A New Year, Many New Beginnings
by Gayle Lockett, RC Chair
As you know, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Carmen Farina, a former Principal, superintendent and deputy chancellor of curriculum – an educator’s educator – as the new NYC schools chancellor. She has our best wishes for success as she looks to provide a well-rounded and rigorous education for all of our children. We hope she will also restore respect, trust and optimism to a demoralized system. We also hope she finds a way to include parents in a meaningful dialogue about their hopes for their children.
We also offer our congratulations to Melissa Mark-Viverito, the newly elected speaker of the NY City Council. Many consider this position the second most influential in city government.
On Jan. 11, retiree and in-service members attended a meet-and-greet brunch with 18 recently elected (and re-elected) City Council members at our headquarters. (See pictures, Pages 8-9.) The purpose of the brunch: to build and solidify new and existing relationships between members and the Council. (Kudos to Herman Merritt, CSA Director of Political Affairs.)
The message from the Council members who attended was clear: They are committed to bringing back the arts to all schools, supporting our members in their role as school leaders, working with CSA, and staying abreast on school issues. They spoke about how hard it is to run a school given the many issues with which the children arrive, but expressed their belief that education is the key to a successful future. (Council members Alan Meisel and Inez Barron are Retiree Chapter members; Councilman Daniel Dromm is a former CSA member who is too young to join the Chapter…but one day!)
Now that we have lawmakers professing their willingness to work together, it is our job to continue to advise them of what needs to be done, to support them in their work, and to hold all elected officials accountable.
Our Special Events Committee is already planning for the Chapter’s 10th anniversary in 2015. The Committee is headed by John Oricchio, the Chapter’s second vice chair. We’ll give you plenty of time to save the date as soon as we know it. (Can you believe we’re almost 10 years old?)
The Education Cultural Program staff and committee produced a spectacular spring program. Many lectures, trips and classes filled within minutes after registration opened.
In closing, I leave you with this thought. I am optimistic about the future of our city’s schools, despite having been sorely tested by the past 12 years, as well as the Retiree Chapter’s continued success and activism.
Here’s the late Nelson Mandela’s thoughts on looking toward the future: “Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward.”
This column is reprinted from the February 2014 issue of the CSA News.