Maria NeiraAFT Vice President
Maria Neira, an elementary school bilingual teacher whose career as a union leader established her as a nationally recognized expert on educational issues, is a vice president of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), representing more than 600,000 members.
Neira oversees statewide union initiatives involving educational policy, including NYSUT initiatives to close the achievement gap and define excellence in the professions. She is NYSUT's frontline advocate in dealing with the New York Board of Regents and the state education department, and is the chief officer of the union’s professional development arm, the Education and Learning Trust.
Neira also is co-chair of the AFT Teachers program and policy council and she serves on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She is a member of the New York State AFL-CIO executive council and the board of directors of the AFL-CIO's Workforce Development Institute. She is a member of the New York State United Way board of directors and oversees NYSUT's fundraising activities as a statewide flagship sponsor for American Cancer Society programs, including the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer annual walks.
Neira has received many awards, including the 2005 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations and the 2010 Capital District YMCA Adult Achiever of the Year award.
Neira previously led development of education reform strategy for the United Federation of Teachers in New York City. She began her teaching career in New York City in 1977 and subsequently served as a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at the Bilingual Bicultural Mini School in Manhattan.