[ Fighting for you ]

DiBrango leaves strong record of achievement

By Kara Smith


Jolene DiBrango smiling wearing a black blazer and blouse

rom leading NYSUT efforts to reform New York’s grades 3–8 ELA and math assessments to launching an initiative to recruit professionals into the education field to broadening the work of the NYSUT Women’s Committee, outgoing NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango has made her mark.

“I’m really proud of the work we did with the Correct the Test campaign,” said DiBrango, noting that the statewide union kept the pressure on then-state Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia by diligently counteracting misleading statements she made about the tests, point-by-point.

A special order of business, introduced by DiBrango and approved unanimously from the floor of the 2019 NYSUT Representative Assembly, also had a big impact. It cited NYSUT’s lack of confidence in the commissioner and called on the Board of Regents for a real fix to the state testing system, said DiBrango.

“I think it was a catalyst that led to her decision to step down. We passed that resolution in May and by June she announced she was leaving.”

Being out in front of the teacher shortage is another point of pride. “We were one of the first groups out there sounding the alarm,” said DiBrango. The union’s work to increase teacher diversity and strengthen the educator pipeline through its Take a Look at Teaching initiative has recruited a thousand students into the education field.

“We are also working with a panel of educators of color to help shape the next phase of the work to recruit a diverse cadre of teachers,” she said.

DiBrango was honored to support the work of the NYSUT Women’s Committee, a group begun by Karen Magee, NYSUT’s first female president. “Working with an incredible group of women, we transformed the group from a committee to a movement of committed, dedicated, passionate and skilled female leaders,” said DiBrango. “What started as one committee has grown to more than 30 local chapters statewide.”

From her early involvement as a building rep and president of the Pittsford District Teachers Association to her work as a statewide officer, DiBrango has always sought to lead with integrity and authenticity.

“I gave everything I had to my work, and I hope that my union siblings remember me as a hard-working leader who was committed to helping people and making our work lives better through the union.”