'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

'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.

The 2015 honorees are Carmen Alvarez of United Federation of Teachers and Sheila Goldberg of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers (RC 17).


Carmen Alvarez
United Federation of Teachers

alvarezCarmen Alvarez is the vice president for special education at the UFT.

For nearly four decades, Alvarez has been an educator and a champion for children. From her days as an elementary school resource room teacher in Manhattan in the late 1970s, to directing a program for Bank Street College in the early 1980s, to her work as a co-founder of the Essence School, serving District 19's middle school students in 2000, Alvarez advanced education offerings for preschool children with disabilities with their non-disabled peers that evolved into inclusionary programs across all grade levels. The positive practices that came out of this citywide initiative became the centerpiece of the New York City DOE's new Continuum of Special Education Services, which expanded options to serve students with disabilities in general education with a wider array of supports.

A key voice in the UFT's efforts to improve education for children with disabilities, Alvarez is a founding member of the ARISE Coalition, which brings together parents, community groups and educators to serve as watch dogs for special education.


Sheila Goldberg
Plainedge Federation of Teachers (RC 17)

goldbergThe extensive list of activities and positions held by Sheila Goldberg is strong evidence of her leadership in union matters. Whether it is riding the bus to Albany to win COLA legislation or walking the boardwalk at Jones Beach to raise funds to fight cancer, the normal expectation of involved NYSUT retirees on Long Island is that Goldberg will not only be there, but she will also be leading the way. Thousands have seen her presenting workshops at Retiree Council meetings, or have met her on a picket line when negotiations were not going well in East Meadow, Farmingdale, Massapequa and many others. Her interest and focus never fail when she dedicates herself to a union project that will benefit teachers, students and the cause of education.

Most involved NYSUT retirees on Long Island know Sheila Goldberg as a woman who is not content with merely meeting the VOTE-COPE totals or the Making Strides donations from the year before — Sheila will only be content when she sets a new record for contributions. Since 1999, when she first chaired Nassau's NYSUT participation in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides campaign, the region has raised more than $2,000,000.


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

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.

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Saluting Additional Pioneers

A woman’s place is in the union ... particularly in New York State United Teachers