media
April 04, 2011

Defining excellence in the professions

Source: RA 2011

If you want to know how a union works, how a workplace becomes safer or what type of professionals go above and beyond the call of duty, then look no further. Each year NYSUT honors both hard work and achievements of members from different constituencies during the 2011 Representative Assembly, April 7-9 in New York City.

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Jeff Peneston: New York State Teacher of the Year

Known for facilitating student success, he has developed a variety of field experiences designed to enhance student learning via hands-on science exploration. Jeff has motivated students to take part in science research and competitions and several of his pupils have won significant awards.


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Janis Bianco: School-Related Professional Member of the Year

Currently a third vice president, Bianco has served on numerous negotiating teams, lending words of wisdom and creativity to get contracts settled. She is known for looking at the big picture and keeping her union vision clear and in the forefront.


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Frank Frisenda: Higher Education Member of the Year

When he returned to his alma mater Nassau Community College as a faculty member, he attended his first union meeting only to find his mentor was the president of the faculty association. He calls that his "union moment."


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Elizabeth Peters: Health Care Professional Member of the Year

As a delegate to the NEA RA and the NYSUT RA, Peters has worked to broaden the state and national agendas to include school counselors and related educational professionals.


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George Caulfield: Retiree Member of the Year

Starting back in 1985, Caulfield had worked in the summers helping the AFT organize locals throughout the country. Since his retirement, he has assisted the AFT in even more organizing activities and political campaigns.


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Eileen Darwin: Retiree Member of the Year

Darwin has been an aggressive advocate for retiree benefits. She played a major role in energizing support for a pension COLA, not only on Long Island but also throughout the state.


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Lucille Swaim: Not for Ourselves Alone: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Alongside Al Shanker, Swaim served on the first negotiating committee as "historian" and recorded all the official minutes. The negotiations yielded the first comprehensive collective bargaining agreement covering teachers anywhere in the United States - and spurred forward a national movement of teacher unionization.


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Michele Brockner: Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant

Michele E. Brockner has been an elected officer in the Western Sullivan United Teachers and SRPs for 12 years, and is serving her second year as president.