Council & Committees

The UFT Solidarity Council consists of 9 individuals who have been democratically elected by the UFT Solidarity Membership according to the Bylaws.


Nominee’s Name


Why do you wish to serve?

Claudia Giordano, Art Teacher NYC Public Schools (Retired)


Teacher of fine arts in NYC public schools for 29 years. Elected to and served on various UFT positions (Chapter Leader, Delegate, UFT Chapter Executive Board member, Consultative Committee Member, School Leadership Team) Experienced being the target of a principal during last years of otherwise unblemished teaching career. Discovered Francesco Portelos via social media and joined UFT Solidarity at it’s inception. Have been part of organizing and serving in the education community from student government days at the High School of Music and Art as a member of the Steering Committee that organized a march across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1971 to “Save Our School” from devastating budget cuts, – which we did achieve – to the present time as a supporter of Free Cooper Union and a newly elected member of The Cooper Union Alumni Council – a college, my Alma Mater, which has faced 4 years of a corrupt Board and administration currently under investigation by the NYS Attorney General. I believe action works and want to see radical change in the “business as usual” mentality of both the DOE and the UFT. I have a big mouth and have never been afraid to speak up and speak out which has made me the object of hostile attack from those who feel threatened by the truth. I enjoy working as part of a team and contributing what I can and learning from the experiences and perspectives of others. I am motivated to see Solidarity make a real difference in the lives of educators and the children of NYC that we serve.

Graduate of HS of Music and Art, BFA The Cooper Union, MFA Brooklyn College, Hunter College teaching certificate, Fordham University Professional Diploma in School Administration. Taught Fine Arts in NYC Public Schools 1983-2012. Born and raised in The Bronx, NY. Lives in the East Village, NYC 40 years. Artist (painter, designer, ceramist, photographer), film and opera aficionado, and experienced traveller.

Lydia Howrika, Substitute Teacher


Lydia Howrilka is currently a substitute teacher in the New York City Department of Education. A graduate of parochial schools, Ms. Howrilka received her teaching credentials through Hunter College’s School of Education. Her experiences as a probationary teacher to English Language Learners, one of the most needy populations of students in the public school system, has strengthened her resolve to fight for a more equitable system on behalf of probationary teachers, one of the most vulnerable groups of educators in the DOE. She is presently working on her Masters thesis which describes changes in due process for public school teachers from 1960 to 1980, focusing on the Brownsville teacher strikes in the late-1960s.

I am dedicated to educating probationary teachers of their rights to defend their careers against aggressive attacks against tenure and mandates that hurt the learning environments for their students. I work hard, am resilient, and have a heart of gold. I won my Article 78 and removed my abusive principal from both her old school and the DOE entirely.

Quinn Zannoni, Teacher

Quinn is a third year teacher who runs a bicycle building program in a special education high school. He has been elected as the union delegate at his school and has previously done political work for Working Families,, and various community organizations in New York City.

I wish to build a more democratic union that empowers teachers to take charge of their profession.

Francesco Portelos, Teacher

Full-Solidarity-Caucus-Logo1 🙂

Great organizing skills and out of box thinking. History of serving members.

Christina Vickers, Teacher


I began my teaching career as a student! This may sound strange, or else extremely familiar to you. In other words, I strongly admired my most successful teachers and vowed that I wanted to provide that same experience for my students. I attended George Washington University and Howard University in Washington, DC and began my teaching career on the High School level in a challenging school. After experiencing changes in education policy under Michelle Rhee, I moved back home to Queens, NY and began teaching in the South Bronx, District 29, at a Middle School. I was extremely professionally involved in my school community, both with the students and administration outside of school hours. But this didn’t stop me from getting the boot by a system that I believe to be quite faulty. So I discovered UFT Solidarity, and the rest is history. I’m proud to be a member of this group and I look forward to all we continue to accomplish in Solidarity.

I wish to serve on this committee because I want to be the person I needed back when I was in trouble. The DOE and the UFT did not steer me in the right direction nor provide the wide breadth of information I needed to solve the issues that I was having in my school. I’m happy to help others get access to the information they need so that they won’t be wrongfully pushed out of their school communities due to corruption, personal vendettas, and/or incompetencies.

Patricia Miranda, Teacher

Hello everyone. My name is Patricia MirandaI am a teacher. I am a professor. I have a Master’s degree in Bilingual Education, Kindergarten to 12th. Grade. I am certified by the New York State Department of Education. I hold five licenses. My licenses are : Early Childhood (Birth to 2nd. Grade), Elementary Level (K to 6th. Grade), Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL / K to 12th. Grade), and Bilingual Education Extension (K to 12th. Grade) and NYC Substitute Teacher.I am a professor. I have taught at a college in the State of New Jersey. The subjects I have taught are: TESOL for High Beginners, and Spanish 101 and Spanish 102. — Sincerely,Patricia Miranda

The nominee should serve because this is a person that has experienced unfair treatment in her profession. She knows what it is to be placed under the ” Discontinuance / Termination ” code, to have a “red flag ” next to her name. She knows what this can do to someone’s career, someone’s profession, someone’s state of mind. This individual has the need to help others that are facing the same abuse, mistreatment, etc. The nominee would like to help make a difference and assist others to fight back, to stay strong.

Lucio Celli, Teacher

I want to see a union that actually works for the members. I want to see a union that brings back dignity and integrity to the teaching profession.  I have been teaching for 16 years. I have been a mentor to new teachers. In addition, I worked for UFT Teacher Center.

I would make a change in the UFT.

Johnathan Hinesley, Teacher

I am a teacher with a common branch license and have been teaching for 12 years at the middle school level. I grew up in the Bronx and attended public school from kindergarten through hs. After graduating hs, I attended Bronx community college where I studied education. I then transferred to Oswego state university where I completed my undergraduate degree in childhood education.

I am a strong believer in the public education system and see education as a way for people to rise up out of poverty and make a better life for themselves and their family.


The four main Council committees include:

1.  Member Support Committee

Summary of Services of Member Support Committee


2. Article 78

3. Filing a Notice of Claim against a City Organization

4. Appealing a Discontinuance via the UFT

5. Dealing with a Workplace Bully Admin

6. NYS First Person Recording
  • Legal Matters:  We help teachers who find themselves rubberized, discontinued, or in legal trouble with either UFT Unity or the DOE. We give guidance to teachers who find themselves the victim of an OSI/SCI/OEO or false arrest case by helping them find appropriate legal help and help them investigate legal remedies for their issues.
  • Contract Enforcement: We help members if they need assistance in filing a grievance; give guidance on filing a PERB complaint; and train Chapter Leaders, Delegates, and members on the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement/CBA.
  • Paperwork Reduction: We are looking for ways to manage and reduce the amount of excessive hard copy paperwork and e-paperwork (ie: curriculum maps, team planning time minutes, family contact logs, ect.) administrators expect us to complete on a regular basis. We outreach to teacher who submit intake forms and reach out to the school’s Chapter Leader, Delegate, District Rep, and school administration on ways to correct this abuse.

2.  Integrity and Corruption Committee

  • This committee focuses on exposing and ending education corruption in NYC.
  • The ANOI initiative is making a great difference for our members across the city.

3.  Outreach and Social Media Committee

  • Social Media:  Want to increase UFTSC’s digital footprint? Help the Social Media committee in writing content for our website, updating our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc. networks, and outreaching to members about events.
  • Community Outreach and Retiree Liaisons: Wel serve as a task force that connects Solidarity’s activities, goals, and events with the visions and events of parent, community, retiree, and other UFT groups (eg: BATs, PJTSA, New Action, More, ICE, Retired UFT members, Class Size Matters, and Change the Stakes)
    • Safety in Schools: Accurate reporting is the first step in creating a safe environment in every school. Enforce your right to a safe school by promptly reporting all safety/discipline incidents with the help of the “Safety in School” committee.
    • Fair Student Funding: Wouldn’t you think that in an effort to be fair, the DOE would attach MORE funding to students who have the greatest needs? Fair Student Funding also gives principals VERY LITTLE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE to hire ATRs or vested, experienced teachers. If you want to change this, this committee is for you.
    • Finance: We help UFTSC raise money by soliciting donations for banners, posters, fliers, and business cards. Individuals in this committee will brainstorm ways to manage finances effectively and will communicate with UFTSC Council and other committees on budgeting for projects/initiatives.

4.  Union Democracy Committee

  • Union Democracy:  UFTSC is excited about running for the 2016 UFT election. We are also eager in helping Chaper Leaders who are progressive and desire to bring change to their school communities. This committee will also manage UFTSC’s RepReview initiative.

To get more information about running for a council position or joining a committee please email

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