Evelyn DeJesus, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Evelyn DeJesus is the executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. She was elected to the position in July 2019. DeJesus also serves as the vice president for education of the AFT’s largest local, the United Federation of Teachers in New York City. She began her career in education working as a state-certified parent educator and then as an assistant director for the Even Start Program for pregnant teens, all while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
She went on to become an early childhood teacher and reading specialist at PS 126. She earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S.Ed. in education and public administration from Baruch College, an M.S.Ed. in reading and curriculum development from Fordham University and an additional 30 credits in reading from New York University.
A skilled teacher and trained administrator, DeJesus is a forceful advocate for justice undaunted and unafraid to speak truth to power. DeJesus traveled an unexpected road from an engaged parent to educator and trade unionist. Her activism began when one of her daughters became ill during a school construction project. DeJesus publicly exposed the toxic environment. Her courageous whistleblowing actions led to what’s now commonly known as the Great Asbestos Scandal of 1993. DeJesus’ innovative instructional strategies soon became the model within District 2 for collaborative team teaching, and her classroom became a lab site for visitors and instructional leaders throughout the state and nation. Distinguished among educators in her district, DeJesus was selected for inclusion in the Aspiring Leaders Institute for prospective principals. While DeJesus graduated with all the qualifications to attain a school leadership position, she channeled her passion and full commitment to the UFT. DeJesus was tapped to become the district representative for District 2 and subsequently chosen as the Manhattan borough representative, a position she held for seven years prior to becoming the vice president for education in the fall of 2014.
DeJesus’ insight and counsel is sought in a variety of key positions at the state and national levels through her service on the New York State United Teachers board of directors and NYSUT executive council, the New York State Labor and Religion Coalition and the executive board of the AFT Latino Caucus. DeJesus was elected as an AFT vice president at its national convention in July 2014, and she sits on the AFT executive council, the AFT Teachers program and policy council, the AFT Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Committee, and the AFT English Language Learners Cadre; she also chairs the AFT Latino Task Force, offering program and policy recommendations at the federal level. DeJesus was elected as the AFT’s national vice president of Latino advancement in 2014. In 2017, she was appointed to the board of directors for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. In 2018, DeJesus was appointed to the board of directors for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She is a chairperson and leading voice directing the UFT Charter School and is a member of the UFT executive board. Most recently, she was elected as vice president of the National Association for Bilingual Education’s executive board.
DeJesus’ spirituality extends into every aspect of her, and she credits her faith for her achievements. DeJesus is also a chaplain under the New York State Chaplain Task Force. She is the proud wife of Louie and the mother of two beautiful daughters, Tiffany and Kristina. She has been blessed with four grandchildren.