AFTNJ Leadership Changes

Perth Amboy Federation’s Chiera New AFTNJ President; Skeete-Carey and Tardi EVPs

Moving up to a new challenge is always exciting. In late June Perth Amboy teacher Donna M. Chiera had her hands full being elected President of AFTNJ while serving as chair of the legislative crisis team battling in Trenton to protect collective bargaining. Chiera is a recently-retired classroom teacher with more than 30 years in the district, 22 years as local President and had been AFTNJ Prekindergarten through 12 Executive Vice President. She currently sits on the AFT national Program and Policy Committee and recently served on the Governor’s New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force.

The AFTNJ Executive Committee elected Chiera to complete the term of former President William Lipkin, which expires in June, 2012 after elections at the next AFTNJ convention.

The AFTNJ Delegate Assembly elected Prekindergarten through 12 Vice President Cheryl Skeete-Carey to fill Chiera’s vacated Executive Vice Presidency. Subsequently, Skeete-Carey’s election created a vacancy for a Prekindergarten through 12 Vice President to which Chiera appointed Margaret Roberts from North Bergen Federation of Teachers pending confirmation at August’s Delegate Assembly.

The Delegate Assembly also filled the Higher Education Executive Vice President position, electing William Paterson University Professor Susanna Tardi, a nine-year AFT WPU Local President.

Chiera and the new AFTNJ leaders are focused on solidifying the 30,000-member education federation to advance workers’ rights and the public sector. “I am proud to lead a federation of educators who have contributed to make New Jersey a high-achieving state for students from prekindergarten through graduate education,” said Chiera. “As a lifelong teacher, I know the difference between false reforms meant to undermine the system and demonize public workers and the true innovations that we need to implement to help students get ahead. My colleagues and I in executive leadership positions are committed to building unity within the federation and throughout New Jersey’s labor movement—public and private.”