AFT Executive Vice President
Francine Lawrence was elected executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, by a unanimous vote of the AFT executive council and assumed the responsibilities of the office in September 2011.
In October 2011, Lawrence was elected secretary of the AFT Benefit Trust and secretary of the AFT Educational Foundation. In the same month, she was unanimously elected to be treasurer of the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees and, a month prior, joined the board of directors of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 16 education associations dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools. In December, Lawrence was elected to the United Way USA board of trustees.
Lawrence served on the AFT executive council as a vice president from 2008 until becoming the union’s executive vice president and is a member of the AFT Teachers program and policy council. She served as the PPC chairperson from 2006 to 2008. She also is the AFT’s chief spokesperson for the Global Campaign for Education, a broad-based coalition dedicated to ensuring access to high-quality basic education in developing nations.
From 1997 to 2011, Lawrence was president of the 3,000-member Toledo (Ohio) Federation of Teachers where she led contract negotiations that focused on what matters most: student achievement. The resulting contract provisions addressed how to attract and retain good teachers, defined expectations for teachers’ subject-matter knowledge and skills, and provided for high-quality, teacher-driven professional development. Lawrence also oversaw the implementation of the Toledo Review and Alternative Compensation System (TRACS)—a differentiated compensation system to identify and reward accomplished teachers. TRACS promotes teacher quality while improving the academic performance of students, and provides incentives for excellent teachers to accept assignments at schools identified as high-needs. Lawrence co-chaired the union and district’s Intern Board of Review, which oversees Toledo’s peer assistance and review plan; the Toledo plan serves as an example of a school reform that works.
Lawrence was a member of the Ohio Federation of Teachers executive committee (1988-2011), and she served as vice president of the Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO Council (2008-2011). She has been an advisory board member of the Northwest Ohio Center for Labor-Management Cooperation since 1993. From 2001-2011, she served as a union representative and co-chair (2003-2005) of the Ohio 8, a strategic alliance of superintendents and teachers union presidents from the eight largest urban school districts in Ohio; the coalition’s mission is to improve academic performance and close the achievement gap for urban children throughout the state.
Lawrence was an invited participant at the Aspen Institute’s 2007 Summer Workshop, Rethinking Human Capital for K-12 Education, and its 2008 Summer Workshop, Rethinking Human Capital: Designs for Urban School Districts. She also was a member of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) Strategic Management of Human Capital Task Force.
Active in her community, Lawrence chaired the United Way of Greater Toledo’s 1990 campaign, and has served on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Lucas County Mental Health Board, and the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission. She currently serves on the board of advisers of the Lovell Foundation, which funds programs in mental illness, integrative medicine, cultural/spiritual enhancement and philanthropic education. Lawrence also sits on the board of directors for Imagination Station, Toledo’s science center.
An experienced educator, Lawrence was a speech-language pathologist in the Toledo Public Schools for many years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in speech and hearing therapy, and a Master of Arts in speech pathology, both from Bowling Green State University.