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
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
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.