stars and stripes

NYSUT United November/December 2022

NYSUT United A Union of Professionals Logo
WHAT ARE WE FOR? typography

red check box Safe schools

red check box Strong communities

red check box Professional respect


Vote Box

November/December 2022

NYSUT UNITED [November/December 2022, Vol. 13, No. 2 ]

Director of Communications: James Morrison
Lead Editor/Copy Desk Chief: Clarisse Butler Banks
Assistant Editors/Writers: Ben Amey, Molly Belmont, Matthew Hamilton, Sylvia Saunders, Kara E. Smith
Photo Editor: J. El-Wise Noisette
Lead Designer: Nicole Clayton
Art and Production: Dana Fournier
Advertising: Andrew Watson
Online Communications Coordinator: Bryan Thomas
Editorial Support: Julie Malec

NYSUT United is a member publication of the International Labor Communications Association, Metro New York Labor Communications Council, State Education Association Communicators.
Editorial and Production Department:
518-213-6000 and 800-342-9810 (toll-free)
Annual subscription: $15. NYSUT members receive a copy of NYSUT United as part of their dues benefit. Households with multiple members will receive only one copy. If you do wish to receive more than one copy, please call 518-213-6000.
Address changes: POSTMASTER:
Member Records Department, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110

UFT member address changes:
New York Teacher, 52 Broadway,
12th floor, New York, NY 10004
NYSUT United (ISSN 21587914) and are official publications of New York State United Teachers. NYSUT United publishes six issues from September to June.
Advertising: Email Andrew Watson at or call 518-213-6000 or 800-448-4ADS.
NYSUT Affiliated with AFT square space NEA square space AFL-CIO
800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110
518-213-6000 800-342-9810
President: Andy Pallotta
Executive Vice President: Jolene T. DiBrango
Second Vice President: Ron Gross
Secretary-Treasurer: J. Philippe Abraham
ELECTION DISTRICT DIRECTORS: Peter Stuhlmiller, Michelle Licht, Joseph J. Najuch, Jennifer Austin, Adam Urbanski, Andrew Jordan, John Kuryla, David Chizzonite, Jeanette Stapley, Laura Franz, Joseph Herringshaw, Juliet Benaquisto, Melissa Servant, Sparrow Tobin, Sean Kennedy, Jeffrey Yonkers, Tomia Smith, Frederic Stark, Gregory Perles, John Mansfield, Kevin Coyne, Kevin Toolan, Laura Spencer, Karen Blackwell Alford, Mary Vaccaro, Amy Arundell, MaryJo Ginese, Mary Atkinson, Anthony M. Harmon, Michael Mulgrew, Elizabeth Perez, Cassie Prugh, Richard Mantell, LeRoy Barr, Felicia Wharton (City & Private Higher Ed), Penelope Lewis (City & Private Higher Ed), Roberta Elins (Community Colleges), Jamie Dangler (State Higher Ed, UUP), Rowena Blackman-Stroud (State Higher Ed, UUP), Thomas Tucker (State Higher Ed, UUP), Philip Rumore, Adam Piasecki, Dora Leland, Loretta Donlon (Retiree), Joan Perrini (Retiree), Thomas Murphy (Retiree)
AT-LARGE DIRECTORS: Cheryl Hughes, Andrew Bogey, Brian Ebertz, Nicole Capsello, Michele Bushey, Maria Pacheco, Matthew Haynes, Samantha Rosado-Ciriello, Cordelia Anthony, Ronald Verderber, Nancy Sanders, Debra Penny, Michael Sill, Sean Rotkowitz, Thomas Brown, Janella Hinds, Leo Gordon, James Davis, Frederick Kowal, Florence McCue, Shelvy Y. Abrams (SRPs), Sandra Carner-Shafran (SRPs), Karen Lee Arthmann (SRPs), Deborah Paulin (SRPs), Angie Rivera (SRPs), Anne Goldman (Health Care), Stephen Rechner (Private Sector Higher Ed), Andrew Sako (Community Colleges), Pamela Malone (Higher Education) and Andrea Vasquez (Higher Education)
Melinda Person, Executive Director/NYSUT Political Director
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS: Antonia Cortese (Emerita), Thomas Y. Hobart Jr. (President Emeritus), Alan B. Lubin (Executive Vice President Emeritus)
AFT VICE PRESIDENTS: J. Philippe Abraham, Shelvy Y. Abrams, James Davis, Evelyn DeJesus, Jolene T. DiBrango, Ron Gross, Anthony M. Harmon, Frederick Kowal, Kara McCormick-Lyons, Michael Mulgrew, Andy Pallotta, Adam Urbanski
NEA DIRECTORS: Serena Kotch, Dora Leland (Interim)
Alternate Director: Sue Raichilson
Executive Committee members are underlined.
Andrew Pallotta headshot

Andrew Pallotta, President

Jolene T. DiBrango headshot


Ron Gross headshot
Ron Gross, Second Vice President
J. Philippe Abraham headshot
J. Philippe Abraham, Secretary-Treasurer

Dear NYSUT member:

Soon you will be receiving NYSUT’s 2022 Voter Guide. This contains information so YOU and YOUR VOTE can help elect pro-public education, pro-labor candidates in Albany and Washington, D.C., in the Nov. 8 General Election.

In a divided nation, we need to come together around issues that unite us — like our public schools.

The hardships from the past few years remind us just how important our public schools, universities and hospitals are. This election, we’re committed to endorsing candidates up and down the ballot who will fight for the issues that matter to NYSUT members — like funding for public schools, colleges and hospitals; safe schools for all; repealing receivership; tier equity; and so much more.

NYSUT has a member-driven endorsement process for political candidates. Endorsed candidates are thoroughly vetted by NYSUT local presidents and by NYSUT’s Political Action Committee. The union’s Board of Directors gives final approval.

NYSUT does not make endorsements based on party lines. The statewide union supports candidates who will unite us and keep public schools as the center of our communities.

We encourage you to read and consider the information in the voter guide before casting your ballot. You can vote absentee, vote early or at your local polls on Election Day. Whatever your choice, make a plan and cast your ballot.

In solidarity,

Andrew Pallotta signature
Jolene T. DiBrango signature
Ron Gross signature
J. Philippe Abraham signature
Andrew Pallotta, Jolene T. DiBrango, Ron Gross, J. Philippe Abraham signatures
[ Fighting for you ]

Make your voice
heard at the polls

By Kara Smith


y the time you receive this issue of NYSUT United, the race to Nov. 8, Election Day, will have begun. Hopefully you already have plans in place for voting.

There’s a lot at stake in this election, and NYSUT needs every member vote to elect pro-public education, pro-labor candidates in Washington, D.C. and Albany. Funding for public schools, colleges and hospitals; ensuring safe schools for all; repealing receivership and fighting for tier equity are all on the ballot.

Check your mailbox and visit for the 2022 NYSUT Voter Guide. It features a list of union-endorsed candidates at the state and federal levels, to help members identify pro-public education choices. (See page 4 for the full list.)

Thanks to mail-in and early voting, making your political voice heard has never been easier. Early voting runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 6. You can apply in-person for an absentee ballot at your county board of elections until Nov. 7. If you choose to vote by mail, make sure your ballot is postmarked no later than Nov. 8.

Top ring spirals


Vote 2022 on an American flag badge
Oct. 29– Nov. 6

General election early voting

Nov. 4–6

43rd Annual NYSUT Community College Leadership Conference, Saratoga

Blue and red SRPs Rock logo
Nov. 4–6

44th Annual NYSUT School-Related Professionals Leadership Conference, Albany

Nov. 8

Election Day

Nov. 14–15

NYS Board of Regents meets

Nov. 15

New York State SRP Recognition Day

Pink and black logo for NYSUT Women; the 'O' in woman is replaced with the sign for female with a fist in the circle.
Nov. 18–19

NYSUT Women’s Committee meets, Albany

NYS ED logo; blue and black square
Dec. 12–13

NYS Board of Regents meets

Please note, some or all of these events may be conducted as virtual meetings.

On the Cover

Cover by Mark Sharer

[ Fighting for you ]

Union endorses candidates for election Nov. 8

Hand Illustration

YSUT endorses candidates who support educators and public education, and who align with our union values. The criteria for earning union endorsement is a demonstrated commitment to labor and education issues.

Endorsed candidates receive grassroots support from NYSUT members, including phone banking, door knocking and literature distribution. The union also makes financial contributions from voluntary donations through VOTE-COPE, the union’s non-partisan political action committee.

To view the complete NYSUT 2022 Voter Guide and search for endorsed candidates in your area, visit


Governor Kathy Hochul
Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado
Attorney General Letitia James
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli


U.S. Senate Chuck Schumer
CD 1 Bridget Fleming
CD 3 Robert Zimmerman
CD 4 Laura Gillen
CD 5 Gregory Meeks
CD 6 Grace Meng
CD 7 Nydia Velazquez
CD 8 Hakeem Jeffries

CD 9 Yvette Clarke
CD 10 Dan Goldman
CD 11 Max Rose
CD 12 Jerrold Nadler
CD 13 Adriano Espaillat
CD 14 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
CD 15 Ritchie Torres
CD 16 Jamaal Bowman
CD 17 Sean Patrick Maloney
CD 18 Pat Ryan
CD 19 Josh Riley
CD 20 Paul Tonko
CD 21 Matt Castelli
CD 22 Francis Conole
CD 23 Max Della Pia
CD 25 Joseph Morelle
CD 26 Brian Higgins


SD 1 Anthony Palumbo
SD 2 Mario Mattera
SD 3 Dean Murray
SD 5 John Brooks
SD 6 Kevin Thomas
SD 7 Anna Kaplan
SD 9 Ken Moore
SD 10 James Sanders Jr.
SD 11 Toby Ann Stavisky

[ Fighting for you ]

NYSUT making big push to expand community schools

Brain icon next to the quote "Stressed brains can't learn"

That simple phrase was the “Aha!” moment a few years ago for Albany Public Schools TA President Laura Franz when she attended a presentation about bringing community schools into the Albany City School District.

“When you think of all the ways our students experience stress, that’s where I see community schools responding,” Franz told participants at NYSUT’s Community Schools Summit in October. “Whether it’s hunger, physical illness, mental health challenges, poverty — so many kids are in pain.”

“When we can reduce barriers, we know kids will thrive,” said United Federation of Teachers Vice President Karen Alford. “It’s a matter of addressing the educational, emotional, social and health issues that can stand in the way of learning.”

NYSUT hosted the Community Schools Summit to bring together teams of educators, administrators, school board members and parents who want to start or expand community schools in their districts.

[ Fighting for you ]

Last chance for Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver

By Sylvia Saunders


ime is running out. If you have a federal student loan and work for a public or non-profit employer, you could have your entire student debt balance forgiven. But you must act now. Oct. 31 is the deadline to take advantage of the waiver that relaxes Public Service Loan Forgiveness rules.

The good news: So far, the U.S. education department reports that it has approved more than $13 billion in debt relief for more than 211,000 public service workers.

The bad news: Officials estimate that fewer than half of eligible borrowers have applied.

“We’re trying to get the word out to everyone,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “Thousands of members have attended NYSUT’s student loan debt webinars. We want our members to get the relief they deserve.”

[ Fighting for you ]

Union-backed law expands loan relief for many adjuncts

By Sylvia Saunders


housands of adjunct faculty and other part-time educators now qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness under a union-backed law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this fall.

In a big win for union activists, the law expands eligibility under state labor law by giving educators credit for work outside the classroom. The law would apply a multiplier to faculty’s in-class hours so that they can meet the federal 30-hour full-time definition and qualify for PSLF.

Now, those who regularly teach three classes per semester will likely qualify for loan forgiveness and those who combine their teaching with other public service work will also have an easier time qualifying.

“Many adjuncts work the equivalent of full-time but have been overlooked because only their classroom hours were counted,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis, who represents about 30,000 faculty and staff at CUNY. “This legislation recognizes the full-time work performed by many so-called part-time faculty.”

NYSUT Legacy Fund seal

Jacqueline Baker,
always willing to lend a hand

Jacqueline Baker
As a single parent of two sons with Sickle Cell Disease, Jacqueline Baker knew what it felt like to be alone in the face of hardship. Perhaps that’s what made her an outstanding unionist: she knew the value of a helping hand.

Throughout her 35 years in the classroom and as a Yonkers Federation of Teachers retiree, Baker gave generously, serving on the local’s elections, scholarship, community outreach, political action and new retiree party committees; as a YFT delegate to the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO; and donating $100 monthly to VOTE-COPE in retirement.

Last year, Baker founded Westchester Sickle Cell Outreach, a not-for-profit providing support, referrals and information for those impacted by the disease. She succumbed to ovarian cancer in June.

In honor of her years of dedicated service, the Yonkers FT nominated Baker for the NYSUT Legacy Fund.

“She told us all she would win her battle and for those of us who loved her, she did,” said NYSUT Board member Florence McCue, ED 51–53 at-large director. “She won our admiration, and our awe of her relentless strength and courage.”

To honor an in-service or retiree activist from your area, visit
[ Fighting for you ]

Union solidarity wins fair contract for SUNY Broome faculty

By Ben Amey


fter more than a year without a contract and facing a hostile bargaining team on the other side of the table, the Broome Community College Faculty Association knew it had to take action. Against the odds, they landed a buzzer-beater deal, a fair pact containing pay raises and online class-size caps comparable to their peers at area community colleges.

For over a year, college negotiators were trying to strip out the soul of their previous contract; gutting class size restrictions for online classes and taking away caps on payments for retiree health insurance. The Broome CCFA wanted only what their colleagues at other area colleges such as Corning Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College had gotten: a fair deal with a modest pay increase.

“Community college is a key step on the pathway to a better job, economic security and higher quality living for our students,” Broome CCFA President Suzanne Shepard said. “If we’re not investing in the people dedicated to helping our students reach those heights and preserving key student supports like smaller online class sizes, it sends the wrong message about our college’s priorities.”

[ Fighting for You ]

When hunger is a barrier to learning

By Molly Belmont

Cicero-North Syracuse HS seniors pack food bags for district families as part of their Participation in Government class.
Cicero-North Syracuse HS seniors pack food bags for district families as part of their Participation in Government class.

ocial studies teachers Matt Root and Mark Parrish wanted their Participation in Government students at Cicero-North Syracuse High School to use their mandatory community service time more meaningfully. They found the solution in a cafeteria closet.

The North Syracuse district boasts a median household income of $76,523, well above the statewide average of $68,304. Root and Parrish know the other side of those numbers. Nearly 30 percent of district students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Many live in poverty.

The veteran educators, both members of the North Syracuse Education Association, decided they could combat hunger with help from their government students. Each week, these students would use their community service hours to assemble and distribute food for their peers in need. Root says the program was mind-blowing for his students.

[ Social Justice ]

For Hispanic Heritage Month, NYSUT gives back

By Kara Smith


n celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, NYSUT highlighted the importance of literacy at an October event held in partnership with the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement and Capital District Latinos. Union volunteers distributed scores of free books at the Albany event.

“Giving children books of their own is one of the best ways to spark a lifelong love of reading,” said J. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer, whose office oversees the statewide union’s social justice program.

“The union is happy to come together with like-minded organizations to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Union volunteers also helped staff a food pantry and clothing giveaway. Capital District Latinos offers the region’s first culturally responsive food bank, providing Hispanic food staples not always found at mainstream food banks. The event was open to all residents in need, regardless of ethnicity or income level. Citing the importance of the effort, Abraham noted that “many families who don’t qualify for SNAP benefits still struggle to put food on the table.”


Union poised to assist after devastating hurricane

NYSUT Disaster Relief and Scholarship Fund logo

ith Hurricane Ian bringing devastation to Florida in late September, NYSUT has turned its disaster relief efforts to helping members recover from the storm’s damage.

More than 100 people died in the storm, most the result of drowning. Hurricane Ian slammed into the Fort Myers area of Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds that pushed water inland, ravaged barrier islands and gutted coastal buildings.

Miriam Hanan, NYSUT’s retiree services consultant for Florida, still hasn’t heard from many members living in the impacted zones, despite sending out a statewide text urging members to check in following the hurricane.

With thousands of NYSUT retiree members in Florida, the statewide union is deeply concerned about the recovery and welfare of those living in impacted areas, said Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham, whose office handles the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund, the union’s 501(c)3 charitable organization.

[ OUR SRPs ]

Getting to know … Michelle Richardson-Wilson

A portrait photographic headshot of Michelle Richardson-Wilson smiling

Michelle Richardson-Wilson, a member of the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals, is a lead pre-K paraprofessional in the Rochester City School District. She was interviewed by NYSUT Board member Angie Rivera, president of the Rochester AP and a member of the NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee.

Tell me about your job and why you love what you do.

Education is such an important piece in a child’s life. Many students call school their home away from home. As an educator I have found that a student must have trust, faith and confidence in the staff at school.

My job is very exciting and busy. I am the pre-K representative for on-boarding and orientation with the Human Capital Department for newly hired pre-K paraprofessionals. I provide an overview of expectations, roles and responsibilities while in the prekindergarten setting.

In this role, I visit classrooms to model for pre-k paraprofessionals how to maintain a safe, healthy learning environment for students and encourage positive adult-child interactions including modeling hygienic support for pre-K students.

I also observe prekindergarten paraprofessionals to ensure performance roles are being carried out with fidelity and provide positive feedback. Also important to mention, I suggest and explain constructive approaches to conflict resolution between teacher and paraprofessional.

Another exciting part of my role is I get to plan and present staff development sessions in collaboration with teachers to more than 300 staff, including community-based organizations.

Why did you get involved with your union?

I wanted to be a support to all paraprofessionals. That is what my mentors did for me when I became a part of the RCSD.

[ OUR SRPs ]

SRP conference an opportunity to learn, network


or staff tasked with keeping hundreds of students fed on a daily basis, getting the food out on time is a top priority.

But keeping themselves healthy and safe is just as important. Workers are familiar with the known dangers — the hot stove, sharp knives and meat cutter. But some hazards are less visible.

The 44th annual School-Related Professionals Leadership Conference, NYSUT’s largest leadership, professional development and networking opportunity for SRPs, features a session geared specifically for kitchen workers.

Kitchen safety: It’s on the menu is designed for professionals in food service, custodial and maintenance. Presenter Keith Wrightson, assistant director of health issues for the American Federation of Teachers, is an expert on worker protections who has published several reports on worker safety.

[ teaching & learning ]

The Rossis teach a lesson that counts

Oneonta TA members
molly belmont
From left, Oneonta TA members Michelle and Anna Rossi. Both teach math at Oneonta High School.
By Molly Belmont


or Michelle Rossi and her mother, Anna Rossi, there’s strength in numbers.

Anna is a math teacher and, growing up, Michelle used to beg to grade her tests and quizzes. “She always said, ‘You’re not going to understand any of it,’” Michelle recalls, laughing.

Now, this mother and daughter work side-by-side, teaching math in classrooms across the hall from one another at Oneonta High School, where Michelle was once a student.

[ teaching & learning ]

‘Social billionaire’ named state’s top teacher

By Matthew Hamilton

New York State 2023 Teacher of the Year

or Billy Green, teaching isn’t about his students learning from him. He’d rather learn with them.

“The kids should feel validated, they should be talking in the classroom, they should not be sitting there for 45 minutes listening to me,” the effervescent Green said. “If there’s 30 kids in a classroom, I should have heard 30 voices in 45 minutes.”

An unabashed rebel with a self-described Ph.D. from UCLA — “University of the Corner of Lexington Avenue” — Green’s chemistry class is as much about the voice of the youth as it is the periodic table. For one student who nearly flunked his class, Green challenged him to write a rap about the content on the midterm he had missed. The aspiring rapper not only demonstrated proficiency, he got hooked on chemistry.

[ a closer look ]

Support candidates who support public schools

By Kara Smith & Ben Amey

t’s about more than simply voting red or blue in this year’s election. It’s about supporting candidates who support public education. In the 2022–23 New York state budget, NYSUT notched historic wins, thanks both to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s steadfast commitment to public education, and to the support of dedicated lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“In a divided nation, we need to come together around issues that unite us — like our public schools,” said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT president.

Funding for public schools, colleges and hospitals; safe schools for all; repealing receivership; tier equity; and other vital concerns are priorities for NYSUT members. “It’s time to look beyond Republican or Democrat, and red or blue, and instead look to candidates who support issues that are most important to us,” said Pallotta, explaining why NYSUT doesn’t endorse solely along party lines. “As union members, party affiliation isn’t important. What matters is whether candidates support educators, support helping students and support keeping public schools the center of our communities.”

[ Teaching & Learning ]

Western NY teachers lauded for human rights education

By Sylvia Saunders


alamanca teachers Brooke Canale and Brandy Kinney have been honored by the New York State Board of Regents for their outstanding work educating students — and the community — about the Holocaust and human rights. The pair received the Louis E. Yavner Teaching Award in September.

Canale, a social studies teacher, and Kinney, an English language arts teacher, have been working more than a decade together on interdisciplinary lessons and creative projects to spark interest in human rights education.

State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa praised the pair’s work on an “Atrocity Museum” project that had students research human rights issues and work with the school’s technology department to create 3-D printed artifacts.

[ teaching & learning ]

Remembering your ‘Why’

Dalisa Soto-Peruzzi is a middle school choral teacher and member of the Amsterdam Teachers Association. A teacher for 11 years, she believes that through arts education, especially through music, all students can be empowered to find their own voice and step into their true potential.
I was surrounded by creatives my entire childhood growing up in New York City and the Dominican Republic.

My Abuela Quiteria, is a gifted weaver. My mother, Belkis, is one, too, as well as a painter and the keeper of the family’s most beloved recetas. Tia Deisy was one of my first music teachers, bringing all the kids in the family along to sing with her at choir practice at the tiny church across the street from my Abuela’s house. Tia Elena was an artisan who made natural wax candles and painted folk art in the traditional style of the Cibao region of the island.

[ Teaching & Learning ]

Welcome to the stage!

Niagara Falls teacher builds space for students to be their authentic selves

By Molly Belmont

headshot of Meagan Millar

heater teacher Meagan Millar just wants her students to be themselves.

Kids are forced to be someone they’re not all the time, said Millar, so creating a place like the theater, where they can be real, is important.

“You can just be yourself and leave all your baggage at the door, and the kids really buy into that,” Millar said. “It’s amazing to see what develops from there.”

Millar, a member of the Niagara Falls Teachers, discovered the power of drama when she was a child. She grew up in Niagara Falls, auditioning for roles at the community theater. When she got to high school, she was excited to finally be able to take drama classes at school under the able direction of drama teacher Kate Muldoon.

She came back to the Niagara Falls City School District 11 years ago, first as a teaching assistant, then as the performing arts teacher in the elementary schools.

[ health & safety ]

Members band together against breast cancer

By Molly Belmont


ach fall, the American Cancer Society hosts Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks from Jones Beach to Buffalo, and NYSUT members are with them every step.

NYSUT has been a statewide flagship sponsor for 20 years. During that time, union members have raised more than $16 million to support groundbreaking breast cancer research, ensure greater access to quality care, influence public policy and provide critical patient support.

The Strides walks have become a fall favorite, with union members contributing year after year to the battle against breast cancer.


Ben and Linda Frisbie, both retired members of the Owego-Apalachin Teachers Association, have been supporting Making Strides of Binghamton for more than 20 years. They first got involved in the late ‘90s when their local banded together to support a fellow teacher who had just been diagnosed.
[ Retirees in Action ]

Retiree activists chart course ahead

By Kara Smith


ed by At-Large ED 51–53 Director Florence McCue, retirees from across New York state and Florida gathered in September for the annual NYSUT Retiree Contiguous ED 51–53 meeting.

Participants adopted resolutions for the upcoming NYSUT Representative Assembly, learned the history of retiree councils and got updates about hot-button political issues on the union radar.

Both Ron Gross, NYSUT second vice president, and NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango welcomed attendees. “It’s wonderful to have so many retirees on hand for this important event,” said McCue.

Ron Gross with Emeritus Alan Lubin
Second Vice President Ron Gross with Executive Vice President Emeritus Alan Lubin.
Calling retirees the union’s “daytime warriors,” Lubin encouraged attendees to stay politically active.
Quotes - Right
Quotes - Right



This election is a fight for freedom, for democracy, for voice and agency… things we’ve always fought for on the local level are now a national fight. @rweingarten #PublicSchoolsUniteUs #AFTvotes (@AFTunion)

UFCW Local 1473

Promises are worthless, Labor Agreements are enforceable #UnionStrong(@ufcw1473)

Karen Lee Arthmann

#NYSUTRetireesRock! Their experience and wisdom are invaluable. Their willingness to use their time to continue helping us promote union values is priceless! Thank you! We love you! @nysut @NYSUT2VP @NYSUTRetirees (@ArthmannLee)

NWLC United

We now have one of the most progressive contracts within @NonprofitUnion AND the movement at large. This victory is a reminder that martyrdom doesn’t lead to liberation and social justice workers who are paid a thriving wage will build a movement that thrives, too. (@nwlcunion)

Aisha Cook

Our fury is our superpower. They have no idea what they have unleashed! @NYSUTWomen @womensmarch #Womens Wave (@alwaysaishacook)

[ voices ]

5 Answers

5 Answers
What can schools, communities and policymakers do to improve safety for students?
Carolyn Scott


Carolyn Scott, president, East Syracuse-Minoa United Teachers

“I would ask the administrators to communicate more. When something happens with a student, they don’t always feel it necessary to tell us. As mandated reporters, we need to go and raise a red flag if we see something concerning, talk to the student and report it to the necessary folks. But when something happens to students, that doesn’t always come back to us.”

Sarah Borowiec


Sarah Borowiec, Teachers Association of Cheektowaga-Sloan

“There are shortages everywhere without enough health professionals working in our buildings and helping our students. I think there are way more students who need help than can be offered right now with the staffing that we have, and I think there is a shortage of professionals even available to be hired.”

[ classifieds ]

Real Estate Sales

Specializing in country club, active adult communities and beach areas from Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and surrounding areas. Serving NYSUT members for more than 18 years. Call Elly and Ed Lepselter. RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Boca Raton, FL. 561-302-9374.

YOUR SOUTH FLORIDA real estate connection. EXIT Realty Premier Elite Sheryl Volk realtor. Contact 561-389-8670 or


ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH — Three-bedroom, two-bath condominium. NYSUT discount. 716-830-4635.


ARE CLASSROOM DISCIPLINE problems ruining your teaching career? Make classroom misbehavior a thing of the past. FREE book for NYSUT-UFT members. Act now! Why wait? Email: teacherservices044
. (Please include your name and address) or write: Free discipline book, 1941 Edward Lane, Merrick, NY 11566.


WANTED DEAD OR alive — Old watches and clocks. Watchmaker pays top dollar for wrist, pocket or travel watches, clock movements, cases and watch material in any condition. I will look at anything — watches, cases, vests chains, bands or parts. Running or not — I want them dead or alive! Email: or call Mel 646-242-4720.

Help Wanted

ALL NYCDOE/NYSED EDUCATORS. Tutor near home/work. All subjects/grades: 718-886-2424.

[ resources for you ]

Apply now for AFT grants

Illustration of a light bulb with "bright idea" written in it

Grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 are available for the 2022–23 school year through the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund.

The grants, which focus on educator retention, Career and Technical Education, community schools initiatives and literacy proposals, are about getting “back to the basics” by directly investing in the kinds of classroom initiatives, educator supports and school-based enrichment programs that help kids and communities succeed.

The application for grants is open to all K-12 and higher education members, with support from their local president. The deadline to apply is Nov. 13. Visit

Technology teacher grants


The New York State Technology and Engineering Educators Association is seeking technology teachers to participate as a mentee and/or mentor for a new grant-funded mentorship program.

The program, designed to provide new Career and Technical Education teachers with a 1:1 technology teacher mentor, will award participants with Continuing Teacher and Leader Education hours and a $500 stipend. For more info and to apply, visit

[ passings ]

Jacqueline Baker | June 13, 2022
Yonkers Federation of Teachers

Betsy Berger | April 8, 2022
United Federation of Teachers

Robert Bostley | Oct. 6, 2021
Syracuse Teachers Association

Juanita Hogaboom | July 9, 2022
St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Federation of Instructional Support Personnel

Joyce Magnus | Oct. 8, 2022
United Federation of Teachers

Florence Rosenwein
Aug. 8, 2022
United Federation of Teachers

Dorothy Schreyer | Dec. 13, 2021
Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers

Obituary submissions must include decedent’s full name, union affiliation, date of death, and contact info for the person submitting the notice. Send notices to Julie Malec, NYSUT United, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110-2455; or email



A vacancy exists on the NYSUT Board of Directors for the position of At-Large Director for ED 2 & 44, which was created by the resignation of Joseph Cantafio, effective Aug. 1, 2022.

Pursuant to NYSUT Constitution, Article IX §6(o), the NYSUT Board of Directors is empowered to fill all At-Large Director vacancies that may occur between election year Representative Assemblies.

Notice is hereby given that a special election to fill the At-Large ED 2 & 44 Director vacancy will be conducted by the NYSUT Board of Directors as follows:

Date: Friday, Jan. 20, 2023
Time: 5 p.m.
Place: NYSUT Headquarters, 800 Troy-Schenectady Rd., Latham, NY 12110

The election will be by roll call vote of the members of the NYSUT Board of Directors.

Nominations to fill this vacancy will be accepted in accordance with the Campaign and Election Procedures approved by the NYSUT Board of Directors for the 2020 Representative Assembly. In order to qualify for the Special Election a Nominating Petition must be fully completed and then signed by at least eight (8) NYSUT members. The completed and signed Nominating Petition must then be received by the NYSUT Elections by the close of business (5 p.m.) on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

To be a candidate to serve as an At-Large Director from a NYSUT clustered Election District, the candidate must be a member of a local which is situated within the clustered Election District. To be a candidate to serve as an At-Large Director for a statewide constituency group, the candidate must be a member of the constituency group.

Nominating Petitions are available by contacting the NYSUT Elections Committee at or by contacting the NYSUT Office of the President at 800-342-9810.

At the Special Election Meeting, each candidate shall be given an opportunity to address the meeting for a period not to exceed three (3) minutes at a Candidates Forum scheduled for 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at the above location. The Special Election meeting will remain in session until a successor director is elected.

The candidate elected will serve as successor At-Large Director immediately upon being elected and continue to serve as successor At-Large Director to the conclusion of the 2023 Representative Assembly.

It’s What We Do

It's What We Do
Richard Keller-Coffey, Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers Association
When Rick Keller-Coffey looks back on his 30-year teaching career, he reflects fondly on the thousands of students he taught.

But of all the students who crossed his path, he thinks most often about Mary, Jerold and Christopher.

headshot of Rick Keller-Coffey
Rick Keller-Coffey
“Mary was a student who was always tired. She stopped showing interest in class activities and interacting with other students, even her friends,” Keller-Coffey remembered.

“Jerold always wore long sleeve shirts — even when it was hot. He insisted on sitting in the back of the classroom, or on the side of the room, with his back to the wall.

“And Christopher often asked for money to buy food and wore clothes that were too big,” said Keller-Coffey. “I figured that his family was poor.”

What Keller-Coffey missed at the time was that each of those students was being abused.

Since retiring, he has devoted his time working for the betterment — and protection — of children. He serves as a community education facilitator for the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. He is also a member of the Dutchess County BOCES Board of Trustees and the Webutuck Board of Education.

Part of Keller-Coffey’s mission is to improve educators’ abilities to recognize the signs they may not consider.

“Like all teachers, I cared for my students and was concerned for their welfare. I called the child abuse hotline when I recognized it was necessary, but I was not aware of all the signs,” he said. And while New York teachers are required to take mandated reporter training before they receive certification, there is no refresher requirement. “My goal is to help correct this situation so more teachers sharpen their skills, and more children can be helped.”

Read more about Keller-Coffey’s work at

On the job and in the community, NYSUT members make a difference

[ Member Benefits ]

Peer Support Line now available to NYSUT members

Peer Support Line

YSUT Member Benefits is excited to announce the launch of a Peer Support Line, which is available at no cost to all NYSUT members and their families. Created through a partnership between NYSUT Program Services, Member Benefits and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, this confidential helpline can provide answers, referrals and empathetic support to callers when it is most needed.

The Peer Support Line is staffed by trained in-service and retired individuals employed by Rutgers University who understand the unique professional and personal challenges of NYSUT members.

Rutgers is incredibly experienced in the peer support arena and runs more than a dozen support/crisis lines that utilize this model. These types of services help to establish a lasting relationship with individuals based on shared experiences while providing resources and support.

[ Your ERS Pension ]

Taking a loan through ERS


embers of the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) receive benefits beyond a lifetime pension. Did you know that most members can take out a loan against their retirement contributions? If you are an active member (on the payroll of a participating employer), have at least one year of service credit and have a certain minimum amount of contributions in your account, you can apply for a loan against those contributions.

Retirement Online is the fastest, most convenient way to apply for a loan through ERS. You can see how much you are eligible to borrow, what the repayment amount would be and whether your loan will be taxable. If you already have a loan, you can find your current balance and manage your loan payment in Retirement Online. To register (if you don’t already have an account) or to sign in, go to

Once you submit a loan application and we issue a check, you are responsible for repaying the loan. ERS members must repay loans through payroll deductions within five years. When you apply, you can choose the minimum payroll deduction, which would pay off your loan in five years, or you can pay more to pay off your loan sooner. You can increase your payroll deduction amount, make additional payments or pay your loan in full at any time with no prepayment penalties.

[ Your TRS Pension ]

Your pension and divorce

Q :

I’m an in-service member, and I’m going through a divorce. Do I need to change my New York State Teachers’ Retirement System beneficiary, or will the system automatically do that for me once my divorce is finalized?

Roll of money stuffed into engagement ring
A :

NYSTRS will automatically remove your former spouse as your beneficiary in instances of divorce, annulment or judicial separation. However, if there is a judgment, decree or a domestic-relations order that specifically directs NYSTRS to provide for the ex-spouse, those directives will be followed.

If you’d like your ex-spouse to remain your beneficiary, you must file a new Designation of Beneficiary (NET-11.4) form with NYSTRS following a divorce, annulment or judicial separation.

Q :

I’m a retiree and my wife and I recently divorced. Do I have to update my NYSTRS beneficiary or will the state automatically make that change for me as part of my divorce filing?

A :

If you’re already retired, you can only change your beneficiary in one of two instances: if you’re a Tier 2–6 member with a Paragraph 2 in-service death benefit that was in effect at retirement; or if you selected a lump sum or guaranteed period benefit payment and that coverage is still in effect. If one of these scenarios doesn’t apply to you, you can’t change your beneficiary.

NYSUT Statement of Ownership document

[ Local Unions in Action ]

"First Book" on an illustration of an opened book

Open a book, open the world

Locals across the state are participating in a literacy initiative sponsored by NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers and First Book. The Reading Opens the World effort focuses on giving educators the tools to help students read and read well, supporting parents and caregivers, and giving away 1 million free books.

Members of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers, led by Samantha Rosado-Ciriello, gave away 40,000 books at an event this fall. Led by President Kara McCormick-Lyons, White Plains TA members handed out 30,000 free books at a May event.

members of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers photographed holding books


children in White Plains listen to story time at an outdoor picnic table

emiljana ulaj

Kids's holding children's book

An October event sponsored by the Albany Public Schools TA, led by Laura Franz, gave away 20,000 free children’s books. Above, youth show off their selections. Below, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta listens as Ji’Ir Briceus, a member of the Albany Public Schools United Employees, reads a book to his son.

two men look at a book with a toddler

El-Wise Noisette photos

Share news about your local’s union or community events at; nclude LIA in the subject line.

members of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers photographed holding books


four young girls in Albany hold children's books at an event

An October event sponsored by the Albany Public Schools TA, led by Laura Franz, gave away 20,000 free children’s books. Above, youth show off their selections. Below, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta listens as Ji’Ir Briceus, a member of the Albany Public Schools United Employees, reads a book to his son.

children in White Plains listen to story time at an outdoor picnic table
two men look at a book with a toddler
El-Wise Noisette photos

Share news about your local’s union or community events at; nclude LIA in the subject line.


Kudos typography
It’s an honor
Laura Low, West Seneca Teachers Association, has received a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program award.
In print

AJ Autieri, Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers retiree, has published Samantha Jean’s Rainbow Dream: A Young Foster Girl’s Adventure into the Colorful World of Fruits & Vegetables. The children’s book tells the story of how one family encouraged their foster daughter to explore new tastes.

Jan Hammond, United University Professions/New Paltz, and Paula E.

Lester, C.W. Post Collegial Federation, have published The Dos and Don’ts of Completing The Ed.D Dissertation. The book, available through Roman and Littlefield, provides info starting with choosing a doctoral program through having your dissertation published.

Joyce Edwards Lee, a Mount Vernon FT retiree, has written Great Googa Mooga: Multiple Sclerosis Runs in the Family, in partnership with her brother. The book about two siblings who suffer from an immune-mediated inflammatory disease is at bookstores everywhere.

Joanna Torreano, Niagara Wheatfield TA retiree, has published Written From the Heart, a book about her journey through heart surgery.

Kudos recognizes the accomplishments of NYSUT members. Have good news you’d like to share? Email; include Kudos in the subject line.

NYSUT United | November/December 2022

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NYSUT represents teachers, school-related professionals, higher education faculty, professionals in education, human services and health care, and retirees.
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