Greater Grand Rapids Instructional Leadership Coach
Jennifer is an educator who is driven to ensure that all students have access to a positive and impactful school experience, and she is especially passionate about early childhood education. She coaches and facilitates professional development for teacher leaders and school leaders in the Greater Grand Rapids region as an Instructional Leadership Coach at Leading Educators.
As a student who did well in school and had teachers who looked like her, Jennifer took for granted her educational experience and the privilege that came with it. She later realized that this opportunity was not present for many students and that schools were perpetuating the inequities that exist within society. This fueled her drive for social justice and the need to focus on the crucial role that schools and teachers play in dismantling systems of oppression in order to give all students the education that they deserve.
Before joining Leading Educators, Jennifer spent four years supporting school transformation in Grand Rapids Public Schools with Partners in School Innovation. Prior to that she was a classroom teacher in Godwin Heights Public Schools, teaching early elementary for ten years before moving into the non-profit world.
Jennifer holds a B.S. in Child Development and an M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum, both from Michigan State University. She lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with her husband, 3 kids, cat and dog. Jen’s other interests are cooking, going to concerts, movies and comedy shows, spending time outside, and enjoying an occasional Netflix binge.
What Inspires You? Kids are always my grounding force. I believe with every ounce of my being that all children have brilliance in them and it is our job to see it and bring it out. I know how critical a strong early elementary experience is, so I get really excited about any chance to focus on foundational skills. I feel they are the key to equitable opportunities that open the door to reading, writing, and successfully accessing content and knowledge.
Fun-fact: Jen is 4’ 7”, the mother of twins, and deathly afraid of fish!