SEATTLE—Iris Landry, a paraeducator at Grace King High School in Jefferson Parrish, La., is one of six American Federation of Teachers members to be honored as an “AFT Everyday Hero” Sunday at the AFT’s national convention for her exceptional commitment to her students, school and community.
The awards, new this year, are presented to members from each of AFT’s five employee constituencies plus a retiree. Landry was chosen from among seven finalists in the paraprofessionals and school-related personnel division. The award recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound impact on the workplace or has performed extraordinary community service outside of the job.
A veteran of 35 years in the classroom, Landry has made a specialty of educating students with profound disabilities. After retiring in 2003, she was called back to service in 2005 to help colleagues at Grace King High School work with a wheelchair-bound special education student who was included in regular classes. Landry became his hands, taking notes for him. Her tutoring and encouragement helped him graduate with a regular diploma this spring.
Away from school, Landry takes care of a person with brain cancer, and has also has been a personal care attendant for a non-verbal 23-year-old with autism since he was 6 years old.
Landry is a member of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers in Louisiana.
The AFT is holding its biennial convention July 7-11 in Seattle. Coming together under the theme “Building Futures Together,” more than 3,000 delegates will vote on major union policies that address the need to save and strengthen public education, build common cause with communities, and improve the institutions in which our members work.