A progressive young teacher who played a high-profile role in February’s teacher strike will be the new leader of the growing Denver teachers union.
In a redo of a spring vote that was too close to call, Tiffany Choi comfortably defeated Henry Roman, 54.2% to 45.8%. Roman had been president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association for 10 years. Choi is a French teacher at East High School.
Choi begins her term as president on Tuesday. The union president is released full time from teaching.
The vote tally was 1,510 votes for Choi and 1,274 votes for Roman, according to a union email sent to members and obtained by Chalkbeat. The 236-vote spread is much wider than the first time union members voted in April, when just 11 votes separated Choi and Roman.
The union decided to redo April’s election in September. Newly elected union Vice President Rob Gould served as acting president in the interim.
In an April interview with Chalkbeat, Choi said her vision for the union would be to build a grassroots coalition of teachers, parents, and community members to push back against reform policies that she said have been harmful for the district, such as closing struggling schools. Choi was a teacher at Montbello High School when the district phased out that school in favor of three new ones it thought could do better.
Among the union’s priorities this fall will be helping elect its endorsed candidates to the Denver school board. Historically, union-backed candidates have lost more often than not to candidates backed by education reform organizations and wealthy donors.
Union officials are hoping momentum from February’s strike, which had widespread community support, will give union-backed candidates an advantage this year.