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Committee Chair Bio

Hexagon with green background and text ESL/Bilingual Committee

Committee Chair Josie Avellanet Levine is a product of the New York City public school system. She attended PS 145, JHS 54 & George Washington HS and received her BA in history from Hunter College and an M.A. from CCNY. She also did graduate work at New York University and Columbia University and received a fellowship from Spain’s Ministry of Exterior Affairs to study at the University of Alcalá-Henares.

Josie spent 25 years as an English as a Second Language classroom educator, devoting her entire teaching career to working with English language learners and ensuring that they receive a quality education. As an in-service educator, Josie was also a delegate to the UFT’s delegate assembly and to the NYSUT and AFT conventions.

Her union activism has won Josie a Trachtenberg Award and a NYSUT Community Service Award. On June 7, 2010, she was awarded the Pearl Berger Political and Legislative Award for her union advocacy in the political and legislative arenas.

Josie has also worked as a consultant for the Discovery Channel and traveled across the US and abroad facilitating workshops on the integration of media and technology as interdisciplinary educational tools. Josie was awarded four national Time Warner Cable “Crystal Apple" awards and was honored at City Hall and Gracie Mansion for her innovative work in the classroom. She was the only K-12 public school educator invited to the White House Media Conference and has been profiled in the American Teacher and TIME magazine and published by Vanderbilt University and Arizona State University.

Since leaving the classroom, Josie has continued her involvement in the UFT as an active member of the Retired Teachers Chapter and by chairing the UFT’s English as a Second Language/Bilingual Committee. She also continues as a member of the union’s delegate assembly; is a member of the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee’s executive board; and for the last six years has participated in the AFT’s “Back to School” program in McAllen, Texas, where she visits schools and encourages Texas staff to join the union.