Ellen Bernstein

Albuquerque Teachers Federation

Dr. Ellen Bernstein is the President of the Albuquerque Federation of Teachers. In this interview, she discusses the importance of teacher input in the planning process for the Common Core, as well as the need for sufficient time to prepare for the new standards.


Born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Ellen Bernstein began her career in public education as a sign language interpreter prior to becoming a classroom teacher and taught in the Albuquerque Public Schools for a total of 17 years. Over the course of her teaching career, Dr. Bernstein developed expertise in multi-age level teaching and inclusion and became a National Board Certified teacher.

Throughout her teaching career, Dr. Bernstein has been a union activist and worked her way through the ranks of involvement and leadership before being elected ATF President, an office which she has now held for 11 years. Her doctoral dissertation examined the close link between unionism and professionalism, and as ATF President, Dr. Bernstein has shown a strong commitment to building effective, teacher-led professional development structures within the union such as the ATF Teacher Leadership Foundation.

Dr. Bernstein continues to expand her role as a unionist and advocate for public education. She is active in the American Federation of Teachers as a member of the AFT Program and Policy Council. She has most recently taken on the role of co-director of the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) and has participated in district-wide planning for the Common Core State Standards funded by the Gates Foundation.


This project is a collaboration between the Albuquerque Federation of Teachers and Colorín Colorado, and is funded by the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund.