When Pat Puleo’s name comes up in Yonkers — in fact, in many parts of the state — the conversation is usually about the plight of working people; almost certainly about education. After all, Puleo is the longtime president of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers and a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors’ Executive Committee.
If there’s a rally or a forum or a stand to be taken on behalf of students, her members and other working families, Puleo is there – often the most vocal; always the most prepared.
So it was no surprise when we heard that Puleo was recently honored by the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce which bestowed on her its “Above and Beyond” Award. That award was one of several given at the Chamber’s 23rd Annual Yonkers Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon.
Puleo wasn’t the only NYSUT leader recognized by one of the state’s Chambers of Commerce. Last week, the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce honored NYSUT President Karen Magee for her work. In accepting her award — part of that Chamber’s Women’s History Month celebration — Magee acknowledged that some may find it “incongruous” that an organization widely known as the face of the business community would honor a union leader.
“But we know that it makes all the sense in the world because we know that what happens in our schools is vitally important to the economic well-being of our communities … and to the future of the next generation of business and civic leaders,” Magee said.