t overlooked such considerations, telling members, “As we prepare to enter negotiations, I want you to rest assured that I take the work in the months ahead seriously, and of course, will keep you informed and engaged as we move forward.”
Steinberg was the only candidate who declared himself and is currently the president of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania.
As he concluded his message to members, Jordan repeated his famous slogan, “The struggle continues.”