Lynn C. Jennings, Ph.D
Senior Director of National and State Partnerships
Lynn C. Jennings, Ph.D., is the senior director of national and state partnerships for The Education Trust. She leads strategy and advocacy initiatives to ensure school systems are equipped to provide an excellent education for the nation’s most underserved students. Lynn has guided the organization’s growth in 10 critical states by building coalitions and establishing partnerships with education advocacy organizations, traditional and emerging civil rights groups, parent and family organizations, students, and the business community. Under her leadership, Ed Trust has worked with communities, educators, policymakers, and other vital stakeholders on early childhood education, funding equity, educator diversity, college affordability, and accountability.
Before joining Ed Trust, Lynn developed her federal and state education policy expertise by working in government affairs and senior program manager at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. There, she was responsible for the strategic management of all of the foundation’s education programs.
Lynn has a rich history in education. She taught English, African American studies, and women’s studies courses at various higher education institutions, including Spelman College, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a B.A. in English from Spelman College and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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What drew you to education?
My grandfather was the principal of one of two all-black high schools in Bessemer, Alabama, from the 1950s through the 1970s. He believed in the power of education — and knew firsthand that having a strong education can bring better opportunities to and enrich one’s life. A man true to his beliefs, he encouraged my grandmother to complete her college education and ultimately she earned a master’s degree from Indiana University. Five of his eight children became educators (the three outliers did well education-wise, too). I think their experiences of watching my grandparents and growing up in the segregated South showed them that often the system doesn’t work as it should and isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t keep pushing to “beat the system” and at the same time work to make it better. That’s why I wanted to teach and what ultimately brought me to Ed Trust.