Leo Gordon, a New York City public school teacher for more than 26 years, has been elected the UFT’s vice president for career and technical education high schools by the union’s Executive Board. He succeeds Sterling Roberson, who retired in September.
Gordon, who began his CTE career as a graduate of the Success Via Apprenticeship (SVA) program, the joint UFT-Department of Education CTE teacher training program, has taught in three boroughs and, in 2016, joined the UFT Teacher Center as an instructional coach specializing in CTE and instructional technology.
Gordon helped several city high schools create CTE programs based on industry trends. In 2018, he helped launch a CTE middle school pilot program in five middle schools. He also helped secure grants for schools at risk of losing their CTE programs.
“In one word, he is phenomenal,” said Laurie Kingsberry, who worked with Gordon at the Teacher Center. “When everything turned to online services because of the pandemic, he was there to support me and others as we made the transition. He assisted me in integrating all the subjects for CTE.”
Gordon has also coordinated citywide CTE events, professional development programs and conferences, and he has been the local coordinator of the AFT Teacher Leader program, where he works with Long Island City HS culinary arts teacher Laura Parker.
“Leo has inspired me to fine-tune my thinking and my pedagogical practices,” said Parker, who is in her third year as a co-facilitator of the program. “He has educated and motivated me to grow in my activism for CTE and the union.”
Parker considers Gordon a mentor and praised his dedication and passion for career and technical education. “In my 15 years of teaching, I have seen nothing but growth in the CTE space, and I am excited to see Leo’s leadership and vision continue this work.”
Gordon grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and majored in career and technical education at the New York City College of Technology, also in Brooklyn. He has taught information technology, graphic design, media design, art and architectural drafting at the HS of Art and Design in Manhattan, Bushwick HS in Brooklyn and Ralph R. McKee and Tottenville high schools on Staten Island.
Gordon hopes to strengthen CTE programs and continue building the link between CTE and middle schools.
“Harnessing the student’s passion early on is important,” he said. “Skilled trades are the future. When the pandemic hit, the skilled trades were in demand, and there was a shortage of workers.”
Married for 21 years, Gordon and his wife, Vindhia, live in New Jersey. They have two college-age daughters.