Meet Jeanne Allen

Jeanne Allen

Jeanne Allen is an entrepreneur, an innovator and a leader. Her entire career has been devoted to edreform, and as a result, Jeanne is the most recognized and respected expert, thought leader, speaker, and writer in the field.  She founded the Center for Education Reform (CER) in 1993 and leads the nationwide fight to ensure that the bedrock of U.S. schooling is innovation, freedom and flexibility.

Jeanne knows that education can change a life’s trajectory and deeply cares that all Americans have an opportunity to experience a world class education. She is the inspiration behind EdReformUÔ, a unique online program to teach students the history of education reform policy.  As a devoted lifelong learner, Jeanne graduated with a Masters Degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Ed Entrepreneurship program in 2015.

Jeanne puts her expertise to use as she counsels a number of entrepreneurial education and technology companies, including CommonLit, Junior Explorer and the Modern States Education Alliance. Major edtech investors and accelerators, including DreamIT, 1776 and GSV Labs, count Jeanne as one of their key mentors. Her professional impact balances with service, as she sits on several boards, including the nationally recognized Washington Leadership Academy in Washington, DC; StartEd in NYC; and the Challenge Charter School in Chandler, AZ.  Among her charitable and civic work, Jeanne is on the Leadership Council of the National Italian American Foundation, is a Dame of Malta, and an active member of the John Carroll Society. In addition, Jeanne was awarded the Education Industry Association’s “Friend of Education Award” in 2012, Working Mother’s “Most Powerful Moms in Education,” and the Black Alliance for Educational Options’ Champion Award in 2013.

As a frequent media commentator, Jeanne has also published hundreds of articles and commentaries in newspapers and journals and as well as her own blog, Reality Check-In. Jeanne speaks with a passionate honesty that touches on vital issues like reform, choice for parents, and teacher accountability.  This resonant voice has made her articles “essential reading” in outlets like The Huffington Post. Jeanne’s work, Manifesto: A Movement at Risk (2016), has been widely shared as a sentinel statement on the current state of educational reform.   Her book, The School Reform Handbook: How to Improve Your Schools (1995) ignited parent-led efforts for education reform and her 2014 publication, Education Reform: Before it Was Cool documents critical milestones during her work over the past 20 plus years.

Jeanne has been a trusted advisor to Presidents, governors, and lawmakers, and continues to provide valuable counsel to policymakers, philanthropists and other colleagues in education.  She began her career on Capitol Hill and was a senior official in the US Department of Education from 1983-1988. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dickinson College and a masters of science in Education Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania.

When time permits, she enjoys visiting the village of her family’s origin in Campania, Italy, and spends time on the water, especially with her husband Dr. Kevin Strother, an educator, musician and charter boat captain. Her four young adult children are in various stages of school and work; some not surprisingly in the education reform arena. These activities and her family and friends contribute to Jeanne’s deep appreciation of wine.

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