April 11, 2013

Feldman legacy lives on in March and Skowronek

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: RA Reporter
 

When Sandra March of the United Federation of Teachers found out that she won the "Not For Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, she turned to the booklet "In Her Words" published by the UFT and AFT after Feldman died.

"If you read it, you find out who she was and who we are," said March, who was a good friend of Feldman, a former UFT and AFT president. "We are educators with a social conscience."

March said educators and trade unionists built the middle class in this country. She believes wealthy people are trying to privatize education as another source of revenue, and said, "We have to do whatever we can to stop them."

March is a former New York City elementary school teacher, one of UFT's first political action coordinators under the tutelage of Al Shanker, and a teacher-trustee of the City of New York Teachers' Retirement System.

"We have to stop being afraid," she said.

Joan Skowronek of the Hewlett- Woodmere FA also won the "Not For Ourselves Award." She taught health and science for 45 years, all while being active in just about every facet of union leadership at her local.

She was celebrated for her commitment in serving as building rep, secretary, negotiator and union president. She was also a NYSUT and AFT delegate.

The $2,000 Sandra Feldman Leadership Grant established by Feldman's husband Arthur Barnes was given to Janine Gibney of the Yorktown Congress of Teachers. A 20-year teacher and NYSUT Leadership Institute graduate, she is active with her union and said she is motivated by social justice, pushing for equality in opportunity, the right to a safe workplace, and a democracy that celebrates a strong work ethic.