Lynn Jennings, Ph.D
Senior Director of National and State Partnerships
As Ed Trust’s senior director of national and state partnerships, Lynn leads the organization’s initiatives to engage and mobilize a diverse group of advocates at the national, state, and local levels who are working to forever close gaps in opportunity and achievement. The Education Trust’s national and state partnerships is especially focused on state-based engagement around implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed in 2015, and working to improve access to and success in college for historically underserved students.
Lynn previously served as the Senior Legislative Affairs Associate at the Ed Trust where she designed and implemented federal and state legislative campaigns around the organization’s K-12 and higher education equity work. In this position, she worked with several federal and state decision makers to inform and further policies that will increase the academic performance of low-income students and students of color.
Before joining Ed Trust, Lynn worked for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, where she directed the foundation’s professional fellowship programs for young professionals working on Capitol Hill. 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 varied institutions of higher education including Spelman College, Columbia College Chicago, and 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.