Maria Neira is an elementary school bilingual teacher who rose through the ranks
of union leadership to become a nationally recognized expert on educational issues,
who is now serving as NYSUT's frontline advocate to the New York State Board of
Regents and the State Education Department.As a result of her leadership, NYSUT
is now in the field-testing phase of the its pioneering Innovation Initiative, supported
by competitive grants from the American Federation of Teachers and the U.S.
Department of Education. At her direction, the NYSUT Education & Learning Trust
has strengthened and expanded educational opportunities for teachers and other
school staff. Her initiatives have brought together labor-management teams to
develop a meaningful system of professional development and teacher evaluation.
Neira serves on President Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence
for Hispanics, is a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards,
is the founding publisher of Educator's Voice, and serves on the Congressional
Hispanic Caucus Institute Advisory Council. In addition, she serves and/or has
served on a myriad of committees at the local, state, and national levels ranging from
the New York State Workforce Investment Board to the Governor's Children's Cabinet
Advisory Board, and from an AFT Vice Presidency to the direction of NYSUT's
fundraising as a statewide flagship sponsor for American Cancer Sociey programs.
She is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition
of Organizations, the Educational Leadership Award of the National Puerto Rican Day
Parade and the YMCA Northeast New York Woman of Achievement Award, and has
been honored by groups ranging from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York to
the Long Island Latino Teachers Association.
Neira's stirring address at this year's New York State Council of the Social Studies
Convention in March, in which she described the Special Role which Educators and
Social Studies Educators in particular are playing in our challenging time, was a
powerful confirmation of the Vital Importance of Public Education Today which the
CNYCSS is proud to bring to our members.