April 13, 2004

Jane Conetta: 2004 'Not for Ourselves Alone' Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Source:  NYSUT Awards and Honors: Not for Ourselves Alone

Jane Conetta

Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers


Jane Conetta became a union activist the moment she started teaching. First, as a nontenured teacher, she became a building representative and shortly thereafter was elected to the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers Executive Board, where she has served for more than 30 years.

When Conetta became president, her local was under attack by an antiteacher, antitenure Board of Education. With the help of NYSUT's Local Action Project program she and the PMCT successfully battled back. She developed award-winning membership, community outreach and publications programs and won a precedent-setting tenure victory.

She has won the respect of the community, the Board of Education and the administration. The union is now involved in every aspect of the professional lives of its members, from wages, hours and working conditions to staff development, mentor programs and new teacher orientation.

"It's a whole new world," said Conetta, who was a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors. "We all work together as a team. We've not only raised morale, but the quality of education as well."

Conetta's strong leadership has also inspired and motivated young women to become involved in union activities, many of whom are now building representatives or serve on the union Executive Board.