Ready to serve as the first woman president for the state’s 600,000-member teachers union, Harrison teachers union head Karen Magee was elected to the position this past month.
Magee, who was head of the Harrison Association of Teachers for 11 years, unseated prior New York State United Teachers, NYSUT, president Richard Iannuzzi for the position to head the largest union in the state. She promised to bring the union back to the political forefront.
“It is time for NYSUT to exert itself as a powerful, political force in this state once again,” Magee said. “I am humbled to be elected to serve as president of this great union.”
More than 2,300 union delegates voted in an April 5 election in Manhattan at the 42nd annual representative assembly of the union at the New York Hilton Midtown. Magee—who started as a Harrison elementary school teacher 30 years ago—is the union’s first woman president and third president overall after Ianuzzi lost the position he held since 2005 during this year’s elections.
Prior to Ianuzzi, Tom Hobart served as NYSUT president for 33 years.
A lifelong West Harrison resident, Magee stressed the importance of women in the union. She said since more than 70 percent of the union is comprised of women, a female president was overdue.
“This election has made history in a couple of ways, and I’m extremely proud to be the first woman to serve as president,” Magee said. “I look forward to reinforcing the message to our next generation of activists that yes, a woman’s place is in our union.”
Going forward, the newly elected president promised union members their voices will be heard and the union would experience a return to form, becoming a more powerful presence than ever.
“In the days ahead, we will be asking members across the state what it is they want and what it is they need from their union in order to do their jobs,” she said.
Magee is a member of NYSUT’s board of directors and the union’s policy council. She is an elected representative of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and has served as an officer of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO, for more than a decade.
NYSUT is affiliated with the national unions American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
-Reporting by Phil Nobile