Principals’ union takes school leaders’ friendly faces to the subway

If you’ve ridden the subway lately, you may have just noticed a series of posters advertising the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the city’s principals union.

When we called the CSA to ask what was up with the ads, spokeswoman Chiara Coletti said that the main goal of the advertisements is to raise awareness of the link between how principals are trained and treated to the overall quality of a school.

But they have the huge added benefit, Coletti said, of raising the spirits of the unions’ members themselves.

“It really makes the school leaders feel good,” she said.

Coletti said that this is actually the sixth year the union has run the subway posters. But, she said, this year’s series has garnered more attention than any other year.

The models in the posters are Jeremy Kabinoff, the assistant principal of I.S. 181 in the Bronx; Sonia Nieves, principal of Queens’ J.H.S 226; Lois Lee, a day care center director at the Chinese-American Planning Council in Queens and Wladimir Thomas, an education administrator at Brooklyn’s Integrated Service Center.

The models are all active union members, Coletti said, but the ads have also prompted a number of calls to her office from other members asking if they can be the next faces of the union.

“Their students all love it, too, and tease them–but in a good way,” Coletti said.

About a thousand posters are running on all of the city’s subway lines, said union spokeswoman Antoinette Isable.

The CSA declined to disclose how much money they were spending on the advertising campaign.

“We don’t do much advertising,” Coletti said. “We’re not a rich union; we’re small.” But, she said, the subway posters were “an extremely economical” way of quickly reaching many people in the city.

The same union members will also soon appear in a series of community newspaper ads to encourage parents to attend parent-teacher conferences during Open School Week, November 15-21.

The union has done more targeted, issues-based advertising in the past. In the spring, the union ran a series of newspaper ads in support of mayoral control. The union is also running a series of newspaper ads advocating for a new contract for day care center directors, who have gone three years without a contract with the city.

Those kinds of ads, targeted to specific issues, are more similar to the advertising strategy used by the teachers union. According to UFT spokesman Dick Riley, the union prefers television spots to speak to issues such as budget cuts and teacher shortages.