In memory of Jeff Rozran

“Beloved English teacher and Syosset Teachers’ Union president, Jeffrey Rozran, died Saturday” starts the Syosset Patch obituary. Here’s a link to the entire article.

“Jeff” Rozran, a member of NYSUT’s Board of Directors, would have smiled broadly at that description, that big grin of his.  Then, he probably would have started editing, suggesting changes to strengthen the language.

An English teacher since 1973, he loved the profession as much as he loved his union and his family. I met him in 1993 — 20 years established as a teacher and I could not keep up with his energy, nor his good-natured competition with other Long Island local presidents, especially when it came to political action. NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi said was one of those Long Island local presidents. He noted “Jeff was truly the finest example of an excellent teacher, activist and leader.”

Rozran was first elected to the NYSUT Board of Directors in 2002. Here’s what being elected to the Board meant to him then:

“You can’t divide the interests of kids and teachers when it comes to standards and educational issues,” said Rozran, a new at-large director on the NYSUT Board of Directors representing Election Districts 18 and 19. “The most important factors in the equation are: setting high standards and providing the resources to make it possible for kids and teachers to achieve them.” That’s why, after 29 years of teaching experience, the English teacher at Syosset High in Nassau County thinks this is the most exciting time to join NYSUT’s Board. ”The statewide union, through its political action efforts and emphasis on professional development, has been providing dynamic leadership on how to best help students learn. At this moment, we have a great opportunity to help New York state see the necessity of not only setting high standards, but also supporting them,” he said.

Fast forward nearly 18 more years and he was even more tiring to keep up with. Here’s just a few things he was working on in 2010:

He started serving on the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness, he was among a number of participants in the 2010 teacher town hall and he was active in the 2010 One Nation march in D.C.

This was from a May 16,2010 article about the Syosset TA getting an award.

Not only is the Syosset Teachers Association tops when it comes to VOTE-COPE contributions from its members, it’s also among 19 local unions to receive the first-ever Lou Cammarosano awards. ”We are highly honored to be in this great company of locals getting anything that is named after Lou,” said Jeff Rozran, president of the union where members average $121 per year in contributions to the union’s political action fund. ”Knowing what a tireless worker Lou was for all union efforts, especially VOTE-COPE, I’m personally thrilled because this award not only continues his memory, but also will spur some healthy competition among locals to get the award,” Rozran said. If that attracts more money for political action, Rozran added, it would be “exactly what Lou would want.”

Three other locals that broke the $100 barrier that year were the East Williston TA, the Franklinville TA and the Carmel TA.

Here’s a link to the Newsday obituary, although realize you need to be a subscriber to see the whole thing.

The last I spoke with him was a year ago this month. He wasn’t smiling as much. I did not know he was suffering from lung cancer. When I told him I would soon be writing again (after more than six years as photo editor) he gave me that big grin again.

“Then I’ll get to edit you again,” he said.

Oh, Jeff, I wish you could.

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