April 16, 2008

The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award: Deborah Collier and Aminda Gentile

Source:  NYSUT Awards and Honors

Deborah Collier

Yonkers Federation of Teachers

Deborah CollierDeborah Collier, vice president for special areas for the Yonkers Federation of Teachers, has provided significant service and leadership on the local, county, state and national levels. Collier began her teaching career as a special educator in Yonkers in September 1978 and very quickly became active in the union. She was elected to the YFT executive board in the mid 1990s and became a YFT vice president in 2001.

Collier's union activities are not limited to just "bread-and-butter" issues; she spearheaded many community service endeavors, including the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Committee; the NYSUT/YFT Breast Cancer Walk Committee, which she chaired; the YFT New Teacher Health Insurance Liaison; the Katrina Fund, which she chaired; and the PTA committee.

In addition to her charitable contributions, her years of service include: delegate to national and state conventions; delegate for the AFL-CIO central labor body; officer for the Unity Caucus; member of the National Association of Black School Educators, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; and at-large member for the NYSUT Political Action Committee.

Aminda Gentile

United Federation of Teachers

Aminda GentileAminda Gentile is an educator, a unionist and a leader. She is a constant advocate for high-quality education, an advocate with the highest professional standards  - for children, for teachers, for colleagues and, most of all, for herself. She forges ahead, uncovering new arenas and creating new possibilities and then uses her vision to encourage others to lead. As a role model, mentor and coach, she helps others grow in leadership. Gentile's work crosses city, state and national boundaries. She is the vice president for educational issues of the UFT, NYSUT's affiliate in NYC public schools. Her work focuses on all major educational issues, including school leadership teams, lead teachers, mentoring and assessment. She is a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and the AFT Program and Policy Council.

For 30 years, she has been involved in school reform, focusing on student achievement. Gentile is involved in many major reform efforts, serving on the state Teacher Center Task Force and the AFT Education Committee.

Gentile is director of the UFT Teacher Center, a professional development network at more than 250 New York City sites and numerous outreach locations that is a collaboration of the UFT, the State Education Department and the city Department of Education. She oversees the teacher center course program for educators. Additionally, under her direction, teachers throughout the city are able to participate in leadership academies.