Victoria Lee, a UFT pension representative since 2016, has been elected to complete the remainder of Debra Penny’s term as a trustee of the Teachers’ Retirement System board. The term will end in May 2025.
Penny, who continues to serve as UFT treasurer, had been the chair of the TRS board. Lee, who was endorsed to fill the vacant position by a UFT Delegate Assembly resolution in December, was elected unopposed to the board.
Effective Feb. 1, Lee joined Tom Brown and David Kazansky as the three teacher representatives on the seven-member board. The mayor appoints two of the members, and the city comptroller and the schools chancellor each choose one.
“Victoria Lee is most capable of fulfilling the fiduciary responsibilities of this position,” said Brown, who was elected as the new chair of the TRS board in January.
Lee began her career in New York City public schools in 1997 as a teacher at PS 143 in Corona, Queens. Two years later, she moved to a neighboring school, PS 16, and was elected its chapter leader in 2009. The following year, she trained to become a pension consultant for the Queens UFT borough office, even as she continued teaching. “The UFT trained me, and I fell in love with it,” she said.
Her aptitude for pension work quickly became apparent. After becoming a UFT pension rep in 2016, the union soon had Lee running pension clinics and workshops throughout the city. Kazansky said he was thrilled by Lee’s election to the board. “I have been working with Victoria closely for the last seven years and have been constantly impressed with her dedication and her intelligence,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to support our members,” Lee said of her TRS board post. “Very few Americans have a defined-benefit plan, so it’s wonderful that New York City public school educators do.”