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Trachtenberg Award

The UFT celebrates the accomplishments of its chapters, the heart and soul of the UFT, by bestowing Trachtenberg awards at Teacher Union Day.

About the honorees for the 2019-20 school year

Each November, the UFT hosts Teacher Union Day to commemorate the anniversary of the union’s strike in 1960 to gain collective bargaining rights and to honor the union activists of today. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UFT had to postponed its regular celebration but held a special virtual ceremony on Jan. 14 to recognize 28 chapter leaders who exemplify how the union can empower and organize members to use their professional voices to advocate for our students, for the safety of our school communities, and for public education.

Congratulations to the winners:

Elementary Schools 

School Chapter leader
PS 185M Kaitlyn Somerville
PS 124K Edmund Flickinger
PS 91K Veronica Antoine
PS 328K Tyona Marrimon
PS 217K Celeste Kurland  
PS 160Q Barbara Reill
PS 253Q Diana Fiore-Vosswinkel   
PS 91X Tracey Ball Eliason

Junior High/Middle Schools

School Chapter leader
IS 109Q Melissa Wall
IS 238Q Elizabeth Leder
MS 442K Damian Jones
JHS 352K Andrea Orr
IS 364K Mashantuck Bell
Evergreen MS for
Urban Exploration (K562) 

Erin Oates

IS 151X Maritza Ford
IS 180X Demetrios Tsoulos
MS 254X Telita Vilpin
MS 424X Richard Sellati  

High Schools

School Chapter leader
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis HS (M) Hector Colon
The Urban Assembly School of Emergency Management HS (M) Elise Ritter 
Progress High School for Professional Careers (K)  Ricardo Alexander
Victory Collegiate HS (K) Amy Miller
The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science (X)

Ross Chodan

High School of World Cultures (X) Aladji Sow
Antonia Pantoja Preparatory Academy: A College Board School (X) Carmen Santiago 

District 75

School Chapter leader
PS 721 Stephen McSweeney
School (X)
Lauren DiChiara

Functional Chapters 

Chapter Chapter leader
Social Workers, School
Psychologists Chapter
Raul Garcia
OT/PT Chapter Thomas Ayrovainen


About the Trachtenberg award

Ely Trachtenberg emerged as a teacher leader in a time in New York City when workers regularly engaged in fierce political debates centered around trade unionism.  Founding members and others around in the early years, said Trachtenberg’s theoretical acumen, coupled with first-rate organizing skills, made him a force for our union. What he recognized from the start was the importance of creating and nurturing unionism at its most basic level: the school chapter.

He had been an auto worker and noted how relationships that developed on the shop floor became the seedbed of cooperation and solidarity. Later, as a teacher unionist, Trachtenberg stressed the active participation of the rank-and-file through frequent chapter meetings, newsletters and social activities — any activity that brought people together. Sadly, because of his untimely death at age 40, he never lived to see the fruit of his efforts bloom into the network of communications that chapters and the UFT have today. The chapters being honored today carry on the tradition he began and the future he envisioned.