Jacki Levine was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved to Miami Beach, where her great grandparents had been wintering since the 1940s, when she was two months old.
Her girlhood was spent amid the coconut palms and pink sidewalks of that tropical tourist town. But she always felt a nostalgia for New York, inspired by her family’s fond memories of city life – venturing to the corner “candy store” for egg creams and savoring hot pizza-by-the-slice through the sidewalk windows of Flatbush Avenue pizza parlors.
So it’s no surprise that her favorite book since childhood is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” whose protagonist, Francie Nolan, grew up in poverty in the tenements of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in pre-World War I, New York.
Francie’s daily life couldn’t have been less like her own, except for one thing: Reading. Francie spent summer days sitting on her fire escape, lost in a book. Jacki did the same, sans the fire escape, which she always thought must be the world’s best place to read.
For Jacki, a love of reading developed into a love of words, and writing stories and poetry. (She still remembers by heart the poem she wrote for her elementary commencement). A love of words – and a natural curiosity – led her to journalism as a choice of vocation.
Jacki graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism with a minor in English from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a master of arts in journalism and communications from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.
Jacki recently became editor of FORUM Magazine, the statewide publication of the nonprofit Florida Humanities Council.
Previously, she was the founding editor Gainesville Magazine, a bi-monthly city magazine published in conjunction with The Gainesville Sun.
Jacki was managing editor of The Sun, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, from 1998 until 2012.
During her tenure at The Sun previous to becoming managing editor, she held a variety of positions, including assistant managing editor, features editor and writer. Highlights include coordinating the newspaper’s redesign, honored with the Society of News Designs’ World’s Best Designed Newspaper Award; participating in the Sunrise Project Team that created The Sun’s 24-7 digital; creating The Sun and Gainesville Magazine’s Spirit of Gainesville Awards, and launching Gainesville Magazine.
Among notable honors, The New York Times Company Punch Sulzberger Awards for Achievement in Editorial and Community Services presented to teams of which she was a member: 2003, for the creation of Gainesville Magazine, and 2007 for the Sunrise Project, as well as numerous awards for Gainesville Magazine.
She is a board member/immediate past president of the Florida Magazine Association; on the leadership team and grants committee of Gainesville’s Women’s Giving Circle; a former member of the board of the University of Florida Performing Arts; member of the Women’s Forum, and current chair of the University of Florida’s Department of Journalism Advisory Council.
She is married to Alan Agresti, a University of Florida Distinguished Professor Emeritus of statistics.
Her hobbies include travel, gardening, reading (inspired by her wonderful book club) and various crafts.