Ohio's Lawrence opens new chapter in education leadership

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Francine Lawrence, former president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, is retiring from her post as AFT executive vice president to chair the board of the Learning First Alliance. Lawrence was saluted during AFT's convention closing session July 14. She was initially elected an AFT national officer in September 2011.

"Fran has been a strong advocate for students, for workers and for public education in her past leadership with OFT and her work on the national level as an AFT officer. The education community will continue to benefit from her expertise in her new role with Learning First Alliance," said OFT President Melissa Cropper.

Lawrence was recently named chair of the Learning First Alliance's board of directors. The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. She is the first person from the AFT to serve as its chair.

Lawrence started her teaching career in Toledo in 1969. A child of the '60s who attended Woodstock and traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest the Vietnam War, she said she's always been an "advocate for a more just society." She saw collective bargaining and empowering members at the work site as a way "to build a genuine profession for teachers and more-effective schools for students."