Roy Pikser, Teacher from UFT
* Long Island City HS, Queens
Roy Pikser’s colleagues are prepared for a big void at Long Island City HS when it reopens. “Our building will not be the same,” said fellow teacher Laura Parker.
“There has been an outpouring of grief by the school community in the last few days,” Chapter Leader Megan Howard said, because Roy always put “Long Island City HS at the top of his priority list.”
Roy, 59, died on April 23.
He was a teacher for 36 years and spent the last 25 years teaching industrial arts, including technology, at Long Island City. He ran one of the last school printing shops and in recent years was teaching video production.
Roy arrived in 1995 when the school’s current building opened. He was an early bird, the first one to the building most days, always sitting on the front steps and welcoming staff.
Said Parker: “I’ve been on a number of calls this week where the overall sentiment was that Roy just always thought of others. Every teacher who shared memories of Roy began with their first day of teaching, when Roy would take it upon himself to be the welcoming committee. Afterward, he was always there to guide them and always asked, ‘What do you need?’ Roy was kind and caring and he had an uncanny way of quickly sizing up your emotions. And the students looked up to him.”
Ken Achiron, a retired former chapter leader, said, “Roy was always willing to add to his own work to help colleagues and students.”
Through a program coordinated by the UFT Teacher Center, Roy trained teachers working toward master’s degrees in instructional technology from the New York Institute of Technology, and several Long Island City staff members were his students. One of them, Matthew Malench, is now an assistant principal at the school. “Roy was an innovator in technology education, always striving to find new ways to further his practice,” Malench said.
Rita Danis, a Teacher Center co-director, was his student in two classes at PS 19 in Manhattan. “He was an amazing teacher with an expertise in instructional technology that he shared with so many teachers,” she said.
Achiron remembered Roy wheeling his mother, Yetta Pikser, a former paraprofessional and UFT delegate, around local and state union functions when she was confined to a wheelchair after a fall.
Roy, who was known for his quirky sense of humor, also was passionate about board games. He recently started an after-school gaming club and donated dozens of games.
Debbie Pikser said her husband and their son Zachary, who is 17 and a high school senior, were “one person.”
In addition to his wife and son, Roy is survived by his brother, Larry Pikser.
Condolences can be sent to:
The Pikser Family
67 Elm Drive
Levittown, NY 11756