[ 2023 NYSUT Representative assembly ]

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NYSUT Communications

he 2023 NYSUT Representative Assembly was one for the books. RA delegates elected former NYSUT Executive Director and Political Director Melinda Person president, and Jaime L. Ciffone, an educator of 21 years, was elected executive vice president. NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham were re-elected for three-year terms.

In meetings at the annual convention, delegates considered 33 resolutions; six were approved on the floor. The remainder were referred to the NYSUT Board for consideration. Speaking in support of the resolution on Universal Transgender Rights and Protections, Jonathan Hansonbrook, Edgemont TA, urged fellow delegates to stand together for students and educators.

Ron Gross, Jaime L. Ciffone, Melinda Person, and J. Philippe Abraham
PHOTOS: El-Wise Noisette

Delegates elected NYSUT Officers and members of the Board of Directors. From left, NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross; Executive Vice President Jaime L. Ciffone; President Melinda Person; and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham.

“If we as a union believe in equality, we must demonstrate these beliefs in our words and our actions,” he said. “We must stand for all, or we stand for none.” Delegates overwhelmingly passed the measure.

Delegates passed a special order of business calling for an end to overtesting (see story page 14). They also approved a constitutional amendment for the first dues increase in seven years. “We’ve gone a long time without raising dues and now it’s time,” said Florence McCue, at-large ED 51–53 director. She noted that NYSUT avoided a dues increase for many years, taking cost-cutting measures and raising revenues from sources such as renting out office space. “But for NYSUT to remain strong, now it’s time.”

Beth Chetney, Baldwinsville TA, was endorsed to serve another term as a teacher-member on the state Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Directors. Her endorsement was boosted by fellow TRS teacher-member representatives Eric Iberger, Bayport-Blue Point TA, and Juliet Benaquisto, Schenectady Federation of Teachers.

Philip Barbera, Sachem Central TA, sharing his concerns at a panel discussion with NYSED Commissioner Betty Rosa

Philip Barbera, Sachem Central TA, shares his concerns at a panel discussion with NYSED Commissioner Betty Rosa at the pre-RA leader conference. Many leaders touched on recurring themes: Examining graduation requirements, professional development and ensuring students are “college, career and civic ready.”

members from NYSUT’s Women’s Committee thanking outgoing NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango
In an emotional tribute, members from NYSUT’s Women’s Committee thank outgoing NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango for her work over the years in support of NYSUT women. Speaking is Aisha Cooke, New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees, and co-chair of the NYSUT Women’s Committee.
Jennifer Baker and Darcy Demaria thanking NYSUT
Robert C. Parker School Professional Association Vice President Jennifer Baker, left, and President Darcy Demaria, thank NYSUT for its support. The group, organized during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, initially received pushback from administrators, but was supported by parents and buoyed by NYSUT Organizer Jim MacFawn.

The RA honored winners of several NYSUT awards, including “Not For Ourselves Alone”: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, the Ken Kurzweil Social Justice Recognition Award and the NYSUT Lifeline Honor Roll. Winners of the union’s constituency awards and honors for community service were also recognized.

For full RA coverage, including the pre-RA Local and Retiree Council Presidents Conference and a list of all award winners, visit nysut.org/RA.