Delegates attending NYSTRS’ 2021 Annual Delegates Meeting elected Long Island teacher Eric J. Iberger and Schenectady teacher Juliet C. Benaquisto to the NYSTRS Board of Trustees. Nearly 600 delegates from across the state participated in the Oct. 29 meeting, which was a one-day virtual event.
Iberger, a teacher in the Bayport-Blue Point Union Free School District, was appointed to the Board earlier this year by the state education commissioner to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Ron Gross, who left to serve as second vice president of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). Iberger, who serves on the Board’s Audit, Disability Review and Ethics committees, will now begin a new full three-year term running 2022-2025.
“This is quite a humbling experience,” Iberger said after his election. “I look forward to serving all of you for the next three years.”
A graduate of St. Joseph’s College and SUNY Stony Brook, Iberger has taught mathematics at the Bayport-Blue Point Union Free School District since 1996. He served as the district’s grade 9-12 mathematics teacher-in-charge and as the grade 6-12 mathematics department chairperson from 2004 to 2013. He was head coach of several Bayport-Blue Point sports teams, including football and indoor and outdoor track and field for 21 years.
Iberger has served as president of the Bayport-Blue Point Teachers Association since 2013. He is vice chairperson of NYSUT’s Pension & Retirement Committee and has been a committee member since 2014.
Benaquisto was appointed to the Board in September by the state education commissioner to fill the term vacated by Sheila Sullivan Buck, who stepped down to become a labor relations specialist for NYSUT. Benaquisto’s election at the Delegates Meeting means she will now complete the rest of the term that ends Jan. 31, 2023.
“I’m also so honored and humbled to serve as one of your three teacher trustees on the NYSTRS Board,” Benaquisto said after the vote.
Benaquisto has been a special education teacher in the Schenectady City School District for 33 years. She has served as president of the Schenectady Federation of Teachers since 2006, and she was a NYSTRS delegate prior to joining the Board.
Benaquisto has served NYSUT since May 2020 in several capacities, including serving on the board of directors as director of Election District 12 (ED-12). She received her bachelor’s degree in special education at SUNY Geneseo and her master’s degree in education psychology from SUNY Albany.
The other active teacher Board member is Elizabeth A. Chetney of the Baldwinsville Central School District. Board President David P. Keefe of Hempstead is the retired teacher representative.
The delegates, who are elected by their peers and serve as liaisons between NYSTRS and teachers, also attended several virtual informational sessions and participated in a question-and-answer session with Board members and NYSTRS staff.
Recorded information from the Annual Meeting will be posted the first week of November on the Delegates page of NYSTRS.org.
NYSTRS Board members serve without compensation and represent various constituents, including teachers, school administrators and school boards. They are responsible as fiduciaries to protect the long-term value of the System’s investment portfolio for its more than 430,000 active and retired members and beneficiaries.