Around the UFT

School Secretaries Seminar

Learning tricks of the trade

Brooklyn members attending the seminar included (from left) AnnMarie Tacopino ofBruce CotlerBrooklyn members attending the seminar included (from left) AnnMarie Tacopino of PS 186 in Bensonhurst, Joanne Cardaci of PS 346 in East New York and Lisa Lombardi of PS 212 in Gravesend.

Audrey Almestica of PS 38 in East Harlem is ready to advertise her superpower.Bruce CotlerAudrey Almestica of PS 38 in East Harlem is ready to advertise her superpower. Alison Kearney, a school secretary at PS 62 in Richmond Hill, Queens, got some “helpful tips and tricks on how to react to and deal with difficult personalities without getting stressed out” at the UFT’s annual School Secretaries Seminar on Jan. 21. The 10-year veteran secretary said Tina Puccio, the coordinator of the union’s Member Assistance Program, was right-on in describing types of difficult people and how to deal with them at the afternoon plenary session at UFT headquarters. “We meet every one of those difficult people every day,” Kearney said, “so we have to be psychologists and social workers and deal with them with compassion and kindness.” For Audrey Almestica of PS 38 in East Harlem in Manhattan, “the whole day was wonderful.” A school secretary for just two months, she was able to get a problem solved at one seminar as well as learn “the tools to work with” difficult situations in the front office, where she deals with school staff, parents and others who walk in. Both school secretaries agreed that Clayton Newman, the supervisor of medical leaves and records administration at the city Department of Education, did a thorough and interesting job of explaining all types of leaves — from medical to line-of-duty leaves — and the online leave application form. “The secretaries received valuable professional development and enjoyed the added benefit of a chance to network with other school secretaries,” said School Secretaries Chapter Leader Mona Gonzalez, who organized the event.

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