The president of the Saint Paul teachers union has been elected to a top spot in the American Federation of Teachers.
Mary Cathryn Ricker will leave her current post as president of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, to become the national union's executive vice president.
In her speech to delegates in Los Angeles, Ricker said that she would help the union fight back against national testing standards that teachers say interfere with classroom learning.
Ricker said she aims "to make academic standards about deep learning and not testing, and to keep corporate interests who want to make a buck off education out of our classrooms.
She said she also "ensure teachers have a voice and that we are seen, heard and believed."
Ricker replaces Francine Lawrence, who is retiring this year.
In her speech, Ricker said she benefited from union members before her who advocated for equal pay and equal rights among teachers and other workers.
"I am energized to take the baton at a time when all of these gains are under attack, a time when the very values of our nation are under constant assault by those who believe in rights and opportunity for the few, not the many," she said.
Before becoming president of the Saint Paul union in 2005, Ricker was a middle school English teacher.