Skip to main content

2023 AFT Pennsylvania Education Champion Awards

Our tradition every year is to honor the outstanding work of local union leaders, educators, paraprofessionals, and school staff with awards recognizing their excellence. This year, we will host our first ever AFT Pennsylvania Education Champions Awards Celebration.


Outstanding Leadership Award

The Outstanding Leadership Award is presented to a building representative, local union officer, organizing or bargaining committee member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their local's fight for a fair contract, initial organizing, defeating anti-union activity by management, and/or protecting members' rights. Awards by size of local.

Small Local Mid-Size Local | Large Local | New Organizing

Member Engagement Awards


Recognizes a current member responsible for initiating action and motivating coworkers, organizing a new union or dramatically increasing member engagement.

Political Involvement

Recognizes a local or individual member who displayed outstanding commitment to mobilizing members to vote through GOTV in the 2022 General Election.

Community Outreach

Recognizing an individual member's contribution to the surrounding community through activism, volunteerism, and outreach outside of their union activities, especially on those issues that impact students - food insecurity, houselessness, healthcare accessibility, mental health, inclusivity, diversity, and a safe community.


Recognizing a current retiree working with their local retiree chapter or the national retiree chapter championing issues facing Pennsylvania retirees and leading engagement relevant to this population.

Professional Excellence Award

Recognizes an individual member who has distinguished themselves as leaders in education in their individual sector’s school setting.

K-12 & Charter Educators | Higher Education | Paraprofessionals | Para/School-Related Personnel | Career & Technical Education


Education Champion Ally Awards

Recognizes individuals or organizations who have been outstanding allies of public education and educators.


Al Fondy Award

This award is established to recognize a member who has championed workers' rights, specifically fair wages, better working conditions, and respect for educators. This individual is also actively involved in advocating for students' educational experience.


Congratulations to our award recipients:


Outstanding Leadership Award

Andrew Fair - Erie County Vocational - Technical Federation of Teachers #1589

Outstanding Leadership in a Small Local

Presented by Tim Mello

James Simkins - Alliance of Charter Schools Employees #6056

Outstanding Leadership in a Mid-Size Local

Presented by Collin McCann

Harold Grant - Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers #400

Outstanding Leadership in a Large Local

Presented by Nina Esposito-Visgitis

Daniel Pieczkolon - United Academics of Philadelphia #9608

Outstanding Leadership in a New Organizing

Presented by Carol Mintus

Membership Engagement Award

Brittany Shoup - Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers #400

Outstanding Membership Growth and Organizing

Presented by Nina Esposito-Visgitis

Kerry Hammon – Neshaminy Federation of Teachers #1417

Outstanding Political Involvement

Presented by Tara Huber

Don Alexander – Carlynton Federation of Teachers #2120

Exceptional Community Outreach

Presented by Carrie Badger

Professional Excellence Awards

Edith Gamble - Green Tree Federation of Teachers #4802

Professional Excellence in K-12 or Charter

Presented by Paulette Hunt

Allegra Slick – PA Highlands Community College Federation of Teachers #6221

Professional Excellence in Higher Education

Presented by Carol Mintus

Brenda Marks – Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers #400

Outstanding Paraprofessional / School-related Personnel

Presented by Nina Esposito-Visgitis

Nicholas Rivituso – Steel Center Vocational-Technical Federation of Teachers #3621

Outstanding Career & Technical Educator

Presented by Jim Rihel

Special Organization Awards

United Staff of the Day School (USTDS #6056)

Outstanding Dedication for a New Local

Presented by Shelly Wen and Jim Rihel

Temple University Graduate Student Association (TUGSA #6290)

Outstanding Dedication in Collective Action

Presented by Jeff Doshna                               

Education Champion Ally Awards (nonmember)

Coalition of Natives and Allies- Donna Fann-Boyle and Arla Patch

Champion Community Allies

Presented by Sarah Robbins

PA Representative Elizabeth Fiedler

Champion Legislative Ally

Presented by Arthur Steinberg

Hon. Cherelle Parker

Distinguished Public Service

Presented by Arthur Steinberg

2023 Al Fondy Award

Patrick Festa Scranton Federation of Teachers #1147

Presented by Arthur Steinberg

Share This