May 2013 Issue
April 25, 2013

NYSUT honors professional excellence with 2013 Constituency Awards

Source: NYSUT United

Delegates recognized the winners of the 2013 NYSUT Constituency Awards. Members are first nominated by their locals for outstanding service. After they are reviewed, the winning selections are approved by the NYSUT Board of Directors. They are:

Health care professional of the year

Jason Kahn
Rockland BOCES Staff Association

Jason Kahn

Kahn has spent 12 years as a school social worker serving the mental health needs of a diverse population of students at Rockland County BOCES. He also has served as a building rep and currently is a member of the negotiating team and the Local Action Project team for the Rockland BOCES Staff Association.

Kahn developed and organized the local staff association newsletter, and he promotes and demonstrates excellence through his positions as both a union representative and a BOCES social worker.

He continually advocates for harmonious working environments by modeling positive work styles.

School-Related Professional of the Year

Hilda Monfredo
Western Sullivan United Teachers and SRPs

Hilda Monfredo

Monfredo, a teacher aide at Sullivan West, researched a way to begin a union-run food pantry, and the WSUT & SRP Backpack Pantry began in fall 2011. To date, 191 backpacks have been delivered to 14 needy families in the Sullivan West school district. The backpacks go home with children every other week. Union members donate food and money.

Monfredo manages the entire program. She contacts families about receiving assistance, keeps inventory of the pantry and packs the backpacks to go home. Her high level of professionalism, caring nature and devotion to the students is shown through her ability to persevere and maintain the program while preserving anonymity for the recipients of the backpacks.

During her 18 years of service, she has negotiated the past two SRP contracts. She's also a NYSUT Education & Learning Trust instructor and sits on the SRP sick bank committee.

Retiree members of the year

Joseph P. McLaughlin
Harrison Association of Teachers

Joseph P. McLaughlin

McLaughlin was elected as a teacher-member of the state Teachers' Retirement System Board of Directors in 1990, and served NYSUT members throughout the state for 18 years. He eventually became the first teacher-member elected president of the TRS board.

A high school teacher for more than 40 years and a longtime former president of the Harrison AT, McLaughlin continues to serve on the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust Board of Trustees and as an at-large director on the NYSUT Board representing retirees.

Eleanor Guido
United Federation of Teachers

Eleanor Guido

Guido, an activist for 50 years, has participated in every strike of the UFT and marched at all the union's rallies.

She has served on many professional and ethnic committees such as the UFT's Italian-American and the Irish-American heritage committees. Guido has assisted with the running of the UFT Westchester retiree section. Her everyday activity for the UFT epitomizes the strength of the rank and file members, which is what has made the UFT such a strong union.

Guido spent a career dedicated to teaching hearing-impaired students at JHS 47.

Higher education members of the year

Kevin Peterman
Faculty Association of Suffolk CC

Kevin Peterman

Kevin Peterman is a professor of library services at Suffolk CC and executive vice president of the Faculty Association. In 2005, he received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

As chair of the Political Action Committee, he works constantly to educate elected officials and candiĀ­dates about the role of the college and what is needed for it to function effectively. Peterman has provided invaluable advice and guidance to many faculty members as they face the promotion cycle. He also has provided essential support for his local at the bargaining table.

Judith Barbanel
Professional Staff Congress

Judith Barbanel

When English Department members at Queensborough Community College stood up to the City University of New York's new Pathways curriculum, which would reduce classroom hours with students, Judith Barbanel, their PSC chapter chair, never faltered.

No matter how much pressure was put on her by the college president and the administration, Barbanel never wavered in her support for her colleagues. The department has maintained its position and continues to preserve the time in class that students need.

Delegates recognized the winners of the 2013 NYSUT Constituency Awards.