'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award honors those women who have provided throughout their careers significant service and leadership to their local and state affiliates, as well as to the labor movement.
This 2013 honorees are Sandra March of the United Federation of Teachers and Joan Skowronek of the Hewlett-Woodmere Faculty Association.
United Federation of Teachers
Sandra March has been meeting the needs of the UFT, its affiliates and the labor movement for more than four decades. If the ultimate test of a union's effectiveness is the pension program that rewards members for a lifetime of service to city school children, then Sandra March is key to that effectiveness.
March is a teacher trustee of the city of New York Teachers' Retirement System. She also serves as a member of the Municipal Labor Committee's pension committee and the NYSUT pension committee and was on the executive board of the Council of Institutional Investors. She is a longstanding member of the UFT Executive Board, the union liaison to the large and active Retired Teachers Chapter, a member of the union's COPE committee, and served as chair of the UFT's 50th anniversary committee.
Starting as a District 26 elementary school teacher, she was one of the union's first borough political action coordinators. As a legislative rep in Albany and union liaison to City Hall, March worked closely and effectively with elected officials to ensure that the interests of union members and children were front and center.
Hewlett-Woodmere Faculty Association
Joan Skowronek taught science and health for 45 years. Beginning in the 1970s, she served her local union as a building rep, secretary, vice president, contract negotiator, grievance chair and, for the final 12 years of her career, president. She was a delegate to the AFT and NYSUT for more than 10 years.
Skowronek hails from a family of labor activists. Her tireless determination, boundless energy and dogged persistence reflected her deep belief in the core principles of teacher unionism - service to others, the importance of the teacher's voice in educational and political processes, and the imperative of collective unity and strength. Dozens of individual teachers whose lives she touched would attest to the endless hours Skowronek spent on the phone, in meetings, or on email working on their behalf. Believing that her members' concerns and problems were her own, she devoted the whole of her efforts to them as if they were her own, and would not rest until they were brought to a satisfactory resolution. Teachers, students and parents in Hewlett-Woodmere are indebted to Skowronek for her life's work in teaching and unionism.
About the Leadership Award
The "Not for Ourselves Alone" Outstanding Leadership Award was renamed in 2006 in honor of former AFT and UFT President Sandy Feldman. Feldman succumbed to breast cancer in September 2005. In the spirit of Sandy Feldman and all those female pioneers within NYSUT who have been recognized with the award since it was first presented in 2002, the award will continue to celebrate the contributions of NYSUT's largest constituency group - women.
A lifetime achievement award, it honors those women who have provided throughout their careers significant service and leadership to their local and state affiliates, as well as to the labor movement. In making a selection, the NYSUT Women's History Committee will consider length, breadth and depth of service. The selected honoree(s) will be recognized at the annual NYSUT Representative Assembly. All nominees will receive a certificate acknowledging the submission of their name for this honor.
About the Leadership Grant
The Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant in the amount of $2,000 has been established as a result of the generosity and vision of Sandy's husband, Arthur Barnes. READ MORE...
About Sandy Feldman
A teacher and unionist, Sandy Feldman (1939-2005) had a groundbreaking career as a union leader in NYSUT, the AFT and her home local, the UFT in New York City. Her career in education and labor spanned more than four decades. From her beginnings as a second-grade teacher on New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1960s, Sandy rose quickly through the union ranks, organizing staff on her first job. Shortly thereafter, she took a job as a full-time field representative for the UFT, handling grievances, contract negotiations and a range of issues. She eventually took over the reins of the union, becoming its president in 1986. She was elected to head the AFT in 1997. In the process, she became a staunch advocate for civil rights and social justice, participating in the Freedom Rides of the 1960s and the historic 1963 March on Washington, evolving into a proponent of civic education and democracy in the international arena and a leading voice in the national and international labor movement.
Hall of Fame
Saluting Additional Pioneers
A woman’s place is in the union ... particularly in New York State United Teachers