Dennis Giordano
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Obituary of Dennis N. Giordano

Dennis N. Giordano - MT. ARLINGTON, NJ -- Dennis N. Giordano, president of the New Jersey Education Association from 1985 to 1989 and long-time education association activist in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, died Monday, May 2, after a lengthy illness. He was 66. Elected to NJEA's highest office at age 40, he was among the youngest presidents in the association's history. During his tenure as NJEA president, he worked to obtain a new minimum salary bill for teachers, helped garner paid medical coverage for retired educators with 25 years of service credit, and aided in obtaining increased lifetime major medical coverage for retired public school employees -from $100,000 to $1 million. Under his leadership, the NJEA Urban Challenge identified the elements required for successful comprehensive programs to help New Jersey's poorest students. He pressed lawmakers, state officials, and school districts to undertake proven methods for improving urban schools. Born in Orange, N.J., Giordano attended Orange and West Orange, N.J., public schools. To pay for college, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service while in high school and college, holding a 40-hour-a-week night job while attending college classes during the day. He earned a B.A., then a master's degree in educational administration from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. In 1987, he was honored as the William Paterson University's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. After college, he began his teaching career in Orange and then spent the following years teaching in the Parsippany-Troy Hills and Montville Public Schools followed by a lengthy tenure teaching English at Wayne Hills High School. Determined to improve the status of teaching and education, he got involved in the leadership of the local, county and state associations. He was elected to a two-year term as NJEA secretary-treasurer in 1981, then elected NJEA vice president in 1983. He was elected the NJEA president's seat in 1985, then re-elected in 1987. In June 1989, Giordano became executive director of the West Virginia Education Association. Under his leadership, WVEA members organized West Virginia's first statewide teacher strike in March 1990 to protest their having among the lowes

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