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Michael Mulgrew became the fifth president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in August 2009 and was elected to a full term by the UFT membership in April 2010.
As UFT president, Michael has advanced the union’s commitment to transforming education in New York City and to elevating the role of parents and the community in governing our schools. Building strong alliances and creating opportunities for collaboration with parent, civic and community groups, has become a hallmark of Michael’s presidency. A staunch advocate for equality in education and fairness for all working families, Michael led advocacy campaigns for educational equity, for transparency and oversight in school governance as well as for jobs and city services. He was instrumental in organizing the Keep the Promises, One New York: Fighting for Fairness and A Strong Economy for All coalitions between 2008 and 2011 that led to the restoration of hundreds of millions of classroom dollars and city services. His persuasive negotiation skills have helped avert teacher layoffs and bolster resources targeted to struggling schools.
In 2010, Michael reached a landmark agreement with the Department of Education to close the Teacher Reassignment Centers (rubber rooms) and led lawsuits with parents and community education advocates against the DOE for failing to reduce class size and for wrongfully closing 19 schools.
Affirming that educators need to find new ways to validate what they know to be true about the complexities of teaching and learning and to bring their voice to the reform debate, Michael negotiated a new teacher evaluation agreement with the New York State Education Department and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) that includes multiple evaluation measures and provides teachers with opportunities and supports to improve their skills. Michael was a chief proponent of combining the skills and resources of the UFT with the Teachers Center to proactively train hundreds of teachers in the Common Core State Standards well in advance of the DOE’s system-wide introduction.
In addition to his UFT responsibilities, Michael is a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and an executive board member of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). Michael also sits on the boards of the Council for Unity, CUNY’s Joseph S. Murphy Center for Labor, Community, & Policy Studies, and New Visions for Public Schools. He has received numerous labor, education and public service honors including the 2011 NAACP Benjamin L. Hooks “Keeper of the Flame” award.
Before being elected President of the UFT, he served as vice president for Career & Technical Education (CTE) high schools and later chief operating officer of the union, which represents 200,000 teachers, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and other personnel in New York City’s public schools, along with nurses and home day care providers.
A Staten Island native, Michael attended CUNY’s College of Staten Island and has degrees in English literature and special education.