Harford County's teachers' union president has resigned, citing "professional goals."
Randy Cerveny, who was at the forefront of several teacher protests this past spring, stepped down from his position as Harford County Education Association president late last week, announcing his decision in an e-mail to HCEA members July 19.
He was in leadership positions with HCEA for 14 years and spent the last four as president.
"After reflection on the past year and my professional goals," the e-mail read, "I am stepping down as president of HCEA. This decision was not made lightly, but my family and my goals as a teacher were important factors. I am confident that there are HCEA members who are willing and able to take up leadership and, with your support, to move HCEA forward. Rest assured that HCEA will continue to protect your rights and advocate for teachers and our profession."
Stepping in as acting president until an election is held will be vice president Greg Plotycia.
"Under HCEA bylaws," Cerveny's e-mail explained, "the Representative Assembly is the body which fills vacancies in HCEA offices. Greg and the Nominations and Credentials Committee will keep you and your elected representatives informed about the election process."
Larry Ginsburg, a local UniServ director who is working with HCEA, said Thursday the board would be having a meeting that night to discuss the union's future.
Ginsburg clarified that Cerveny will teach in Harford County this year, but isn't sure if details on which location were finalized yet.
Cerveny and HCEA, which represents about 3,200 Harford County Public Schools employees, organized numerous teacher protests during the spring to show their discontent with not receiving raises and step increases several years in a row.
Just as the school year came to an end last month, the union and school system came to an agreement that will give teachers, guidance counselors and other HCEA members a 1 percent cost of living raise next school year, plus a step increment raise for those who are eligible and a longevity increment for others.
The agreement will cost the Board of Education about $10 million.
To offset the costs, the board eliminated more than 70 HCPS positions, a move Cerveny and HCEA opposed.
Cerveny commented on the matter in his e-mail, writing, "It was the unified efforts of HCEA members and educator leadership throughout the county [that] resulted in step/longevity increases and a [cost of living adjustment] for educators for the first time in many years. This fight is far from finished. HCEA and HCPS owe our successes to you! If our activism continues as it was in the spring, we will reap the rewards of our efforts."
Cerveny ended his e-mail by thanking everyone for their support: "As I return to the classroom, I look forward to working directly with students again and to continuing my work with you to improve instruction and our profession."