April 06, 2014

First woman to head NYSUT promises to be a strong voice for change

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
Caption: Left to right: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President.

NEW YORK April 6, 2014 – Karen Magee, a veteran elementary and special education teacher from Harrison, is the new president of the 600,000-member New York State United Teachers. Magee and her slate of officers were elected by a majority of the nearly 3,000 NYSUT delegates who voted Saturday at the union's annual Representative Assembly in New York City.

Magee is the first woman to serve as NYSUT president, succeeding Richard C. Iannuzzi, the union's president since April 2005. A teacher for nearly 30 years and a longtime leader of the Harrison Association of Teachers, Magee was elected to a three-year term to lead the state's largest union.

NYSUT delegates re-elected Andrew Pallotta as executive vice president and voted for two new vice presidents: Catalina Fortino, UFT vice president for education and director of the United Federation of Teachers' Teacher Center, and Paul Pecorale, a special education teacher in Patchogue-Medford and president of the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers. Martin Messner, a health and physical education teacher in Schoharie and president of the Schoharie Teachers' Association, was elected secretary-treasurer. Delegates also elected members of the union's Board of Directors.

"Our team stands for change and our work begins now," said Magee. "That includes taking on the tough fights and communicating clearly with decision makers at every level. We will be the voice they cannot ignore. We will defend public education and public service. Period." In the weeks ahead, she and her team of officers will travel the state to call on "each and every member to BE the union, as we unite for change."

"This election has revitalized NYSUT," Magee said. "The record-breaking participation in this election shows how deeply our members care about their union. This commitment and passion will carry us forward into a new generation of activism." She thanked Iannuzzi and the other outgoing officers for "their many years of tireless dedication to NYSUT and the labor movement," and said she was confident members would now unite in common cause.

Magee is a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and its Policy Council. She is an elected representative to the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. For more than a decade, Magee has served as an officer of the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO and was the first woman to receive the WPCLB Labor Award.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.