NYSUT's Suffolk County Regional Office spearheaded a campaign for the School-Related Professionals in that region called "Proud to be an SRP! Proud to be NYSUT! Schools work because we do!" The new regional campaign kicked off with a celebration honoring 12 exemplar SRPs, representing many locals in the Suffolk County region.
In his address to the more than 100 attendees, NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale said how much the union respects and values the work SRP members do. Pecorale urged the SRPs to be proactive in their union, since the current attacks on public education also impact them.
NYSUT Suffolk County Regional Staff Director Peter Verdon lauded the honorees for the countless things they do each day. "You take on big jobs, and you also look out for the small details," he said, "and that work allows our schools and union, not just to function, but to thrive."
NYSUT SRP At-Large Director Cathy Rienth told attendees: "Union starts with the letter 'u.' That means that the union is you." She reiterated the call for activism and encouraged beginning by attending school board meetings, since 95 percent of SRPs live in their own school district. "This is an opportunity to make your voice heard."
The honorees hold a variety of job titles that show the diversity of NYSUT's SPR constituency. Represented were security guards, teaching assistants, computer techs, secretaries, stenographers, teacher aides and cafeteria aides. Those honored were: Kenneth Cantwell, Smithtown Security Guards' Association; Elena Colon, Middle Country Secretarial Association; Marcelle DiGiacomo, Half Hollow Hills Association of Office Personnel; Tricia Hawkins, United Teachers of Northport; Sue Lipman, Half Hollow Hills Paraprofessional Association; Janet Maldonado, Brentwood Clerical Association; Grace Marek, Hauppauge Schools Office Staff Association; Barbara O'Brien, Office Staff Association of South Huntington; Dana Platin, Sachem Central Teachers' Association; Theresa Raso, North Babylon Teachers' Organization; Jeremy Stanzione, Shelter Island Faculty Association; and Stephanie Weinar, Smithtown Schools Employees' Association.
The summer celebration marks the start of the campaign, which was created in response to local leader feedback. Its goal is to help members strengthen their connection to their locals and to NYSUT.
Upcoming statewide events for SRPs include the 37th annual SRP Leadership Conference Oct. 2-4 in Saratoga Springs. For registration information visit www.nysut.org/srpconference.
The statewide SRP Recognition Day is Nov. 17. SRP celebration kits are available to local presidents upon request. More information on the 2015 event will be online in the coming weeks at www.nysut.org/SRP.