May 04, 2007

Union honors four who make a difference

Source:  New York Teacher
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NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi offered congratulations to:

Jamestown Teachers Association delegate Lisa Beckerink, winner of the 'I CAN Learn — NEA Foundation for Teaching Excellence' award. Beckerink, a 19-year teacher and a member of the NYSUT Special Education Committee, will participate in the NYSUT Leadership Institute this summer. She is one of 40 teachers nationwide to receive the NEA award, which recognizes and rewards the excellence of NEA members. Beckerink, who teaches at Washington Middle School in Jamestown, is a graduate of the Frewsburg Central schools, Jamestown Community College and SUNY Fredonia.

Longtime Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Steve Frey received a plaque honoring his many years of service to the NYSUT Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Frey, who has been through four strikes in Yonkers, was joined at the RA by his wife Arline, also a longtime leader with the YFT, who co-chairs the union's Public Relations Committee.

"Board members have the responsibility of being the eyes and ears of the members," Iannuzzi said, noting Frey has always served the union with great dedication and passion.

Delegates approved by acclamation a special order of business honoring NYSUT Retiree Services Director Pat Longo, who will be retiring later this spring. The special order noted Longo's legacy in building services for NYSUT's retirees. Under Longo's leadership, retirees have formed chapters and retiree councils and elected members to the NYSUT Board of Directors. NYSUT Board member Tony McCann of Shenendehowa Teachers Association cited Longo for his "extraordinary" union role, starting 30 years ago when he led a strike by the South Colonie TA. He also credited Longo with launching the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center.

Rachel Moyer, a teacher from Port Jervis, was introduced during Iannuzzi's address. "After the tragic and untimely death of her own son, Rachel dedicated herself to seeing that legislation is enacted in every state requiring a defibrillator in every school," Iannuzzi said. "Since these life-saving devices were mandated in schools in New York state, 51 people, including grandparents, parents, teachers, support personnel and students, have been saved." Iannuzzi noted the youngest life saved was that of a 7-year-old boy, a few months ago, in Glens Falls. The boy "lives today as the result of the quick thinking of teacher Bryan Seybolt and school nurse Janel Martinez," Iannuzzi said. Since the incident, Moyer has arranged to have an additional defibrillator donated to the Glens Falls district.

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