Tom Gillett recently retired after working 16 years as regional staff director for the Rochester office of New York State United Teachers.
In this role, Gillett oversaw the operations of the regional office, including 11 labor relations specialists, a regional political organizer and retiree consultants. During his tenure, he led regional efforts on numerous issues facing public education in the state, such as the campaign to reduce excessive student testing, the push to eliminate the use of unreliable student test scores in teacher evaluation systems and the fight for adequate funding for all public schools.
Gillett has served as an advocate for public education, teachers and other school-related professionals for over 50 years. He helped thousands of union members advocate for better working conditions, fair pay and affordable health care for years.
Prior to coming to NYSUT, Gillett was a teacher in Rochester City School District for 33 years. He taught and coached at East High School, Frederick Douglass Middle School and Children’s School of Rochester. He was honored as Rochester’s Teacher of the Year in 1983. He was one of the first teachers in the state to achieve National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification, the gold star in the teaching profession.
Gillett was a leader in Rochester Teachers Association where he held roles as first vice president, second VP and chief negotiator for 20 years. During his tenure, he negotiated over 20 union contracts for RTA’s members and helped create the nationally recognized mentoring program for new teachers.
Gillett served on the United Way board of directors, Monroe County Education Coalition, Wayne County Education Coalition and the board of fellows for the Center for Governmental Research. He’s been on the board for Rochester Labor Council, and is the secretary for Rochester Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation. He’s an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.