From Exiled Teacher to Teacher’s Union Boss

If three years ago, while I was losing weight from the stress at work and investigators were yanking computers from my classroom, you told me that one day I’d be running for UFT president, I’d say “You are crazy!”

That was then, and this is now.

After speaking up for my school community and uncovering corruption in the school system, I came under heavy fire. Through much stress and strain, and together with the support of friends, family and colleagues, I overcame obstacle after obstacle and returned to the career I love, teaching. However, my union was absent and stood by and watched. It’s almost as if I paid every month for roadside assistance and when I got that flat tire, on rainy night, on a desolate road, they didn’t show. Unfortunately, I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I spent the last three years advising and advocating for those who didn’t have the strength and support. We need a stronger UFT leadership that stands with members and parents, not on the side of corporate reformers. The corruption will end.

Now it’s time to do more than I’ve been attempting to do with a smartphone at my kitchen table. We are building an amazing army and are going to build a stronger union. Hope is coming!

I ask that you go to, read our platform, partake in our campaign and share with your colleagues.



About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. Only in America!

  2. Good luck Mr. P.! If I were in your union – you would have my vote! I will be pulling for you.

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