President, American Federation of Teachers New Jersey, 2011-Present
Donna M. Chiera is president of the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ), leading the 30,000-member education union federation.
A lifelong teacher, Donna retired in 2011 after spending more than 30 years in Perth Amboy Public Schools, the town where she grew up and attended school. Chiera was primarily a special education teacher, finishing her career as a resource room teacher. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Kean University.
Chiera currently chairs the National Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers. She has represented New Jersey teachers serving on several national AFT sub-committees, including Professional Development, Literacy and Early Childhood. She has represented AFT in selecting the National Teacher of the Year, and served on the New Jersey Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. At AFTNJ, she previously served as executive vice president for grades pre-K through 12.
Chiera was president of her local, the Perth Amboy Federation, from 1991 to 2013, and is now President Emeritus. She worked with the district on a code of conduct, professional development, and other educational initiatives to improve student achievement. Donna was part of a Perth Amboy team of educators invited to participate in Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program on Public Sector Labor-Management.
Chiera served as vice president of the Middlesex/Somerset Central Labor Council and was named Middlesex-Somerset CLC Labor Person of the Year in 2015. In 2016, the NJ AFL-CIO named her NJ Labor Person of the Year. She is a board member of Working Families United for New Jersey.
In 2017 Chiera served as education chair for the Perth Amboy Strategic Plan Task Force and, after the 2017 election, she served as education co-chair on Governor Murphy’s Transition Committee.
She lives in Perth Amboy with her husband, Norm, a retired teacher and former District Representative for AFT Local 857, Perth Amboy Federation.