Jacquelyn MartellDFER NY New York, NY Award Year: 2023
Jacquelyn Martell is an education activist, organizer, and political strategist, with unique experience straddling union organizing and education reform. She is Executive Director of DFER NY, a national political organization that supports elected Democrats who prioritize a high-quality education for all students. Martell was instrumental behind the scenes in getting the New York State Legislature to pass the Early Mail Voter Act to bring New York one step closer to universal, no-excuse absentee voting. This bill, passed in the final days of the 2023 legislative session, could have an outsized impact on expanding access to voting in the nation’s fourth most populous state. A dedicated advocate for children and families and community cultivator, Martell previously served as the New York State Director of Advocacy at Achievement First, where she led advocacy initiatives, community engagement efforts, and government relations for 23 public schools. She cultivated critical relationships with the community, elected officials, and key stakeholders in a $35 million school expansion initiative in Brooklyn – providing high-quality public education options to more than 8,000 students throughout New York. Previously, she served as a labor organizer for 32BJ SEIU and served as a deputy director for the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She also served as Senior Program Manager for Women’s Entrepreneurs NYC, the first major municipal initiative to address the entrepreneurship gender gap. Jacquelyn also is an avid marathon runner, having completed five marathons to date.