February 2011 Issue
February 08, 2011

Reminding New York: 'It's what we do'

Author: Frank Maurizio
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Teacher Margaret King of Long Island is taped for NYSUT's ad campaign. Photo by Miller Photography

NYSUT members are giving voice — and putting a face — to their union.

A series of radio ads kicked off in early January, reminding New Yorkers that NYSUT is made up of their friends and neighbors who accomplish remarkable things every day in our classrooms and communities.

The first of the 30-second ads — heard statewide — featured Margaret King of Long Island and Andrea Figueroa of Jamestown, each discussing how, through their profession, they touch the lives of children and families.

Another ad, with Diane Gonzalez of Goshen telling her story, began airing early this month.

Other voices and stories of NYSUT unionists — including members from higher education, health care and other professions represented by the union — will be added in the coming months.

The tag line for the ads and website is "It's what we do."

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi said that while the union was proud to showcase several of its many accomplished members, the ads are really intended to remind the public that the union is the people who do great work as they practice their professions in communities across New York.

"This campaign is about what we should be celebrating in education, and who is responsible for that," Iannuzzi said. "Others have tried to define us; sometimes demonize us. But lost in the rhetoric is that NYSUT is 600,000-plus men and women who go to work every day and successfully take on the most important responsibilities a society has: educating its youth and caring for the sick and indigent.

"It's what we do … and the public should be reminded of that."

Margaret King is a second-grade teacher at Medford Elementary School and an active member of the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers. She has taught for 28 years. Andrea Figueroa has taught for 10 years in the Jamestown schools and is vice president of the Jamestown Teachers Association.

Diane Gonzalez, secretary of the East Ramapo TA, is a veteran science teacher at Chestnut Ridge Middle School.