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NJEA leader, a Christie foil, handing over reins

Local News | May 17, 2013

NJEA leader, a Christie foil, handing over reins

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — One of Gov. Chris Christie’s biggest antagonists is handing over her role at the top of the state’s largest teachers union when her second term ends in August.

New Jersey Education Association President Barbara Keshishian has been at the group’s helm for four years.

She will be succeeded by Burlington County mathematics teacher Wendell Steinhauer.

The group is a lightning rod for the Republican governor.

He enacted pension and health benefits reforms that the union opposed.

Christie has since revised teacher tenure laws, taking away lifetime tenure, and supported merit pay and school vouchers, which the union staunchly opposes.

Keshishian once described the union’s feud with Christie as a “war,” and the NJEA has spent millions in ads to discredit the governor and his policies.