Teresa Meredith, an elementary teacher from Shelbyville, has been elected president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, replacing long-time leader Nate Schnellenberger.
Meredith, the ISTA’s vice president, will begin a three-year term beginning Aug. 1.
Schnellenberger had been ISTA’s president since 2007 and served as the public face of the teachers' union during a period of major changes in Indiana public education. Under his leadership, ISTA unsuccessfully opposed the move by Gov. Mitch Daniels and former state schools chief Tony Bennett to roll back the bargaining rights of teachers’ unions and to introduce merit pay for public school teachers.
ISTA also opposed a new voucher program to fund students who attend private schools, even taking a legal case against the program all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court, where it was upheld.
Even before those fights, the ISTA had been weakened during Schenellenberger’s term when the association sustained heavy investment losses due to poor investment choices by its financial adviser. The operations of the association was taken over by the National Education Association, and many perceived the ISTA as a smaller force after that in its lobbying and campaign finance work.
But Schnellenberger got a last laugh, of sorts, against Bennett and Daniels. The ISTA largely funded and operated the campaign of Democrat Glenda Ritz, a teacher from Indianapolis, who upset Bennett in the November 2012 elections.