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Indiana State Teachers Association loses executive director

April 11, 2016

Indiana State Teachers Association Executive Director Brenda Pike plans to resign after six years at the job to take the same position at the troubled Alabama Education Association, ISTA announced Friday.

The appointment begins May 15.

Pike, an Alabama native, will be returning to her home state in an attempt to restore stability to an organization recently struck by scandal.

She will replace Henry Mabry, who resigned April 5, less than two months after the AEA board voted to begin the process of firing him after an audit raised concerns about financial mismanagement.

AEA's most recent tax return showed it spent $8.6 million more than it took in during fiscal 2014.

Much of the debt was incurred in the 2014 state elections. In January, the group said it would halt direct political contributions while it focused on retiring a total of $4 million in loans taken out by AEA's political action committee as part of a largely unsuccessful attempt to put allies in the Legislature.

Pike was raised in Gadsen, Alabama, where her father was a Baptist pastor. She received a master's degree from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate of education from the University of Memphis.  She worked for 12 years as a classroom teacher before becoming a staff member at the Tennessee Education Association.

She then spent eight years as the assistant executive director for the Texas State Teachers Association before being chosen to head the Indiana State Teachers Association in 2010.

Under Pike, ISTA “has markedly improved its financial standing, moved from membership losses to gains, strengthened its administrative policies, weathered extreme legislative threats, and is now poised for complete recovery and continued growth,” the association said in a written statement.

The ISTA has nearly 40,000 members, with affiliates in every Indiana county and in nearly 300 school districts.

ISTA did not say how fast it planned to replace Pike.

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