NEW YORK , April 11, 2008 — Thelma Shaw today received one of New York State United Teachers' highest awards when she was named School-Related Professional (SRP) of the Year at the union's 36 th Representative Assembly in New York City.
Shaw, a teaching assistant at the North Country Learning Center at Samoset Middle School in Lake Ronkonkoma, works as a job coach, providing direct assistance to disabled students in the work-supported employment program. As a job coach for special-needs students, Shaw must first learn each job herself so she can devise special methods to teach the tasks required, she said.
She is proud of the progress: "Students work in our local businesses," They are real employees. At the Stop and Shop, our student employees are union members!"
Shaw, whose career spans 35 years, is president of her local BOCES Educators of Eastern Suffolk. She is the first teaching assistant to hold this position. "Thelma Shaw has blazed a new trail in providing outstanding leadership for her local, which serves teachers, teaching assistants and teacher aides," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Her commitment to service and inclusion at all levels is to be commended."
"Thelma is a tireless leader for the 1,500 members who work under two separate contracts in her local," added NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue. "Thelma made navigating the complicated area of contractual benefits easier for her members."
NYSUT represents more than 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.