For the second time in four years, delegates attending the Annual Meeting of NYSTRS Delegates in Saratoga Springs Nov. 5 and 6, 2017 had the unusual privilege of electing multiple teacher members to the System's Retirement Board. Teacher Board members serve staggered three-year terms, so typically only one teacher member is elected each year.
Paul J. Farfaglia of the Jordan-Elbridge School District was unanimously re-elected to his position on the Board, and Sheila Buck of Rush-Henrietta Central Schools and Ronald Gross of William Floyd Union Free Schools were elected to their first terms as trustees. Farfaglia will be serving his fourth consecutive term. Buck replaces Jolene T. DiBrango, who resigned from the Board to focus on her new position as executive vice president of NYSUT, the bargaining unit for New York teachers. Gross replaces Timothy Southerton, who retired from teaching in June 2017.
First elected in 2008, Farfaglia chairs the Board's Compensation and Disability Review committees. He also serves on the Audit, Ethics, Executive and Investment committees. Farfaglia is a graduate of LeMoyne College and SUNY Oswego.
A graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College and Syracuse University, Buck has taught in the Rush-Henrietta school district for more than 20 years. She is president of the Rush-Henrietta Employees’ Association, Teachers Chapter, and held several roles in that organization since becoming a member in 2002. Buck is a current participant in the NYS AFL-CIO Cornell Union Leadership Institute and is a graduate of the NYSUT Leadership Institute.
Gross has taught in the William Floyd school district for 30 years. He is president of William Floyd United Teachers and serves in various roles for several community organizations. A graduate of SUNY Cortland and SUNY Stony Brook, Gross co-hosts an annual pension and retirement workshop with former Trustee Southerton.
As per statute, the 10-member Board includes three active teachers and one retired teacher. The current retired teacher member is David P. Keefe, who was elected Board president in 2016.
NYSTRS Board members serve without compensation and represent various constituents, including school administrators and school boards. They are responsible as fiduciaries to protect the long-term value of the System's investment portfolio, providing benefit security for its more than 428,000 active and retired members.