'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award honors those women who have provided throughout their careers significant service and leadership to their local and state affiliates, as well as to the labor movement.
The 2015 honorees are Carmen Alvarez of United Federation of Teachers and Sheila Goldberg of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers (RC 17).
United Federation of Teachers
Carmen Alvarez is the vice president for special education at the UFT.
For nearly four decades, Alvarez has been an educator and a champion for children. From her days as an elementary school resource room teacher in Manhattan in the late 1970s, to directing a program for Bank Street College in the early 1980s, to her work as a co-founder of the Essence School, serving District 19's middle school students in 2000, Alvarez advanced education offerings for preschool children with disabilities with their non-disabled peers that evolved into inclusionary programs across all grade levels. The positive practices that came out of this citywide initiative became the centerpiece of the New York City DOE's new Continuum of Special Education Services, which expanded options to serve students with disabilities in general education with a wider array of supports.
A key voice in the UFT's efforts to improve education for children with disabilities, Alvarez is a founding member of the ARISE Coalition, which brings together parents, community groups and educators to serve as watch dogs for special education.
Plainedge Federation of Teachers (RC 17)
The extensive list of activities and positions held by Sheila Goldberg is strong evidence of her leadership in union matters. Whether it is riding the bus to Albany to win COLA legislation or walking the boardwalk at Jones Beach to raise funds to fight cancer, the normal expectation of involved NYSUT retirees on Long Island is that Goldberg will not only be there, but she will also be leading the way. Thousands have seen her presenting workshops at Retiree Council meetings, or have met her on a picket line when negotiations were not going well in East Meadow, Farmingdale, Massapequa and many others. Her interest and focus never fail when she dedicates herself to a union project that will benefit teachers, students and the cause of education.
Most involved NYSUT retirees on Long Island know Sheila Goldberg as a woman who is not content with merely meeting the VOTE-COPE totals or the Making Strides donations from the year before — Sheila will only be content when she sets a new record for contributions. Since 1999, when she first chaired Nassau's NYSUT participation in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides campaign, the region has raised more than $2,000,000.