One treat at the annual convention is taking time to recognize the hard work and achievements of NYSUT members. Winners of the statewide union's Constituency Awards were honored during sessions throughout the 2010 Representative Assembly, April 29-May 1 in Washington, DC.
New York State Teacher of the Year: Debra Calvino
As a teacher leader, Calvino uses her math skills in a different way: She serves as a master trainer in data analysis, fostering district-wide support for and use of data-driven instruction to improve student achievement. She has also enhanced district resources through her extensive grant writing and advocacy efforts.
Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award: Ruth Dworkin
In 1962, Ruth Dworkin began her elementary teaching career and quickly became involved in the union, serving as a building rep in 1965. Two years later, she was elected elementary vice president and served in that position until her retirement in 1989.
Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award: Maria Portalatin
Her commitments to women, to labor and to the Hispanic community have helped Portalatin win many battles, both personal and professional, and she has inspired hundreds of minority women to follow her footsteps. Awards from numerous organizations have honored her achievements.
Health Care Professionals Member of the Year: Jeffrey Bradt
Jeffrey Bradt has been critical to the existence of the Albany County Department of Residential Healthcare Facilities Professional Staff Association. The union was established in 2003 and Bradt was the primary organizer of that effort. Without his drive and desire to protect the rights of his co-workers, the nursing home PSA would not exist.
School-Related Professionals Member of the Year: Maddy Manzella
Since joining the union in 1991, third-grade teacher aide Maddy Manzella has been involved on the executive board at many levels, including vice president and president. While in office, she challenged the membership to strive for excellence and integrity and to take a stand for the best it can be in any circumstance. She accomplished this promoting trust and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Retiree Member of the Year: Thomas Pappas
Tom Pappas has been actively involved in NYSUT since its formation, chaired and served as chief spokesman for the UFT Retired Teachers Chapter from 2002-09 and continues his involvement as chief advisor to the current UFT RTC chair. He is known throughout the city and the state for his excellence in leadership and his union commitment.
Retiree Member of the Year: Irwin Yellowitz
An activist, leader and scholar, Yellowitz has devoted his academic and political life to advancing a vision of engaged, enlightened, socially committed unionism - a unionism that embraces both professional and manual workers.
Higher Education Member of the Year: Charles R. Clarke
Thirty-nine years ago, when Charlie Clarke began working at MCC as a 22-year-old instructor, he recognized the need to become involved in the union so that improvements in salary, fringe benefits and working conditions would continue to be made on behalf of young members like himself. He realized involvement was the key to moving issues forward.
Higher Education Member of the Year: Iris DeLutro
Her professional work as a senior counselor at the City University of New York unites many of the different constituencies NYSUT represents - teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and professional staff.
Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant: Lori Rider
Lori Rider is in her first year as vice president of the Avon Teachers Association. She has "a driving desire to strengthen my sense of confidence and knowledge regarding unionism."
James J. Scott Scholarship Winners: Annie McClintock and Carrie Meyers-Herron
As president of her local, McClintock has a goal to develop the skills needed to find creative alternatives that meet the needs of one group without compromising the needs of another; Meyers-Herron is taking online classes as a part-time student while teaching full-time and representing her union as president.