September 2016 Issue
September 29, 2016


Source: NYSUT United

Marcella Fugle

Fugle, a biology teacher, became a building representative for the Hamburg Teachers Association shortly after earn­ing tenure in 1967. Nearly six years later, she gathered the support of Western New York teachers and the votes needed to form one statewide union through the merger of the New York State Teachers Association and the United Teachers of New York.

An early advocate for the establish­ment of teacher centers, Fugle served on the NYSUT Teacher Center Task Force and was instrumental in establishing the Southtown Teacher Center, serving as director for 14 years.

Before retiring from the NYSUT Board in 2000, Fugle served several terms as director of Election District 1 and as an at-large director for ED 1 and 2, and then as vice president of the NYSUT Western New York Retiree Council and chair­woman of the area retiree political action committee.

In 2003, Fugle received NYSUT's "Not For Ourselves Alone," The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, the union's most prestigious honor for female leaders.

Rosalie McLean

Longtime union activist and founding NYSUT leader Rosalie McLean died Sept. 2 at the age of 89. She served for decades as the president of Amherst Education Association in Erie County and dedicated more than 50 years of service to NYSUT and the union movement.

Though McLean had been in the classroom on and off since 1947, she became a union activist in the 1970s when the Amherst district started laying off school nurse/teachers, some near retirement.

"The motivation was simply saving money," McLean recalled. She and other teachers argued before the school board on the school nurse/teachers' behalf.

The experience showed McLean the importance of the union. She became negotiations and grievance chairwom­an, vice president and then president of the Amherst EA. One grievance from the '70s was for a teacher fired because of his haircut. McLean served as a mem­ber of the first NYSUT Retiree Advisory Committee and was the founding presi­dent for Retiree Council 2.

Carmen G. Franco | Aug. 15, 2016
United Federation of Teachers

Mildred Lucille Gersh | Aug. 6, 2016
United Federation of Teachers

Mildred Lucille Gersh (nee Gerst) passed away at the age of 95. Mildred retired from the NYC Department of Education. She was a teacher at PS 78, the Bronx, and subsequently a Reading Coordinator for School District 11, the Bronx. She was a member of the International Literacy Association and President of the Bronx Reading Council. Mildred was always on the cutting edge of innovate initiatives in reading. Mildred’s interests included travel, playing bridge, knitting and the arts.

Her husband, David Gersh, a NYC Department of Education social worker, predeceased her. She is survived by daughters Jane Gersh Hecht, Dr. Beth Gersh-Nesic (Dusan Nesic), son Dr. Richard Gersh (Jane Russin Gersh), three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mildred’s sister, Estelle Gerst Epstein, died in 2015.

Mildred was very proud of her family and her career. Mildred attained leadership positions in every organization she joined. She was named "Woman of the Year" (2007) by the Orah-Sunrise Chapter of Hadassah. Donations, in Mildred's memory, may be made to Hadassah.

Edward J. Kane | Aug. 14, 2016
West Valley Teachers Association

Robert J. Miller | Aug. 28, 2016
Lackawanna Teachers Federation

Ernie Reis | Sept. 8, 2016
Retiree Council 10

Neal B. Sorkin | March 5, 2016
Jamesville-Dewitt Faculty Association

Neal B. Sorkin ('59), 73, of Jamesville, New York was a beloved social studies teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School for over thirty years, and served on the Board of Directors of New York State United Teachers for 23 consecutive years. He is survived by his wife Carol, son Andrew, grandchildren Lily and Gabe, and brother Martin.

Full obituaries, if provided, are available at Submissions must include decedent's full name, union affiliation and date of death, and contact information for the person submitting the notice.

Fax notices to 518-213-6415; send to Andrew Watson, NYSUT United, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110-2455; or email