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Vice president for education post won by DeJesus

Evelyn DeJesus

UFT Manhattan Borough Representative Evelyn DeJesus, a fierce union advocate and respected teacher, was elected the union’s vice president for education by a unanimous vote of the Executive Board on Sept. 22.

DeJesus has replaced former Vice President Catalina Fortino, who was elected a vice president of New York State United Teachers, the UFT’s state affiliate, at the Representative Assembly last April.

“Evelyn is a fighter for our members, but she’s much more than that,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. “She’s a skilled educator whose innovative instructional strategies during her days as a teacher in District 2 were a model for the rest of the state.”

Indeed, DeJesus’ methods for collaborative team teaching drew visitors and instructional leaders statewide to her classroom at PS 126, where she was also the chapter leader.

DeJesus’ readiness to fight for better teaching and learning conditions was evident when, as a single parent, she blew the whistle on environmentally unsafe conditions at one of her daughter’s schools. The attention she brought to the situation led to a citywide war against asbestos in school buildings in 1993.

She used that drive to gain a position as assistant director in a student support program for pregnant teens, pursuing a bachelor’s degree part time in the process. Once she had the qualifications, she easily made the transition into the classroom.

DeJesus became UFT District 2 representative in 2003 and Manhattan borough representative in 2008. She also serves as the president of the UFT Charter School.

She is on the board of directors for NYSUT, where she heads the Labor and Religion Coalition.

On the national level, she is a vice president with the AFT, where she also serves on the AFT Teachers program and policy council, and is vice president and executive board member of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

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