Leadership Changes at Providence Teachers Union

Feb 10, 2014

Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith is stepping down after about a decade at the helm of the union in the state's largest school district.

Smith tells Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Analyst Scott MacKay he is retiring after more than 30 years in the Providence Public Schools.

In more recent years, Smith has been a supporter of some controversial changes in public education, including competitive interviews for teacher placement and drastic turnaround efforts in several troubled schools. He has said that change is inevitable for teachers, and he prefers to be at the table when the policies are written.

The stance left Smith at odds with some of his members, who were angered by a reduction in the role of seniority in teacher hiring and mass teacher layoffs in the early days of the Taveras administration.

Smith fended off a challenge for the president’s post from Classical High School teacher Anna Kuperman in 2012.

For now, he will be replaced by PTU Vice President Maribeth Calabro, pending an election later this year.