Robin Rapaport, former NYSUT vice president, longtime NEA/NY leader Former NYSUT officer, longtime labor leader and political activist Robin D. Rapaport died May 14. He was 81.
Emigrating from Poland to Canada with his family in the years after World War II, and then to the U.S., Robin learned English through the patient efforts of his classroom teachers. The experience ultimately shaped his classroom style during a career that spanned more than 30 years as a teacher on Long Island, in Central New York and the Capital District.
His experiences in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer with the 101st Airborne Division helped sharpen his focus on political action as a key activity for education unionists. It was important, he said, for union members to keep lawmakers accountable as they are the people making decisions about our lives.
Robin served as a NYSUT vice president from 2006–08, following the unification with NEA/NY that he helped to achiev
. Prior to that he had been vice president (1997–2003) and president (2003–06) of NEA/NY.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Linda Rosenblatt Rapaport; daughter Lisa (Charles S. Smith III); son, Adam; grandchildren, Ava and Lily; and a host of family and friends.