Karen Magee elected as New York State United Teachers president

Karen Magee, the newly elected president of New

Karen Magee, the newly elected president of New York State United Teachers, addresses NYSUT members during the closing of the 42nd Annual Representative Assembly held at the Hilton Hotel on Sunday, April 05, 2014. Magee defeated incumbent president Richard Iannuzzi, who formerly taught in Central Islip. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

The New York State United Teachers Sunday voted in a new president, Karen Magee, head of the Harrison Association of Teachers in Westchester County and the federation's first female president.

She defeated Richard Iannuzzi, a former Central Islip teacher who led NYSUT since 2005.

She called for unity in the 600,000-member association, made up of teachers and school workers statewide, following the heavily contested election.


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"It's easy to stay divided. It's easy to let our enemies know how to get to us, but it's not acceptable," she told about 3,000 members at the representative assembly at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. "And if we're going to create the strongest union in the state of New York . . . if there's a time to unite, you bet it is this minute and right now."

Magee will serve a three-year term. Iannuzzi called Magee when the vote results came in about 1 a.m., a federation spokesman said. He told her that they had "a shared vision for a strong NYSUT going forward," the spokesman, Carl Korn, said. Iannuzzi was not available for further comment Sunday.

Magee won by a "comfortable margin," Korn said.

The federation of about 1,200 unions voiced dissatisfaction with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his teacher evaluation system and support of charter schools. It criticized the "failed" implementation of Common Core standards. It passed a no-confidence vote Saturday against state education Commissioner John B. King Jr.

Magee hailed the record voter participation and vowed the group under her leadership would emphasize rank-and-file members and win influence among elected officials.

Also elected was Paul Pecorale, president of the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers, as one of two NYSUT vice presidents. Delegates who supported Magee's slate said it represented a welcome change and a proactive approach.

"We expect a voice during a turbulent time," said Viri Pettersen of the Rockville Centre Teachers' Association. "This election has provided a great voice for the needs of members across the Island and across the state."

Magee and her running partners had the backing of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, the largest bloc within NYSUT.

With Matthew Chayes

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