Leo Casey Vice President of Academic High Schools United Federation of Teachers
Leo Casey is Vice President of Academic High Schools for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). He attended Antioch College in Ohio, the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Toronto in Canada, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy.
After a stint in political organizing, Mr. Casey began his teaching career in 1984 at Clara Barton HS, where he taught for 15 years. For 10 years in a row, his classes—entirely comprised of students of color, largely immigrant and largely female—won the New York City championship of the national “We The People” civics competition, while winning the New York State championship four times and placing fourth in the nation twice.
Mr. Casey’s union activism at Clara Barton began in 1987 when he led an effort to have the school building closed to clean up major asbestos contamination. He served as UFT chapter leader at Clara Barton for 10 years. He has a long history of union involvement including work as a United Farm Worker’s organizer and participation in the first unionization drive of graduate teaching assistants in Canada. He has also worked with teacher unions and teachers in Russia, Tanzania, and China on the development of civics education.
In 1999, Mr. Casey became a full-time UFT special representative, working closely with previous high school vice presidents. He was elected to his present position in October 2007. He continues to teach a class in global studies every day at Bard HS Early College in Manhattan.
Mr. Casey has won several awards for his teaching and was named national Social Studies Teacher of the Year for the American Teacher Awards in 1992. He led the design team for the UFT’s Secondary Charter School and has served as the liaison between the Board of Trustees and the school.