The UFT has lost another of its founding members with the passing of Roger Parente, who died in August at the age of 86.
Parente’s name is one of the 50 inscribed on the union’s Wall of Honor in the lobby of union headquarters as among “a handful of courageous rebels who defied formidable odds to achieve dignity, respect and professionalism for public school teachers.”
Described as the firebrand leader of the High School Teachers Association, Parente was an English teacher by day and an English as a second language teacher at night at Grace Dodge Vocational HS in the Bronx.
By 1962, Parente was serving as UFT vice president and as chairman of the salary committee, the union’s chief financial negotiator.
Years later, former UFT President Al Shanker remembered Parente as “a natural leader; he exuded strength and had charisma.”
Parente retired in 1979 after 29 years in the system and moved to California.
Michelle, one of his four daughters, said he spoke often about the early union struggle and his pride in the part he played. “He was saddened by the way teachers are under attack today,” she said.
— Dorothy Callaci