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Teacher Union Day Honorees

Teacher Union Day banner gfx - 2023

Teacher Union Day takes place around the anniversary of the 1960 strike that forged our union. On this day, we honor the past leaders who inspire us and celebrate our present leaders who continue in their footsteps.

2023 Honorees

Charles Cogen Award

For outstanding service to the union rendered by a veteran leader

  • Debra Penny, UFT Treasurer

Jules Kolodny Award

Given to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership and commitment to the trade union movement with years of leadership yet to be fulfilled.

  • Carl Cambria, Manhattan Borough Representative and chief union negotiator

David Wittes Award

Given to a person or a group that has shown outstanding courage, dedication and commitment to the ideals of the UFT

  • Victoria Lee, Teacher-Member of Teachers’ Retirement Board

Audrey Chasen Award 

Given in memory of Audrey Chasen, a former teacher mentor in the New York City public schools

  • Rashad Brown, UFT Member Representative

Sidney Harris Award 

Given to an outstanding union leader and educator

  • Raul Garcia, Chair of School Psychologists & Social Workers Chapter

Backer-Scheintaub Award 

Given to honor the lives of Gerald Backer and Mildred Scheintaub by encouraging potential new teacher union leaders

  • Trisha Arnold, UFT Member Representative
  • Emily James, UFT Member Representative 

Marsh/Raimo Award 

Given in recognition of political action

  • Seth Gilman
  • Clifford Hagen
  • Seung Lee
  • Benjie Leon
  • Vincent Pedulla
  • Aladji Sow

Albert Lee Smallheiser Award 

This award recognizes the work of educators who strive to improve the working conditions of their colleagues

  • Deshanna Barker
  • Glenn Erlich
  • Marquis Harrison
  • Dina Hassan
  • Stuart Kaplan
  • Christina McGrath
  • Caroline Murphy
  • Penny Setoute
  • Anesa Soleyn
  • William Woodruff


Ely Trachtenberg Award

Awarded to outstanding chapter leaders

Elementary Schools

School Chapter leader
PS 9M Tarissa Whitley
PS 72M Fernando Alvarez
PS 94M Victoria Orozco
PS 115M Evelyn C. Vargas
PS 130M  Wai Mei
PS 184M Brian Dornicik
PS 191M  Antiqua Lewis
PS 192M Claribel Riss
PS 197M Dawn Anderson
Central Park East II (M)  Clarissa Lynn
Thurgood Marshall Academy
Lower School (M)
Pamela Patterson-Moore
PS 5K Sheree Choy
PS 12K Maria Small Laidlaw
PS 40K Tanya Burrowes
PS 46K Medina Selmanovic
PS 67K Evita Clemmons (Smith)
PS 84K Denise Comenzo
PS 92K Beverly Thenor
PS 99K Kevin O'Donnell
PS 217K Celeste Kurland
PS 222K Kathleen Kelly
PS 279K Elaine Haynesworth
PS 295K Natalie Meade
PS 368K Mark John
PS 384K Peter Saccoccio
PS 41Q Megan Smith
PS 88Q Cari Ann Lobello
PS 96Q Desiree Vining
PS 108Q Danielle Romano
PS 112Q Dutch Hills Jennifer Immello
PS 116Q Leah Cromer
PS 120Q Elizabeth Moloney
PS 121Q Erika Croce
PS 124Q Stacey Lynch
PS 135Q Shantae Jones
PS 155Q Grace Youmans
PS 184Q Phyllis Kavadias
PS 186Q Christina Tewksbury
PS 255Q Evelyn Negron Ishicheri
PS 305Q Learners & Leaders  Danielle Dolan
PS 398Q Kaitlynn Kelly
PS 30X Sandy Wong
PS 47X Genoveba Smith
PS 57X Laurence Sachs
PS 146X Simone Reed
Rose Hill Pre-K Center (X) Nadine Lubka
PS 46R Grace Seddio-DiMaio
PS 78R Randi Leibson

Junior High/Middle Schools

School Chapter leader
MS 114M Melissa Nathan
NYC Lab MS for
Collaborative Studies (M) 
Alexandra Fischer
IS 30K Traci Tucker
IS 98K John Tutone
IS 346K Mashantuck Bell
IS 349K Lee Resnick
IS 392K Michelle Lowe-Calixte
MS 51K Kristin Golat-DeFendis
MS 266K Viola Scott
MS 936K Jonathan Baras
Middle School for
Art & Philosophy (K)
Dexter Braithewaite
Brooklyn Collaborative Studies (K)  Tamika Styles
IS 5Q Nicole Keaster
MS 462X Dawnette Phelps
One World Middle School
@ Edenwald (X)
Jerilyn Fueller

High Schools

School Chapter leader
Eleanor Roosevelt High School (M) Arturo Molina
Lower Manhattan Arts Academy High School (M) Christopher Ahern
Stephen T. Mather Building 
Arts & Craftsmanship HS (M)
Ivette Dobarganes
Union Square Academy for Health Sciences (M) Colin Lerner
Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance (K) Pauline Brown
Brooklyn International HS (K) Amanda McKenna
Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts HS (K) Jamecia Forsythe
Brownsville Academy HS (K) Jennifer Browne
Cobble Hill School of American Studies (K) Melissa Back-Ulloa
George Westinghouse HS (K) Jennifer Gorman Stokes
HS for Innovation & Media (K) Anthony Fusari
HS for Service & Learning (K) Thomas Nixon
Professional Pathways HS (K) Elizabeth Weinert
Science Technology & Research HS (K) David Connelly
Sunset Park HS (K) Dan Wever
Grover Cleveland HS (Q) Paula Levine
Pathways to Graduation HS (Q) Michael Friedman
Port Richmond HS (R) Donna Ryan
Susan Wagner HS (R) Alison Kaminsky

District 75

School  Chapter leader
PS 368K  Mark John
PS 94M Victoria Orozco

District 79

School Chapter leader
Professional Pathways HS (K)  Elizabeth Weinert
Brownsville Academy HS (K)  Jennifer Browne
Pathways to Graduation HS (Q)  Michael Friedman

Functional Chapters

Chapter Chapter leader
Hearing Education Services  Raquel Sepulveda
Speech Improvement Caroline Murphy

Union Service Awards

10-Year Chapter Leaders

Sarah Abodunrin

Arthur Avila

Marie Baker

Corrine Barros

Pauline Brown

Guido Caligara

Fred Cassara

Pellumb Cela

Sandra Cohen

James Council

Maria Difava

Elizabeth Green


Amy Gruttadaro

Nichele Haynes-Trant

Denise Huggins

Dana Kirton

Susan Kowal

Grace Law

Susan Leblanc-Mark

Michele Mosca

Beatriz Perez

Fredda Pichardo

Nick Rimpici


Jessica Rivera

Robert Roache

Yalisa Rodriguez

Daniel Rosenbaum

Lauren Ruddy

Craig Scheiner

Jacquelyn Shendler

Marcia-jo Shepherd

Jodi Siegel

Katy Terry

Tara Walsh

Juan Yearwood

Anthony Zalak 


15-Year Chapter Leaders

Derrick Brown

Bessie Chance

Debra Elhari

Federico Fraguada

Luther Lohr

Christina Lopez

Tammie Miller

Georgia Nikoloudakis

Virginia Nunez

Joann Pagano

Chanelle Poole

Elizabeth Ramos

Nannetta Smith


20-Year Chapter Leaders

Tracie Abrigo

Jennifer Deluca

Lee Nelson

Lauri Posner

Sandra Wilks-