Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant

Kathryn Dein
North Babylon Teachers Organization


Kathryn Dein, an AIS math teacher and new local president of the North Babylon Teachers Organization, has received the Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant. Each year, NYSUT awards a grant of $2,000 to help up-and-coming women activists develop leadership skills, network with other union leaders and build union and community involvement. Dein has been working with a union action committee creating community events, the Parent Youth Activity Center and local civic organizations. She wants to attend leadership programs and take part in coalition building training.

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

  • 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