NYSUT Communications |
Friday May 03 2024 4:31 PM

Elizabeth Perez, 'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Elizabeth Perez’s education about the union began at home. Her father was a journeyman with the IBEW, Local 3, for over 30 years, and later a union shop steward. Perez and her siblings were encouraged from an early age to be actively involved in preserving the rights and protections afforded by union membership for themselves and those that followed.

Growing up, Perez knew she wanted to be a teacher. From her earliest days playing school, to her first job as a classroom observer at 14, her path was straight and true. “For me, there was no other career I was going to do. It was a call to service, and that’s how I see myself — as a servant leader, called to service,” she explained. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in education and took a job as a bilingual/ESL teacher at PS 160 in Brooklyn.

Perez joined the UFT immediately and was soon elected chapter leader, a position she held for over 18 years. She was recruited to serve as a staffer at the Brooklyn office because of her advocacy for membership. She was promoted to Special Representative, and eventually took on the added responsibility of Political Action Coordinator. She was named Brooklyn Borough Representative in 2015. Perez and her team focus on providing the highest quality service with a personal touch.

“It’s a huge responsibility, but we do it with pride. We do it because we believe in the work we do and the importance of unionism,” said Perez, who serves as a member of NYSUT’s Board of Directors, delegate to the NYSUT and AFT conventions, an instructor at the chapter leader trainings and member of the UFT’s Action Committee.