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Saturday April 29 2023 11:50 AM

Marilyn Manley: 'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Marilyn Manley has worn many hats. She started her education career as a paraprofessional in Queens District 28. After obtaining her degree in elementary education, she went on to teach sixth grade in neighboring District 27. The United Federation of Teachers member taught for 13 years before becoming a librarian.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Manley started her edu- cation career with students who faced their own difficulties. As a para, she worked with students classified as NIEH, neurologically impaired, emotionally handicapped.

“It took patience. It took guidance. I was being a mom, a dad, a doctor — all of those things to children that really needed it,” Manley recalled. The lessons she learned aided her throughout her career in the class- room — and in the union.

Manley climbed the union ranks from rank and file to chapter leader. In 2002, she was the first person of color to be elected district representative for Queens District 27. That position, like much of her union work, came with its own challenges. As a union leader for more than two decades, Manley helped navi- gate her fellow members through turbulent times including the aftermath of the terror attacks on 9/11; the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012; and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

“Life has totally changed since I began my career in public education, but one thing remains the same: The union is here for you. We are all in this together.”