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NYSUT gets new leadership

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NYSUT's new leadership slate (l-r): Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner, Vice President Catalina Fortino, President Karen Magee, Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta and Vice President Paul Pecorale.

NYSUT delegates elected a new president along with a slate of other new officers in a contested election at the state teachers' union's 42nd Representative Assembly.

Karen Magee, president of the Harrison Association of Teachers in Westchester County, won as president over incumbent Dick Iannuzzi in the election Saturday evening. She is the first woman to lead NYSUT and the state union's third president.

"I ran as an independent voice for change and that is how I will serve," Magee said, speaking Sunday, moments after the convention in New York City officially ended and her presidency began. "It is time for NYSUT to exert itself as a powerful political force in this state once again.

Magee headed the victorious slate of candidates called Revive that said NYSUT needed new leadership to fight more effectively in Albany and across the state to protect and strengthen public education and to beat back attacks on public employees and public-worker unions.

NYSUT delegates also re-elected Andrew Pallotta as executive vice president. UFT Vice President of Education Catalina Fortino was elected as a new NYSUT vice president, as was Paul Pecorale, president of the local union in Patchogue-Medford in Long Island.

Martin Messner, head of the local in Schoharie west of Albany, was elected secretary-treasurer.

NYSUT delegates also voted "no confidence" in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King Jr. and called for his removal. In other resolutions, delegates formally withdrew the union's support for the Common Core standards as interpreted and implemented in New York State and supported the rights of parents and guardians to opt their children out of high-stakes tests.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the UFT thanks Iannuzzi and the other former NYSUT officers for their commitment and hard work and  looks forward  to working with the new NYSUT leadership.

"We have always taken great pride in working with and supporting our colleagues across the state," Mulgrew said.

AFT President Randi Weingarten addressed delegates shortly before the end of the convention.

"Our new leaders will need our strong support as they collectively move forward on behalf of our members and the communities they serve," she said. "We need strength and unity to take on the war that is being waged against public education and the labor movement."