December 2011 Issue
November 23, 2011

Three elected to the TRS board

Source: NYSUT United
Caption: From left, Tim Southerton, Karen Magee and Paul Farfaglia celebrate their election as teacher-members to the TRS board. Photo by Christina Primero.

In what is believed to be the first-ever three-way election, New York State Teachers' Retirement System delegates unanimously elected all three teacher-members to the TRS board in November.

The three teacher-members, who usually serve staggered three-year terms, were all up for election this year due to unforeseen circumstances: the death of longtime representative Michael Corn and this year's retirement of Sheila Salenger.

The three elected teacher-members are Paul J. Farfaglia, Karen E. Magee and Timothy M. Southerton, all of whom were endorsed by the NYSUT Board of Directors.

Southerton, a Long Island special education teacher and president of the Sayville Teachers Association, is a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors and serves as a delegate for the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association conventions. He is a trustee of two labor-management trust funds, the Suffolk School Employees Health Plan and the Sayville Employees Trust Fund. He is a well-known political activist.

Magee, a remedial math teacher and president of the Harrison Association of Teachers, is a longtime political activist, member of the NYSUT Board and delegate to the TRS annual convention. She serves on NYSUT's Pension and Retirement Committee and NYSUT's Policy Council. She has served as secretary-treasurer of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body. Magee is also a board member on the Statewide Schools Cooperative Health Plan, a regional consortium of district benefit plans.

Both Southerton and Magee were appointed earlier this year by the state education commissioner to fill the open seats.

Paul Farfaglia, a teacher from Jordan-Elbridge School District in central New York, has served as the local union's president for 20 years. He is an at-large director on the NYSUT Board and longtime political activist. He was elected to his first three-year term on the TRS board in 2008 and chairs the TRS Compensation Committee.

In their roles as teacher-members on the 10-member board, the three conduct informational workshops, answer retirement questions and advocate on behalf of members. They can be reached through the email and phone numbers listed below.

The three were unanimously elected at the annual TRS convention at the Saratoga Springs City Center attended by more than 700 delegates, alternates and guests representing school districts across the state.

Delegates were updated on a variety of benefit and retirement topics and were provided informational materials to share with their colleagues. View presentations on the delegates page at