The executive director of a teachers’ organization resigned suddenly, officials said Tuesday.
Suzanne Harris, who was executive director of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, or A+PEL, quit her post effective Saturday, said Polly Broussard, who is serving as interim leader.
Broussard, who also held the job in 1988-2007, said Harris’ departure was “kind of a surprise.
“She just said because of personal reasons she needed to resign,” Broussard said.
Harris, who held the job for about one year, could not be reached for comment.
A+PEL says it has about 7,000 members.
While the group represents teachers, it rarely works with Louisiana’s two largest teacher unions, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators.
A+PEL says it represents professional educators.
“We are definitely the nonunion group,” Harris said in February.
“We do not do collective bargaining and we really promote the teacher as a professional and look for ways to strengthen the teacher in the classroom,” she said.
The LFT, which claims about 21,000 members, is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.
The LAE, which says it has about 20,000 members, is affiliated with the National Education Association.
Officials of the LAE have declined to say how many of its 20,000 members are teachers.
Officials of A+PEL say 5,200 of its roughly 7,000 members are classroom teachers.
A+PEL is generally considered more supportive of some of the sweeping public schools changes backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, which both teacher unions vehemently opposed.
Holly Boffy, who lives in Youngsville, is a former A+PEL official and was backed by Jindal last year in her successful bid for a seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Broussard was a classroom teacher for about 20 years.
She served on BESE from 2004-07.
Broussard has served as director of legal services for A+PEL, a job which includes answering legal questions from teachers.
She said she does not plan to seek the job of executive director permanently.
“My heart is still here at A+PEL but I think it is time they get some new blood in here,” she said.
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