Hillsborough teachers' union director departs
TAMPA -- Less than two years into the job, the executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association union is moving on.
Nick Whitman said he was sorry to leave the district, but has accepted a new position as legal advisor to the New York State United Teachers in Buffalo so that his wife can live closer to her family. His last day was Friday.
"It’s been great being on the cutting edge of education reform," Whitman said. "Everything that was advertised about a collaborative, employee-focused environment I found to be true."
Originally from Wisconsin, he'll be returning to something resembling a more typical existence for a union man in a Rust Belt state: tough bargaining and sometimes-bitter disputes over a dwindling pot of money. The teachers' contract in Buffalo expired in 2004, and negotiators haven’t been able to find a replacement for it, Whitman said. Where Hillsborough saw no grievances pursued to legal arbitration, he will be inheriting a portfolio with some 200 of them.
"We’re very sorry to see him go," said HCTA president Jean Clements. "He hit the ground running and never stopped. He was very energetic and tenacious in helping us pursue what’s best for the teachers of Hillsborough County."
His replacement on Nov. 1 will be Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, a former human resources director for the American Federation of Teachers in Washington.