NYSUT Award Recipients of the LEA

Each year the officers of the Lockport Education Association choose to recognize one individual from the membership who exhibits an extraordinary dedication to unionism. Below is a list of past LEA members who have been honored.

2019 - Tanya Reese

Tanya is a Reading Specialist at Emmet Belknap Intermediate School and has worked in the Lockport City School District for 16 years. Tanya has served as a building representative since 2012. She currently sits on several LEA committees including the Health & Safety Committee, Constitution & Bylaws Committee, Grievance Committee, and serves as chairperson of the New Member Engagement Committee. She has participated in various union activities and NYSUT Leadership Conferences. Tanya also serves on the District Steering Committee and various other building level committees, including Climate Team and Health & Safety. Congratulations, Tanya!

2018 - Steven J. Young

Steve Young has been a mathematics teacher for the past 16 years. He was a building representative for Emmet Belknap and North Park for five years until becoming Treasurer for the past four years. Along with attending NYSUT conferences and being a negotiations team member, he has also audited the seniority lists for the past nine years. Steve created the LEA's website five years ago and continues to maintain it. Additionally, he volunteered to drive a U-Haul full of books from NYSUT Headquarters to Lockport for North Park's Literacy Night. Steve and his wife, Karen, are proud Lockport community members.

2017 - Paula E. Senio

Paula E. Senio is a proud 25-year member of the Lockport Education Association. She has been a building representative for the past six years. Paula serves as the chairperson of the LEA Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Paula serves on the Executive Committee and on the Solidarity Committee as well. She has attended numerous NYSUT Winter and Summer Leadership Conferences to learn more about unionism and to become knowledgeable about being a strong union leader. Paula works to empower the unit members at Charles A. Upson Elementary by providing information and opportunities to participate in union-sponsored activities and encourages members to become involved in their union. Paula wishes to thank the officers of the LEA and is deeply honored to receive the NYSUT Local Leadership Award.

2016 – Greg Bronson

Greg has taught, coached, and participated in union activities in the Lockport City School District for 29 years. His service to the LEA includes six years as a building representative, eight years as Treasurer, and six years serving on the negotiations team. This year, he leads the Grievance Committee at Lockport High School. His wife, Laurie, is a first grade teacher in the Lockport City School District. His sons, Kevin, Daniel, and Andrew are all successful LHS student-athletes who have continued their activities at the collegiate level. His philosophy of leadership is found in the words for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve." Greg, his wife, and children are all/soon to be graduates of the Lockport City School District.

2015 – Heather Palmer-Hall

Heather is a Mathematics Academic Intervention Specialist at George Southard Elementary. She served as the chairperson of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Committee this past year, serves as a co-chairperson for the Niagara/Orleans Central Labor Council Committee, and a co-chairperson of the LEA's Sunshine Committee. She also participated in community events, NYSUT rallies and workshops, and has been a union activist as a building representative. After receiving a grant, Heather provided professional development for Special Education teachers. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Fredonia and her Mast of Science degree from Buffalo State College. Heather has certification in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, and Social Studies. Heather was hired in 2008 by the Lockport City School District. She is the wife of Marcus Hall and has a daughter, Taylor. Congratulations, Heather!

2014 – Shawn P. Haley

Shawn Haley began his teaching career in the 1999-2000 school year. He took an active union role from the beginning. He became a building representative in 2003 and has continued to serve the LEA in that capacity. Shawn has served on the Scholarship Committee, the Political Action Committee, and the Personal Relations Committee. He has continued to fight for the rights of NYSUT members statewide by attending rallies and protests from Albany to Buffalo. He is an AFT delegate and has represented the LEA at the AFT Teachers' Convention in 2011 and 2013. Shawn has also served as the Elections Committee Chairperson for six years.

2013 – Anita DiMatteo Mullane

The Lockport Education Association is proud to count Anita Mullane as one of its most dynamic members. Anita provides strong leadership for the teaching assistants, and is an extremely active member of our Political Action Committee. Anita is a Board Trustee on the Lockport High School Foundation and a life member of our local PTA. She even represented us at President Obama's recent inauguration! As Anita so passionately says, "With all the challenges we are facing, it's more important than ever to stay united! We also need to remain strong with our fellow union brothers and sisters." Congratulations, Anita!

2012 – Patti King-Walter

The Lockport Education Association is pleased to recognize Patti King-Walter as the recipient of the NYSUT Leadership Award. Patti has taught for 17 years in the Lockport school system. Patti was chosen for this award because of her willingness to serve the union and the school district. She has served as Health and Safety Committee chairperson, a member of our local Political Action Committee, a building representative for eight years, a member of the Professional Development Committee, a member of the district's School Improvement Team, as well as being a Mathematics Department chairperson. We admire Patti's courage to carry the union message and honor her for her dedication. Thank you, Patti.

2011 – Joseph D. Flaherty

Joe has been teaching fourth grade for 17 years at George Southard Elementary School in Lockport. Joe's union involvement began early in his career. He started as a building representative, serving for three years, and then was elected as First Vice President of the LEA. During his nine-year tenure as an officer, Joe filled many leadership positions. He is the editor for the newsletter, a two-term AFT delegate, the chairperson of many committees, and part of the negotiating team. A lifelong resident of Lockport, Joe is the proud father of Patrick and Benjamin and devoted husband of Terri.

2010 – Amanda M. Gueli

Amanda Gueli has demonstrated herself to be a dedicated and enthusiastic representative for her small elementary building and is always an active advocate for her members. Next year, due to budget constraints, her building - DeWitt Clinton Elementary - will be closed. Thus, Amanda's workload and stress levels have amplified as she has tried to answer all questions and concerns to calm anxious teachers. Her aplomb has been exemplary. In addition, Amanda serves as our Sunshine Committee chairperson, organizes the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer participation for the LEA, and never misses a United Way Day of Caring. The LEA congratulates Amanda. She is truly deserving of this award.

2009 – Megan R. Menges

An English teacher at Lockport High School, Megan Menges has been a building representative since 2004. Since that time, she has also been the district-wide chairperson for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, coordinating faculty, staff, and students from eleven different schools to participate in this event. As a result, thousands of dollars have been donated, and the Lockport City School District - because of its participation in the breast cancer walk and many other community-related events - has been the recipient of a community service award for the past several years.

2008 – Joan E. Wass

Joan has worked as a teaching assistant for nine years, before which she was a teacher's aide for three years. She was an original organizer of the Teaching Assistant's union representation in 2000 and has served as a Teaching Assistants' representative since then. Joan's LEA activities are many. She is an active local Political Action Committee member and participates in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, Salvation Army bell ringing, and the United Way Day of Caring. She is a regular attendee at NYSUT workshops and also serves on the district's Professional Development Team. Congratulations, Joan! Your leadership and dedication to the LEA are greatly appreciated.

2007 – Mark J. Kwoka

The honoree for the LEA is Mark Kwoka. Mark and his wife, Julie, have been married for 17 years and they have two daughters; Jennifer and Jordyn. Mark has taught in Lockport for 16 years; eight years at the elementary and eight years at the middle school levels. Mark also coaches softball. Mark has been a union representative for nine years; one as a special area representative and eight as a building representative. He's participated in various union activities and NYSUT Leadership workshops. Mark is also serving on the Mentor and Scholarship Committees and chairs the Health and Safety Committee.

2006 – Cheryl A. Larkin

Cheryl is a Speech/Language Pathologist and the union representative at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School in Lockport. She has worked tirelessly as the co-chair for the United Way Campaign since 2000. She has participated in the United Way Day of Caring since 1997, and been the organizer since 2002. Cheryl has enjoyed going on the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the past three years, been a Salvation Army bell ringer since 1995, and has served on the Political Action Committee for two years. Wife of Richard Larkin and proud mom of Shannon, Cheryl is one awesome lady!

2005 – Heidi Peloza

Heidi received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin and Master of Science degree from UB in Elementary Education. She's been teaching fourth grade at DeWitt Clinton Elementary since 1990. Heidi organized the first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the LEA. She has served on her building's School Improvement Team and the District Steering Committee for four years, and has been a PARP representative for eight years. Heidi has been an LEA building representative for five years. Her experience has been both valuable and challenging. The LEA thanks Heidi for all her hard work and dedication. Congratulations on a job well done!

2004 – Kimberley Kremer

Kim Kremer was hired in 1995 as a Special Education/Social Studies teacher and has worked at Lockport Opportunities Project (LOP) - Lockport's satellite/alternative high school - ever since. Right from the start, Kim became involved with the LEA and has represented LOP as a building representative since the program's inception. She has provided strong leadership for her building members and continues to contribute to both the union and the Lockport community. Kim attends both the NYSUT summer and winter workshops in order to educate herself on union topics so that she may better serve our members. She has attended, and continues to attend, union fundraisers such as the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and the United Way Day of Caring. Kim also serves as a member of the Political Action Committee and frequently attends NYSUT rallies including those in Albany. Thank you, Kim, for all your hard work and dedicated efforts.

2003 – Alan G. Daniels

Alan has been a science teacher at North Park Middle School for 32 years. He currently teaches Science to eighth grade students and is North Park's Science Department chairperson. He joined the Executive Committee of the Lockport Education Association in 1992. During the past eleven years, he has served on the LEA Scholarship Committee, served on a joint committee defining department chair positions, and currently serves on the Health and Safety Committee. Thanks, Al, for representing the LEA - we appreciate your time and hard work!

2002 – Linda K. Carlin

The LEA is proud to honor Linda Carlin as our 2002 NYSUT Leadership Award recipient. She has been actively involved in our union for many years. She has gone from a building representative to First Vice President and is currently serving as our Executive Vice President. She represents Lockport as a NYSUT and AFT delegate as well. She has given countless hours of her time representing Lockport as a member of the negotiations team, labor council, Mentor/Intern Committee, and United Way cabinet. She has been an essential member of our union team. The LEA thanks Linda for all her hard work and dedication.

2001 – Elizabeth P. Buffan

Children's health impacts the education process. The Lockport Education Association recognizes and supports the role of the school nurse. Betty, a native of Niagara Falls, graduated from Genesee Hospital in Rochester. After years of hospital nursing, she has spent the past 18 years as a school nurse. She has served several terms on the Executive Committee representing the nurses. Betty is a member of the Family Life and Crisis Intervention Teams, Nursing Policies and Procedures Committees, and presently serves on the district's Health and Safety Committee. She lives in Lockport with her husband, Jay, and has two grown daughters. Congratulations, Betty!

2000 – Lynne A. Fletcher

Lynne Fletcher, a reading specialist at Anna Merritt Elementary School, is completing her 32nd year of teaching. Lynne received her Bachelor of Science degree from Bridgewater State College and her Master of Science degree from SUNY Albany. Lynne has also taught 2nd and 3rd grades. Lynne has been an advocate for children and teachers. Lynne has been a building representative for five years. She has done an outstanding job of representing her building and the LEA. Thank you, Lynne. We appreciate your hard work.

1999 – Nancy A. Buffone

The Lockport Education Association is proud to honor Nancy Buffone as this year's NYSUT Leadership Award recipient. She has been a building representative for eight years. During this time, she served on the LEA's Scholarship Committee and has volunteer to man phone banks for various elections. Nancy has also served as Grievance Committee chairperson for the past three years and recently joined the negotiation team. Last month, she was elected by the LEA Executive Committee to fill the office of the Treasurer. Nancy has been a NYSUT delegate for the past five years and a member of WNYPAC for two years.

1998 – Carol Bouchard

The Lockport Education Association is proud to honor Carol Bouchard for her union service over the last 15 years. Over the past 25 years, she has taken on a vast array of responsibilities. Carol has been a learning center teacher who works with every teacher in her building. She has been instrumental in VOTE/COPE's 100% success rate in her building, a member of the Site-Based School Improvement Team, and a representative for her building on the District Steering Committee. She has also been a member of the Child Study Team and an LEA representative on the District Mentor/Intern panel. Thanks, Carol, for all that you have done and continue to do for us.

1997 – Gail Ann Niparts

Gail has been actively involved in the Lockport Education Association for 15 years. She has been a building representative since 1982 and is both a NYSUT and AFT delegate. She serves as the chairperson of the LEA Scholarship Committee and coordinates the annual VOTE/COPE drive in Lockport. Gail is also the editor of our local's newsletter, "UNITY," and is a member of the NYSUT Educational Conference Committee. Recently, she was reappointed to the new NYSUT Political Action Committee and represents the 61st Senatorial District. We are proud of Gail's many contributions to the LEA and greatly appreciate her enthusiastic spirit of unionism.

1996 – Alex J. Mastroianni

As a member of the Lockport Education Association for the past 32 years, Alex Mastroianni has demonstrated a commitment to the education of our young people and the integrity of the bargaining unit. Along with his ongoing teaching responsibilities, he has served the union in various capacities. He spent many years as a member of the Executive Committee and served as the chairperson of the Grievance Committee. He has been actively involved in negotiations; past and present. Alex has been a ready volunteer, serving on various committees for the union. He is presently serving his third consecutive term as Treasurer of the LEA.