media
April 27, 2018

Awards and Honors: Representative Assembly 2018

Source: NYSUT Communications
award winners

If you want to know how a union works, how a workplace becomes safer or what type of professionals go above and beyond the call of duty, then look no further. NYSUT honors both hard work and achievements of members from different constituencies and leaders during the 2018 Representative Assembly, April 27-28 in Buffalo. Learn more at www.nysut.org/ra.

The complete awards book is also available to download (PDF).

This page includes the following press releases for award winners at NYSUT's annual convention, the Representative Assembly, taking place April 27-28, 2018, in Buffalo.


New York State Teacher of the Year

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Christopher W. Albrecht
Brockport Teachers’ Association

Brockport TA's Albrecht named 2018 Teacher of the Year

Christopher Albrecht, a fourth-grade teacher at the Fred W. Hill School in Brockport, is the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. Albrecht, a Brockport Teachers’ Association member, has mentored numerous student teachers and several first-year teachers, eager to spread his passion for the profession.

Last spring, SUNY Brockport honored Albrecht for his work supporting teacher candidates in the college’s Childhood Inclusive Education program. He was later invited to be the keynote speaker at the college’s Student Teaching Conference Day.

In his more than 20 years at Brockport, Albrecht has served on English language arts curriculum development committees, and founded the Hill School Spelling Bee and the Hill School Yearbook Committee, which he still advises. Albrecht also coached high school baseball and soccer.

In 2015, Albrecht began an after-school running program for fourth- and fifth-grade students with a focus on building self-confidence among all students, including those with special needs. This team has grown from five to 19 students with all completing three months of training and a 5K road race in downtown Rochester.

As Teacher of the Year, Albrecht will serve as an ambassador for teachers throughout the state and will be the New York State nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

 


School-Related Professionals of the Year

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Margaret Dalton-Diakite
United Federation of Teachers

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Stephen Rechner
Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff at New York University

NYSUT honors two School-Related Professionals at convention

BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2018 — Two longtime union activists from the New York City area have been named School-Related Professionals of the Year by New York State United Teachers during NYSUT’s annual convention being held this weekend in Buffalo.

Margaret Dalton-Diakite of the Bronx, a member of the United Federation of Teachers, and Stephen Rechner of New York City, president of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff at New York University, were recognized for their work on behalf of education professionals who provide support and leadership in school districts and on college campuses across the state.

“The work that Stephen and Margaret have done as educators and as unionists has improved the lives of their colleagues and their students,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “They are very deserving of this award.”

Dalton-Diakite has been a UFT paraprofessional — for more than 20 years with most of her work in the borough of Manhattan. She has been a leader in ensuring that her SRP colleagues receive professional development opportunities and she is known throughout both NYSUT and UFT for her organizing skills.

Rechner, who is also a member of NYSUT’s statewide Board of Directors, has been an active unionist for nearly 30 years. He has been the lead negotiator for several successful UCATS contracts and, in the early 1990s, led the fight for domestic partner benefits for all NYU employees. Rechner also edits UCATS’ award-winning newsletter.

“School-related professionals are the unsung heroes of our schools and campuses. By honoring Margaret and Stephen, we honor all of our members who do the important work of providing support in an academic setting,” said NYSUT Second Vice President Paul Pecorale, whose office oversees SRP issues.

More than 2,000 delegates, staff and guests are in Buffalo this weekend for NYSUT’s Representative Assembly, the union’s policy-making body.

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.

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Higher Education Members of the Year

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Bethany Gizzi
Monroe County Community College

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Cynthia Eaton
Suffolk Community College

 

NYSUT honors Suffolk, Monroe leaders as Higher Education Members of the Year

BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2018 — Two community college faculty leaders have been named Higher Education Members of the Year by New York State United Teachers.

Bethany Gizzi, a sociology professor at Monroe County Community College, and Cynthia Eaton, an English professor at Suffolk Community College, are being recognized at NYSUT’s Representative Assembly this week in Buffalo for their contributions to their institutions, members and local unions.

“Beth Gizzi and Cynthia Eaton have selflessly dedicated hours upon hours to their locals, their fellow union members and to the labor movement in their home communities,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “They are leaders among leaders, and are incredibly deserving of NYSUT’s Higher Education Member of the Year honors.”

Gizzi, a resident of Bergen, is president of the Faculty Association of Monroe Community College and a leader in the local’s fight for respect and a fair contract. She is an active member of NYSUT’s Women’s Committee; a fierce advocate for additional funding for community colleges; and an outspoken voice supporting the power of collective bargaining. In 2016, Gizzi was invited to the White House to attend President Obama’s Free College Initiative panel discussion. She teaches a number of popular sociology courses, including environmental sociology.

Eaton, a resident of Ridge, has a passion for teaching and quality distance education. She has been an active member of the Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College for more than a decade, and is currently the local’s secretary. She has served as editor of the local union’s award-winning newsletter. She has a particular interest in MOOCs (Massive On-line Open Courses) and has lectured about the possible impact of MOOCs on workers’ rights and intellectual property rights. Among her many community activities, Eaton organized the first Breast Cancer Awareness Walk at Suffolk’s Eastern Campus, an event that raised more than $7,000 for charity.

More than 2,000 delegates, staff and guests are in Buffalo through Saturday for NYSUT’s Representative Assembly, the union’s policy-making body.

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.





Health Care Professional of the Year

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Alicia Schwartz
United Federation of Teachers

Alicia Schwartz of the United Federation of Teachers honored as Health Care Professional of the Year

BUFFALO, N. Y. April 27, 2018 — New York City may be some 1,600 miles from Puerto Rico, but when the Caribbean island of 3 million people was ravaged by a devastating hurricane last fall, United Federation of Teachers member Alicia Schwartz immediately sprang into action.

With less than 24 hours notice, the veteran nurse joined her union’s disaster relief team and was soon leading rescue workers throughout Puerto Rico, bringing supplies, and providing compassion and support to those left homeless and suffering.

Schwartz — a member of the NYSUT-affiliated UFT Federation of Nurses — was honored this weekend as Health Care Professional of the Year at NYSUT’s Representative Assembly in Buffalo.

“Alicia is an inspiration, and we are privileged to call her one of our own,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “Throughout her career, Alicia has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to her profession and union. She represents the very best that NYSUT has to offer.”

In nominating Schwartz for the Health Care Professional of the Year honor, Anne Goldman, who chairs NYSUT’s Health Care Professionals Council, said Schwartz brings to her profession a “wealth of knowledge, nursing experience (and) critical insight,” adding that she serves as a “wonderful liaison” to the union’s membership.

Among those for whom Schwartz cared while in Puerto Rico were residents suffering from dehydration, hunger, gangrene and cancer.

“As her work in Puerto Rico underscores, there is no limit to the lengths Alicia will go to care for others,” said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “Her selflessness in working to improve the lives of those in her care is a testament to the professionalism that NYSUT members display on a daily basis in schools, on college campuses and in health-care facilities across our state.”

NYSUT’s Representative Assembly — held this year in Buffalo from April 27-28 — is the union’s annual policymaking convention. The weekend-long event was expected to bring more than 2,000 delegates to the city.

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.


Retirees of the Year

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Millie Glaberman
United Federation of Teachers Retired Teachers Chapter

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Mel Stern
Half Hollow Hills Retiree Chapter

NYSUT honors Millie Glaberman and Mel Stern as Retirees of the Year

BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2018 — Millie Glaberman and Mel Stern were honored as New York State United Teachers 2018 Retirees of the Year during the union's 46th annual Representative Assembly in Buffalo.

Glaberman, a member of the United Federation of Teachers Retired Teachers Chapter, was a participant in the 1960 strike that led to the UFT’s creation, and has been a dedicated union activist ever since. As an in-service member, she was a liaison to the Central Labor Council, received five proclamations from Manhattan borough presidents for her activism and, in 1978, served as the Manhattan political action coordinator, a position that taught her the value of phone banking. She counts U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer as a former student, and is the current UFT/RTC political action coordinator, guiding the group’s efforts from topic research, to script writing, to contacting phone bank volunteers. Last year, her group made 22,000 calls, helping the union soundly defeat the proposed New York State constitutional convention.

“We had a tough fight on our hands last year, and Millie’s leadership and commitment played a key role in helping us defeat the constitutional convention,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “Political activism is the foundation of NYSUT’s work and Mildred shows what one person can achieve when passion and professionalism combine.”

Mel Stern is president of Retiree Council 20 and co-president of the Half Hollow Hills Retiree Chapter. He served as a NYSUT Election District director and president of the Half Hollow Hills Teachers Association as an in-service member. A tireless union advocate, leader and activist, Stern was an enthusiastic backer of Christine Pellegrino, a former educator who achieved a David-and-Goliath-sized win last year in a race for the New York State Assembly. As a NYSUT Political Action Committee member, Stern split his time between hitting the campaign trail on Pellegrino’s behalf and working relentlessly to defeat the constitutional convention; in the four months preceding the vote, Stern held weekly retiree phone banks.

“More than 83 percent of New Yorkers voted ‘no’ on the constitutional convention last year and we couldn’t have done it without the help of retirees like Mel Stern,” said Pallotta. “The consistent and unwavering support of members like him, who’ve dedicated themselves to the union movement, is an inspiration."

“I am proud to call Mel and Millie fellow union activists: both represent the very best of NYSUT," added NYSUT Second Vice President Paul Pecorale whose office oversees retiree issues. “Both exemplify what it truly means to use our union voice, live our union values and stand in solidarity with our union from the retiree perspective.”

More than 2,000 NYSUT delegates, guests and staff are in Buffalo attending the union's annual policy-making convention, which runs Friday and Saturday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

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.






Not for Ourselves Alone: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

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Anne Goldman
United Federation of Teachers

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Nadia Resnikoff
Middle Country Teachers Association

NYSUT honors Goldman for leadership and advocacy

BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2018 — Anne Goldman, a nurse and a United Federation of Teachers vice president, has been honored with the 2018 “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award” for her bold and skilled union and health care advocacy.

Goldman was feted during New York State United Teachers’ annual Representative Assembly, being held this weekend in Buffalo. The UFT is NYSUT’s largest local.

Goldman was among the first of those seeking collective bargaining rights for nurses in New York City, and she has claimed her seat at the table ever since. Achievements include successfully bargaining on behalf of nurses in the UFT’s Federation of Nurses against major corporate entities running hospitals and home care services. She has advocated politically with NYSUT to help push for the passage of state laws on behalf of nurses, including the end of mandatory overtime for hospital nurses and the safe patient handling bill. She is chair of the NYSUT Health Care Professionals Council.

An active unionist at the local, state and national levels, Goldman is a member of the NYSUT and UFT Board of Directors and of the American Federation of Teachers Program and Policy Council. She played an instrumental role in the inclusion of an additional 35,000 registered nurses to her national union. She works on professional issues and is on national and statewide committees dealing with nurse recruitment and retention, staffing issues and specialty training.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew recalled that Goldman approached former AFT President Al Shanker “and told him she wanted to bring the Lutheran Medical Center Registered Nurses to the UFT because she wanted a strong union that represented professionals.”

Since 2013, Goldman has served as the UFT vice president for non-Department of Education members, working with private-sector members in negotiations, labor relations and legislative activities. She serves as a liaison between private-sector health care providers and educators working together to form Community Learning Schools — providing a connection between health care services and education, to improve student achievement. She has testified on behalf of family child care providers to increase the state minimum wage, provide training, inspections, background checks and the need for subsidized early child care education.

The New York State United Teachers award is presented annually in honor of Sandy Feldman, former president of the UFT and AFT.

“Sandy would, indeed, approve of an award in her name being given to Anne Goldman, a strong unionist, advocate and professional,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “Our union is fortunate to benefit from her leadership and tenacity.”

The NYSUT RA runs through Saturday and has brought more than 2,000 delegates, guests and staff to Buffalo. It is the union’s largest policy-making body.

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.

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Middle Country teacher Nadia Resnikoff receives union leadership award

BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2018 — Sixth-grade Middle Country teacher and union activist Nadia Resnikoff is being honored with the 2018 “Not for Ourselves Alone:” The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award by New York State United Teachers at the statewide union’s Representative Assembly.

Resnikoff has served as union president of the Middle Country Teachers Association in her Long Island school district since 2001, and is involved in union leadership on the local, statewide and national levels. She is known as a fierce advocate for public education, special education and organized labor.

“Nadia has acted as a coach, mentor and role model for women at many levels,” said Barbara Hafner, president of the West Hempstead Education Association and NYSUT board member who recommended her for the award.

As a teacher and education proponent, Resnikoff has focused on inclusion, literacy and Academic Intervention Services for students, serving on the State Education Department’s Commissioner Advisory Committee. She has taught all subjects in sixth grade, specializing in math.

In her role as MCTA president, Resnikoff has spent time as a volunteer activist and picketer to raise awareness about needs in public education. She has served as mentor/intern program coordinator, guiding new teachers through requirements, curriculum, regulations, evaluations and more. She also has met as an advisor with hundreds of teachers to help them grow as effective teachers. Her duties as union president include budgeting and negotiations, and coordinating her local’s outreach activities, such as food and coat drives, providing toys for children in foster care, and making up Thanksgiving baskets.

Resnikoff is an activist in other areas of interest as well, having served on NYSUT’s Civil and Human Rights and Fair Trade committees. She’s walked with colleagues on Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C., and New York City the past two years. Previously, she traveled to Ciudad Juarez with the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition Border Pilgrimage to learn about the effects of NAFTA and the impact it has had on people, economy and working conditions.

“It was our obligation to return home and continue discussing these issues and share our experiences to help change these unfair conditions,” Resnikoff said. “This was one of the most moving experiences I have encountered in my lifetime. I hope someday that borders can blend cultures rather than separate and keep people out.”

She is a past member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and a graduate of the Leadership Institute. She is also a delegate to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, where she served on the AFT Program and Policy Council and Learning First Alliance Council.

“Nadia exemplifies the ideals of Sandy Feldman,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “She proves the adage that ‘a women’s place is in her union.’”

The NYSUT RA runs through Saturday and has brought more than 2,000 delegates, guests and staff to Buffalo. It is the union’s largest policy-making body.

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.


Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant

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Lori Griffin
Copenhagen Teachers Association

Lori Griffin is an English teacher with the Copenhagen Central School District and longtime leader and activist with the Copenhagen Teachers Association.

Griffin is a graduate of NYSUT’s Leadership Institute and member of her local’s Local Action Project team as well as the union’s political action committee. She was a founding member of a regional PAC of NYSUT locals.

A one-time radio personality with several Watertown stations, Griffin has spearheaded a grassroots campaign to address the teacher short-age in the North Country. The campaign has been used by NYSUT as a template for other locals to follow.

Griffin is the proud product of the State University of New York, with degrees from Oswego and Potsdam.