New York State United Teachers has a new president after delegates voted to replace Richard Iannuzzi with a Westchester County teacher.
Nearly 3,000 NYSUT delegates voted Saturday to elect Karen Magee as the union’s first female president. She succeeds Iannuzzi, who has served as president since April 2005.
“Our team stands for change and our work begins now,” Magee said in a statement. “That includes taking on the tough fights and communicating clearly with decision makers at every level.”
Magee was elected for a three-year term. She has been an elementary and special education teacher for about 30 years in Harrison, Westchester County, and head of the Harrison Association of Teachers. Magee is also an elected representative to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.
During the union’s annual Representative Assembly in New York City over the weekend, NYSUT delegates re-elected Andrew Pallotta as executive vice president and voted in Catalina Fortino and Paul Pecorale as vice presidents.
Martin Messner, a health and physical education teacher in Schoharie, was elected as secretary and treasurer of NYSUT. He is also president of the Schoharie Teachers’ Association.
“This election has revitalized NYSUT,” Magee said. “The record-braking participation in this election shows how deeply members care about their union. This commitment and passion will carry us forward into a new generation of activism.”
NYSUT is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members, the majority of whom work in education but also some in health care in human services. The union has pushed back against policies of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Education Department such as the Common Core learning standards and teacher-evaluation system.
The union’s delegates on Saturday unanimously voted “no confidence” in state Education Commissioner John King and are calling for his removal. King has faced widespread criticism for the implementation of the Common Core. Third- through eighth-grade students in New York took a second round of Common Core-based exams this past week.
“We will be the voice they cannot ignore,” Magee said. “We will defend public education and public service. Period.”