Fresh from the front lines of educator activism exploding from Los Angeles to Richmond, Va., National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is coming to the Capital Region Thursday evening to speak to NYSUT’s emerging leaders.
Members of NYSUT’s 2018-2019 Leadership Institute will hear about what it takes to be a leader, as Eskelsen Garcia keynotes the winter session of the statewide union’s leadership program.
Eskelsen Garcia, who began her career as a “school lunch lady” prior to becoming a teacher and national union leader, will talk about the labor movement’s growing activism on both a national and local level.
“What we are witnessing is not a moment but a movement of and by educators who are fighting for the public schools our students deserve,” she said last week. “We’re raising our voices together for our students, for our schools and for ourselves as educators.”
As unions organize, energize and mobilize following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court Janus decision allowing employees to avoid paying union dues, NYSUT is developing its next generation of leaders to help continue the momentum. NYSUT, an affiliate of the NEA, conducts the institute every other year to help train unionists on how to develop as leaders.
Eskelsen Garcia is a sought-after speaker who also blogs at “Lily’s Blackboard,” where she brings a teacher’s voice to education issues. She has been featured on MSNBC, CNN en Espanol, and other media. She regularly addresses issues through links on her Twitter feed such as conflict resolution in schools, the opioid crisis, and the need for healthier and safer schools free from building hazards through funding from the proposed Rebuild America’s Schools Act which NEA and American Federation of Teachers support.
On an international level, she is the Vice President of Educational International for the North America and Caribbean Region, investigating action on collective bargaining, raising student achievement, and adequate funding.
Her winter session visit follows a talk by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who met with the group of about 35 new NYSUT leaders during their weeklong summer training.
NYSUT’s Patrick Lyons, who coordinates the Leadership Institute, explains that members who take part in the program hone their leadership skills in order to build a stronger local union. During this three-day winter session participants will learn about their own innate leadership characteristics, as well as how to identify the leadership characteristics of others. Participants will also learn about conflict management, leading across generational divides and how to engage more members in the work of the union.
NEA President Lily Eskelson Garcia addresses delegates to NYSUT’s 2017 Representative Assembly via a video appearance, telling them that the work to protect public education is “most important” during a time when “people want to turn schools into profits.”