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Friday, June 9, will be a remote workday for all DOE employees due to the unhealthy air quality. It will be a remote-instruction day for students scheduled to be in attendance.

Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Emma Gomez, PS 206, Queens

For championing ‘March Madness’ and lifting spirits
New York Teacher
Emma Gomez
Jonathan Fickies

Emma Gomez, PS 206, Queens 

Emma Gomez had to be coaxed into accepting the chapter leader job at PS 206 in Rego Park, Queens, in September, but by March, she was all in. She organized an activity every weekday that month as part of the Queens UFT borough office’s March Madness initiative in schools to help boost morale and build strong chapters.

“Emma would get everyone together to brainstorm ideas,” said Meryl Buki, a fellow teacher at the K-5 school that has roughly 500 students.

“March is a very long month,” Gomez said, referring to the lack of school holidays or breaks. Coming up with new ideas daily, she said, “gave us something to look forward to.”

There was Superhero Day, when Buki raised eyebrows at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts by ordering coffee in a Supergirl costume, complete with cape. There was a faculty basketball game in the spirit of the NCAA college tournament that gave the month-long initiative its name, and Crazy Socks Day, when Gomez said some students got in the spirit, too, by wearing their own wild hosiery.

PS 206

PS 206Q Chapter Leader Emma Gomez (center, in orange chapeau) included a day of educators donning headgear as part of her monthlong effort to build camaraderie during the citywide March Madness initiative sponsored by the UFT.

PS 206 was one of 190 Queens schools that organized March Madness activities.

“Any time we come together, we are expressing ourselves as a union,” said UFT Queens Borough Representative Amy Arundell, explaining why she planned the initiative. “The heart of the union is collective action. If people can come together in good times, they are more likely to come together in bad times, too.”

District 28 Representative Angela Artis said every day of the month brought a new submission from Gomez and her colleagues for the Queens UFT Facebook group. “For a new chapter leader, it was nice to see her shine and put a smile on people’s faces after a rough year,” said Artis.

Buki said Gomez’s success as a new chapter leader didn’t surprise her. She will “jump in and give it her all when she sees a need,” Buki said. “That is who Emma is.”

Gomez, a 15-year veteran, has taught science at PS 206 since 2012. She had been reluctant to take on the demanding duties of a chapter leader but looking back, she said, “I’m glad I was able to do it.”

Related Topics: Chapter Leaders