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MURRAY — Renée Pinkney stepped away from her role as a social studies teacher after 27 years in Utah public schools to embark on a three-year term as president at the Utah Education Association.
Her term began Friday after she was elected to the office by her fellow educators in a 2022 statewide vote.
"It's an honor to represent the talented and dedicated public school teachers of Utah," Pinkney said in a prepared statement. "I believe a strong public education system is critical to Utah's future and should be our state's top priority. I look forward to working with teachers, parents, policymakers and others to guarantee an environment where every public school student can succeed."
Before being voted to lead Utah's largest teacher association — including 18,000 educators across the state — Pinkney served as the association's vice president from 2019 to 2022 and as a member of the UEA board of directors representing the Eastern Utah UniServ from 2016 to 2019.
Brandon Baca, geography and history teacher at Sand Ridge Junior High School, will serve as vice president.
Pinkney succeeds Heidi Matthews, who served six years as UEA president.
"During her tenure, Matthews led the charge to increase Utah public school educator salaries by an average of more than 30% over six years, worked with lawmakers and Govs. Gary Herbert and Spencer Cox to secure the largest sustained public school funding increases in Utah's history, and represented teachers and students through a very difficult pandemic experience," said a statement from the UEA.
UEA Executive Director Jennifer Boehme said Pinkney "represents the very best of the good things happening in Utah's public schools."
Adding, "she is a professional educator dedicated to students and the teaching profession. She has a tremendous passion for public education and for creating an environment where all students can feel safe and find success."