April 08, 2013

Joan Skowronek: 'Not for Ourselves Alone' Sandra Feldman Award

Joan Skowronek
Hewlett-Woodmere Faculty Association

Joan Skowronek taught science and health for 45 years. Beginning in the 1970s, she served her local union as a building rep, secretary, vice president, contract negotiator, grievance chair and, for the final 12 years of her career, president. She was a delegate to the AFT and NYSUT for more than 10 years.

Skowronek hails from a family of labor activists. Her tireless determination, boundless energy and dogged persistence reflected her deep belief in the core principles of teacher unionism - service to others, the importance of the teacher's voice in educational and political processes, and the imperative of collective unity and strength. Dozens of individual teachers whose lives she touched would attest to the endless hours Skowronek spent on the phone, in meetings, or on email working on their behalf. Believing that her members' concerns and problems were her own, she devoted the whole of her efforts to them as if they were her own, and would not rest until they were brought to a satisfactory resolution. Teachers, students and parents in Hewlett-Woodmere are indebted to Skowronek for her life's work in teaching and unionism.