NYSUT Vice President Kathleen M. Donahue is a veteran union leader, educator, advocate and voice for many constituencies inside the NYSUT family.
An elementary and secondary classroom teacher for more than 30 years before her election as a NYSUT vice president in 2005, Donahue now coordinates the union's Program Services, which address the needs of NYSUT's school-related professionals, health care professionals, members of small and rural locals, new members and retirees. Program Services also provides training in workplace health and safety issues, and NYSUT staff training. Donahue also oversees NYSUT's social services program for in-service and retiree members, and her office monitors health care trends across the state.
Donahue directs two of NYSUT's premiere leadership-building programs: the annual Local Action Project - developed to help strengthen locals while engaging members in the union and their community - and the Leadership Institute, an intensive, weeklong training designed to strengthen leadership skills and teach leaders how to effectively and strategically address labor challenges.
Donahue's advocacy earned her NYSUT's 2011 "Not for Ourselves Alone" Award, one of the union's highest honors, recognizing women's leadership and contributions to their unions. She has also been honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations and the Women of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.
A vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of NYSUT's national affiliates, Donahue's commitment to labor and education extends beyond our nation's borders. She helped launch the Democracy in Education program in Poland to assist the new Solidarity Democracy movement. Later, she led an AFT delegation at an international health and safety conference in Portugal and represented the AFT in the former Soviet Union, Israel, the Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia and Great Britain. She currently serves on the AFT Task Force on Safety.
Donahue is also a member of the board of the Mental Health Foundation, the New York State Education Department Safe Schools Task Force and the Governor's Anti-Hunger Task Force.
The past president of both the Hilton Teachers Association and the Monroe County Federation of Teachers, Donahue helped to create the Monroe County Education Coalition Steering Committee in 1996. The mission of this coalition of teachers, superintendents, school board members, parents, community leaders and union activists is to advocate for the county's mix of urban, suburban and rural schools.
Donahue has an undergraduate degree from SUNY Brockport. She also earned a master's degree in administration and a certificate of advanced studies from Brockport, where she has taught as an adjunct member of the faculty.