2014 NYS Teacher of the Year announced
Ashli Skura Dreher, a special education teacher at Lewiston-Porter High School, was selected the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year.
"Her students with special needs receive a mix of research-based instruction and innovative lessons. Her close collaboration with parents make her a sterling example of what happens when great teachers and concerned parents work together on behalf of our children,"said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.
Dreher, a member of the Lewiston-Porter United Teachers, is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has served as the Western New York coordinator for the union's Education & Learning Trust, which provides professional development courses to teachers.
For photos and more, visit www.nysut.org.
AFL-CIO delegates hear from NYSUT leaders
NYSUT leaders took the lead on several key union initiatives at the AFL-CIO's Constitutional Convention.
NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi called on the 4,000 AFL-CIO delegates to increase their power to advocate for issues vital to working families.
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira spoke on comprehensive immigration reform. NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue urged support for protecting a secure retirement. Furthering NYSUT's social justice mission, Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler spoke in strong support of a resolution calling for free elections in Honduras.
Visit www.nysut.org for more information on the September convention.
Union leaders: Our broken immigration system must be fixed
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira, above right, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, left, were among 200 labor, civil rights, faith and immigrant rights leaders arrested, and later released, in an act of civil disobedience at the Concert and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect in October in Washington, D.C.
Thousands of supporters gathered to send an urgent message to the U.S. House of Representatives: The time is now to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"Our nation was built on the strength and vitality of immigrants," said Neira, who serves on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
"It's time for Congress to recognize the contributions immigrants have made, are making and will continue to make by passing a comprehensive reform bill — one that includes a pathway to educational opportunity and citizenship for students and families."
"From the students who have never known a home beyond the United States to the teachers who want all their students to have equal opportunities, our broken immigration system is a huge obstacle for AFT members and the students and families they serve," Weingarten said.
To sign the AFT's petition, go to http://action.aft.org/c/44/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=5518. Photo by John Harrington.
SRPs in action
Carmen Shepard, member of the Rochester Association of Para-professionals, was among the 210 SRP leaders from 62 locals around the state who attended NYSUT's 35th annual SRP Leadership Conference this fall. Leaders participated in workshops on diverse topics such as Workplace Bullying, Working with Autistic Students, Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation and SRPs role in the Common Core. Photo by Timothy Harrison Raab.
UUP's Kowal elected to AFT Executive Council
Fred Kowal, president of United University Professions, NYSUT's largest higher education affiliate, was elected a vice president of the executive council of the American Federation of Teachers.
The AFT is one of NYSUT's three national affiliates. Kowal fills the vacancy created by the resignation of former UUP President Phil Smith.
He will serve on the executive council with the NYSUT officers, as well as several other AFT vice presidents from New York
UUP represents 35,000 faculty and staff at the State University of New York.
Give to disaster relief
The widespread flooding in Colorado that took the lives of eight people and ravaged 1,918 square miles of land and property is another tragic reminder of the need to support NYSUT's Disaster Relief Fund. NYSUT has retirees who live in the affected area. The fund, which relies solely on donations, was set up in 2005 to help union members impacted by disasters. The fund helped thousands of members who suffered in the aftermaths of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Donate online at www.nysut.org or by mailing a check to NYSUT Headquarters, Attn: Jeff Lockwood, Accounting Department, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110.
Long Island educators stand with Carle Place teachers
Nearly 2,000 Long Island parents and educators rallied in support of Carle Place teachers, who are working for a third year under the terms of an expired labor agreement and pushing back against a disrespectful school board.
The Carle Place school board is seeking deep cuts in pay and benefits that would result in future teachers earning tens of thousands of dollars less than current teachers over the course of their careers.
NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten stood shoulder to shoulder with Carle Place TA President Carol Kilgallin, shown above.
"You do not stand alone," Iannuzzi said, reminding the 150-member local: "Your fight is our fight."
Weingarten said Carle Place board members are acting shamefully in treating teachers unfairly, noting the district is financially sound and among the leaders on Long Island in student achievement. For photos and more, visit www.nysut.org. Photo by Jonathan Fickies.
Donahue: SRPs an ‘important thread in the fabric that is NYSUT'
More than 210 SRP leaders from across the state attended the 35th annual School-Related Professionals Leadership Conference in Saratoga.
Calling the educators an "important thread in the fabric that is NYSUT," Vice President Kathleen Donahue praised SRP leaders for their commitment to their professions and their continued activism.
"It is thanks to your leadership and to the commitment of your members that our schools continue to operate as well as they do and that our students continue to learn and succeed," she said.
The conference featured workshops and meetings on diverse topics. Keynote speaker Alex Blair, a labor historian and adjunct professor at University at Buffalo, spoke of the need to protect our unions.
Unions "promote us to be politically active. They educate, they organize. And that's why we're under attack," said Blair. "Where unions are strong, citizenship is strong ... True citizenship means not just having a union, but being a union. And citizenship in our union is an activist and active state of being."
SRP leaders, above, donated 1,125 books to the Liverpool Central School District and raised $3,240 for the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. For more photos, visit www.nysut.org. Photo by Timothy Harrison Raab.
Bus drivers put safety first
NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler, left, and Alden bus driver Dennis Smith, a member of the Alden Central School Employees Association, talk about the important role bus drivers play in creating a safe and supportive experience for students as they ride to and from school.
Almost 10 percent of school-related bullying happens on the bus, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
For anti-bullying resources, visit www.nysut.org. Photo by Dennis Stierer.