NYS PTA mourns the loss of our President, Lorey A. Zaman
|September 3, 2020 (Albany) – It is with utmost sadness that on behalf of the Zaman and Gentry families and the NYS PTA Governance Team, we announce the sudden passing of our State President, Lorey A. Zaman.|
For all of our PTA family, it’s difficult to comprehend these events. In Lorey’s memory, perhaps the best we can do is band together to comfort and support one another as she would want us to do.
Coming from New Hartford, New York with her four children – Siraj, Khaleela, Safia and Kai and her two dogs, Coconut and Trudy – Lorey was beginning a new life in Albertville, Alabama alongside her fiancé Michael Gentry, whom she met in what seemed destiny at a PTA convention.
Lorey was unanimously elected NYS PTA President in November 2018, after a long and distinguished volunteer career serving New York’s children, families, and educators. In her nearly two-year tenure as President, Lorey was a strong voice committed to support for our state’s most vulnerable children and ensuring equity, equality, and inclusion for all children.
She gracefully led PTA during times of great advocacy – fighting to ban flavored e-cigarettes while opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana, and times of great uncertainty as NYS PTA supported children, families, and educators through the COVID-19 pandemic.
And most importantly, she took pride each and every day in her children and their success.
Lorey had a vision for her NYS PTA Presidency. Her theme – Garner the Past, Change Today and Embrace Tomorrow calls for all to join in crossing the bridge to a future of focusing on kids, keeping a positive, forward-thinking mindset, being bold and brave and leading with passion. In her message at the state convention last fall, Lorey concluded, “Leadership is not about being the best leader; leadership is about making everyone else better, and Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; Courage means you don’t let fear stop you. Thank you for all you do – I will see you on the other side!”
Jane E Harsha, NYS PTA 1st Vice President shares, “Lorey had an infectious enthusiasm and inspiring commitment to the work of PTA. More importantly, she never let the demands of leading a large organization dim her bright vision of its core purpose–to protect and nurture all children, everywhere.”
“On behalf of the NYS PTA Governance Team and staff, we truly mourn Lorey, and give our deepest sympathies to her family,” offered Kyle Belokopitsky, NYS PTA Executive Director on behalf of our staff members Carol Raymond, Dania Welch, Donna Trikoulis, Linda Lorusso, Michael Polhemus, and many former colleagues in the PTA office. “Lorey leaves a lasting legacy with NYS PTA. She gave her heart and soul to this association for more than two decades. She was an innovative thinker, a passionate advocate, and believed that it was her mission – our mission – to support every child with one voice. We promise to carry on her legacy, to make every child’s potential a reality, and to live like she did – with integrity, honesty, passion, love, dedication, and commitment to our PTA values. We will miss you dear friend each and every day.”
“Lorey was a dynamic leader whose passion, smile and love of life were heartfelt and infectious. She was a fierce advocate for children and made a true difference for New York and our nation’s children,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “The PTA family is deeply saddened to lose such a passionate and committed advocate and a friend. Lorey touched so many lives personally and professionally and leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our deepest sympathies to Lorey’s family. Our thoughts, prayers and hearts go out to her loved ones, friends and colleagues.”
Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, offered, “I send my prayers to the family of NYS PTA President Lorey A. Zaman. It was an honor to work with Lorey advocating for students, parents and teachers across the state. Her passion and commitment shone through and made her a remarkably effective advocate. We mourn Lorey’s devastating loss and pray for strength for her fiancé and four children during this unspeakably difficult time.”
“Lorey Zaman’s loss is felt deeply by those within the State Education Department who worked side-by-side with her for New York’s children,” offered Interim State Education Commissioner Rosa and Vice Chancellor Brown. “She was a passionate crusader, faithfully representing parents in the fight for an equitable, high-quality education for each and every student across the state. Through her kindness, compassion and dedication, Lorey left an indelible mark on so many; it’s a legacy that will live on. This is an unimaginable tragedy for her family, especially her four children, to whom we send our thoughts and strength.”
“Within the school community, the bond between school boards and the PTA has been one of strength,” said Robert Schneider, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association. “The NYSSBA family would like to pass on our sympathy for the tragic loss of NYS PTA President Lorey A. Zaman.” Schneider added, “Lorey leaves a legacy behind of always keeping the parents informed, which in turn benefited the school community.”
“The NYSUT family is deeply saddened to hear of Lorey’s passing. Lorey’s work on behalf of New York’s students and their families will live on, and her passion and dedication will be remembered. Our hearts go out to her fiancé, children and family,” offered NYS United Teachers (NYSUT).
“Lorey Zaman’s sudden and shocking death is a terrible loss,” John Yagielski adds, Chair of the NYS Educational Conference Board. “She earned my respect and admiration for her untiring commitment to students and teachers. A strong leader and a very special person who will be greatly missed by all.”
Chuck Dedrick, Executive Director of NYS Council of School Superintendents, shares, “People like Lorey who give of themselves for our children need to be thanked, appreciated, and remembered. All of us at NYSCOSS are thinking of her, her family, and the NYS PTA.”
“So many wonderful memories, a million laughs and a ton of fun, all while we passionately worked and advocated on behalf of every child, with one voice,” added Dana Platin, NYS PTA Vice President. “Lorey was fierce and she cared deeply. As her friend, it is devastating, so it is unimaginable how it must be for her fiancé and her four children. Such a terribly sad and tragic loss. My heart aches for them so.”
Antoinette Darden-Cintron, NYS PTA Vice President, shares, “When I think of Lorey, I will always see a woman, a partner, a mother, an advocate, and a friend that embodied a bold, brave, and beautiful presence in this life. A mother extraordinaire, supportive, loving and so giving to her children. I will never forget Lorey’s fun and fighter spirit that inspired others to get up and dance and follow her lead. She faced adversity with a fierce strength and tenacity to overcome any obstacles along the way. Lorey’s friendship will forever remain as one of the best highlights of my PTA experience. To know Lorey is to know what it feels like to laugh heartily and to instinctively smile as bright as the sun. While my heart may feel broken now, I will look at every blue sky with the brightest shine of the sun and know there’s Lorey, blessing all that knew her and every life that she has touched. Lorey, though I will miss you deeply, I know you’re in good company with the angels above.”
“I would like to send my deepest condolences to Lorey’s family, her four children, and her fiancé on her sudden passing. Lorey was an extremely dedicated child advocate that was unwavering in her convictions for the betterment of ALL children, and will be greatly missed. May she forever rest in peace,” adds Lucille Vitale, NYS PTA Vice President.
Helen Hoffman, NYS PTA Secretary, shares, “Lorey was my friend and PTA colleague. As friends, I had a special relationship with her children Siraj, Khaleela, Safia and Kai. As her colleague, in her first year as President she assigned me to be the Designated Officer of Bylaws and Youth Members. I remember that day she said to me ‘I am assigning you our Youth Members because you are their PTA mom.’ And when she assigned me the Membership Team, I knew it was because our membership team was where her heart was. Lorey was always my biggest supporter and she made me look at things a different way. I will miss you Lorey, especially your smile. Fly high my friend. Until we met again.”
“Lorey’s unwavering commitment to all children was truly remarkable whether she was on a mission to build a school in the Dominican Republic to her role as NYS PTA President,” shared NYS PTA Treasurer Patty Frazier. “Her vision for our association was rooted in her steadfast desire to better the lives of children and families. She was a dedicated leader and friend and it was my honor to serve with her.”
Gracemarie Rozea, NYS PTA Immediate Past President, adds “PTA and children have lost one of their most passionate advocates. For Lorey, it was always about the kids. She was someone who was willing to think outside the box and take a chance on something different and new. Her hope was for ALL children to return to school in person this year – I hope that her vision becomes a reality. Lorey left her imprint on PTA and made a difference for ALL children.”
“We have lost a friend and a fierce advocate for all children. She led our association with heart and passion to make sure EVERY child has what they need to make their potential a reality. She is forever in our hearts, and will be missed,” shared Bonnie Russell, NYS PTA Past President.
“We at Leatherstocking Region are deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of NYS PTA President, Lorey A. Zaman. Lorey hails from Leatherstocking and was a fierce advocate for all children not only regionally, but also across the State. Lorey’s legacy is an inspiration to the many units in our region. She was a great mentor and we will miss a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with her four children, Siraj, Khaleela, Safia and Kai, and also with her fiancé, Mike,” offered Leatherstocking Region Board of Directors and Members.
Lorey’s PTA accomplishments were many, as she was recipient of a National PTA Honorary Life Membership, NYS PTA Distinguished Service Award, NYS PTA Honorary Life Membership, NYS PTA Growth Through Leadership Award Phases 1 & 2, NYS PTA Advocate In Action Award, and NYS PTA ACT Award.
Before serving as NYS PTA President, she served as NYS PTA Vice President, Outreach Coordinator, Field Support Coordinator, Region Director, Orientation Co-Coordinator, Chair of Structure Special Committee, and a member of the Bylaws, Reflections Theme Search, State and Local Relationships, Summer Leadership Conference, Youth Humanitarian Award in Memory of Stanley Marcus, Nominating, and Strategic Planning committees, and Convention Banquet Host.
Most importantly to her, she served her unit and council in New Hartford, NY as President, Vice President of Ways and Means and Programs, Treasurer, Secretary, Council Delegate, Legislation Chair, Reflections Chair, Bylaws Chair, Membership, Ecology Club Chair, First Lego League Chair, Nominating Committee Chair, Yearbook Chair, 6th Grade Graduation Chair, Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, Special Project Chair, Art Show Committee.
Leatherstocking Region was always important to her. There, she served as Region Director, Associate Director, Treasurer, Secretary, Bylaws Chair, Reflections Chair, Legislation Chair, Nominating Committee Chair.
Personally, between Nursing and Cytology, Lorey spent thirty years in health care, holding positions in clinical medicine, Baccalaureate education, Pathology Management and Cancer Diagnostic Sales and Marketing. Committed to life-long learning, Lorey graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2015. Lorey worked as the Compliance Coordinator for Nascentia Health based in Syracuse, NY.
In her free time, Lorey enjoyed spending time with her family and friends and singing to anything that made her want to dance.
Any cards and mailed condolences you wish to send can be mailed to the NYS PTA office at
1 Wembley Court, Albany, NY 12205. We will forward all condolences to Lorey’s family. If you have a special delivery to the family, please call the state office at 518-452-8808 for delivery instructions.
The NYS Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (NYS PTA) is honored to represent the families of our 2.6 million school children and our nearly 300,000 member parents, families, and educators. It is our mission to make every child’s potential a reality and support EVERY child with ONE voice. www.nyspta.org