Texas AFT’s Phyllis Ruffin Elected As Top 3 Finalist for TRS Board of Trustees

Phyllis Ruffin speaks at an April press conference at the Capitol with fellow Texas AFT Retiree Plus members, as well as Rep. John Bryant and Rep. Mihaela Plesa, about the need for a real COLA for retired educators.

This week, Texas AFT retiree Phyllis Ruffin was selected as a finalist to fill a vacant position on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees. As one of the top-three vote getters, Ruffin is one of three finalists who will be considered by the governor to fill the board vacancy. 

According to election results, which were announced Tuesday, tens of thousands of votes were cast by active and retired employees across the state. Ruffin received almost 20,000 votes for the “at-large” trustee position on the board; in that position, she would directly represent both active and retired educators on the TRS board.

Ruffin, a retired behavior interventionist and paraprofessional with Alief ISD, is a member of the Texas AFT Retiree Plus board, representing Alief AFTSE. Since retiring nearly 10 years ago, Ruffin has remained an active union member. She regularly attends TRS Board of Trustees meetings to understand the pension system and advocate for her fellow retirees. During this most recent session and previous legislative sessions, Ruffin frequently visited the Capitol to push legislators to pass a TRS COLA.

Her lifelong motto is “lift as you climb,” a motto she has embodied as an educator, as a volunteer with her church and the NAACP, and as a single mother. 

The TRS Board of Trustees is responsible for administering the system. In addition to making critical decisions for TRS’ nearly $200 billion pension fund, the TRS Board of Trustees is also in charge of both TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care. Though the board is not responsible for setting the amount in monthly annuities that retirees receive, the decisions the board makes impact the health of the fund.

Texas AFT supports Phyllis Ruffin and encourages the governor to select her to serve on the TRS Board of Trustees.

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