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William H. Herbert, the executive director of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association, has resigned from the post he has held for the past 19 years.

Mr. Herbert's resignation represents part of "a pattern now developing in a number of states where directors are losing their power to elected union officials," according to a spokesman for the National Education Assocation.

For the past several months, Mr. Herbert and Carol Doherty, president of the statewide teachers' union, have reportedly been in conflict over the direction the 56,000-member organization should take. Ms. Doherty has advocated more member involvement in the development of union policy.

Mr. Herbert joined the teachers' association in 1959 as a field organizer and five years later was appointed executive director.

During Mr. Herbert's tenure, the National Education Association affiliate grew from about 25,000 members to a peak of about 65,000 in 1979.

His resignation will be effective July 1.

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