September/October 2022 Issue
August 30, 2022

NYSUT Legacy Fund: Phil Cleary, an inspiring, motivating leader

Source: NYSUT United
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Phil Cleary

Every local needs a leader like Phil Cleary — someone who’s dedicated, hard working and a staunch unionist.

Prior to retiring from teaching preschool special education a few years ago, Cleary was the North Syracuse Education Association’s longest serving vice president. While there, he advocated tirelessly on behalf of fellow members and spearheaded get-out-the-vote efforts as a NYSUT political action coordinator and a Committee of 100 activist.

Cleary is also an active community member, serving on the CORE Federal Credit Union’s board of directors and as an executive board member for the Central New York Area Labor Federation. To keep educators informed about important news in public education, and promote social justice and unionism, Cleary launched NYTN, an online news service, on Facebook and Twitter several years ago.

His years of service inspired the NSEA to nominate him for the NYSUT Legacy Fund. “Phil has dedicated so much of his life to supporting the welfare of others,” said John Kuryla, NSEA president. “He’s a good unionist and a good man. I credit him with shaping Onondaga County’s political landscape for teachers.”

To honor an in-service or retiree activist from your area, visit

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