The Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees is feeling the loss of one of our own.
Joe Shannon, who died on Jan. 13 at age 92, served as one of the retirement system’s three teacher board members during the 1970s, a tumultuous time for New York City.
Joe began teaching in the early 1960s in the social studies department at Tottenville HS on Staten Island.
Not long after, in 1970, he became the UFT’s first Staten Island borough representative and in that role he oversaw the union’s development in the borough’s schools.
Joe also served as the UFT’s legislative representative in Albany, where he helped to secure many gains and protect many benefits for UFT members.
In the early 1970s, Joe was elected as one of three teacher-members of the retirement system board. He played a crucial role during New York City’s narrow escape from bankruptcy in 1975. New York City was in financial straits and needed to sell city bonds to stay afloat. The clock was running down when — after tough discussions that the UFT, led by Al Shanker, held with the city — Joe got reassurances that he would be doing his fiduciary duty by casting one of the critical votes authorizing the retirement system to purchase New York City bonds. This action saved the city from having to declare bankruptcy.
As a retirement system trustee for almost 20 years, Joe worked to ensure that the Teachers’ Retirement System invested its billions of dollars soundly, providing thousands of Board of Education employees with a secure financial future.
Goodbye, Joe. New York City educators thank you!