Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant

Lori Griffin
Copenhagen Teachers Association

Lori Griffin is an English teacher with the Copenhagen Central School District and longtime leader and activist with the Copenhagen Teachers Association.

Griffin is a graduate of NYSUT’s Leadership Institute and member of her local’s Local Action Project team as well as the union’s political action committee. She was a founding member of a regional PAC of NYSUT locals.

A one-time radio personality with several Watertown stations, Griffin has spearheaded a grassroots campaign to address the teacher short-age in the North Country. The campaign has been used by NYSUT as a template for other locals to follow.

Griffin is the proud product of the State University of New York, with degrees from Oswego and Potsdam.


About the Leadership Grant

To celebrate and commemorate the life of union pioneer Sandy Feldman, the Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant in the amount of $2,000 has been established as a result of the generosity and vision of Sandy's husband, Arthur Barnes.

The Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant was created to help further the development of emerging women leaders who are dedicated to the principles that Feldman exemplified: unionism, leadership and a commitment to human and civil rights. The recipient will be awarded the $2,000 grant to further her development as a union leader, helping with expenses such as union activities, training and conferences; or to defray costs associated with union involvement, i.e., travel or childcare.

About Sandy Feldman

sandy feldman

A teacher and unionist, Sandy Feldman (1939-2005) had a groundbreaking career as a union leader in NYSUT, the AFT and her home local, the UFT in New York City. Her career in education and labor spanned more than four decades. From her beginnings as a second-grade teacher on New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1960s, Sandy rose quickly through the union ranks, organizing staff on her first job. Shortly thereafter, she took a job as a full-time field representative for the UFT, handling grievances, contract negotiations and a range of issues. She eventually took over the reins of the union, becoming its president in 1986. She was elected to head the AFT in 1997. In the process, she became a staunch advocate for civil rights and social justice, participating in the Freedom Rides of the 1960s and the historic 1963 March on Washington, evolving into a proponent of civic education and democracy in the international arena and a leading voice in the national and international labor movement.

Grant Winners

  • 2018: Lori Griffin
  • 2017: Kathryn Dein
  • 2016: Dawn Townsend
  • 2015: Mary Wills
  • 2014: Debbie Kydon
  • 2013: Janine Gibney
  • 2012: Kressent Pottenger
  • 2011: Michele E. Brockner
  • 2010: Lori Rider
  • 2009: Andrea Figueroa
  • 2008: Michelle Pancoe
  • 2007: Marianne Hegge
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