April 04, 2011

Frank Frisenda: Higher Education Member of the Year

Source: RA 2011

Frank Frisenda
Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers

A Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Navy, Frank Frisenda found himself as a student at Nassau CC. Inspired by a professor to embrace the complexity of the world, he became a member of Vietnam Era Veterans against the War and a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society on campus. Later, when he returned to the campus as a faculty member, he attended his first union meeting only to find his mentor was the president of the FA. He calls that his "union moment."

A former air traffic controller and member of the ill-fated PATCO union, Frisenda has been an activist and leading member of the NCCFT for 26 years. For 17 of those years he has been leading the delegation for grassroots lobbying days in Albany. Chair of the fed's political action committee, he maintains contact with local officials, attends political events and uses the NYSUT databases to get union members out to vote. Envisioning a new paradigm for political action, he organizes college events to allow political leaders to see and understand the important work members do with students. He also has been VOTE-COPE coordinator for more than 10 years.

Frisenda helped organize Long Island business, labor and education leaders to discuss and explore the role Nassau CC can play to prepare people for the challenges of the future. He is active with the area Labor/Employer Relation Association, the NYSUT Election District and the Long Island Federation of Labor to expand the role of the union in the community.

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