Debra Jennings is the executive co-director of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, a non-profit organization committed to working with parents and professionals to attain the educational rights of all children, thereby enabling them to become fully participating and contributing members of our communities and society.
Ms. Jennings has more than 15 years experience working with schools, parents, and communities in school improvement and other initiatives benefiting children and families. Ms. Jennings chaired Governor’s Family Involvement Committee in New Jersey and participates on the NJ Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, NJ Teacher Quality Enhancement Consortium Advisory Board, the National Center on Special Education Monitoring & Accountability Advisory Board, the NJ Association of Partners in Education Board, the NJ State Improvement Grant Management Team, the Child Behavioral Health/Children’s System of Care Implementation Advisory Committee, the Board of the NJ Parents’ Caucus, and the Improving Minority Achievement Network Initiative. She is the founder of Concerned African-American Parents, and has served as a School Board member. Jennings directs SPAN’s START (Statewide Technical Assistance Resources Team), funded by the NJ Department of Education in part through NJ’s State Improvement which provides technical assistance and support to parents in local communities to develop and/or strengthen parent support groups.
At SPAN, she has developed numerous informational materials, including Parent Involvement, Choice and Notice under NCLB and Other Federal Laws; Parent’s Guide to No Child Left Behind; the Family Guide to Selecting Supplemental Service Providers (2003). She has also developed numerous trainings, including No Child Left Behind & IDEA: Tools for Student Achievement; Choosing and Using Supplemental Service Providers; Parent-Professional Partnership in Developing your School’s Parent Involvement Policy; The Parent’s Role in Teaching and Learning; and Using Data to Make Decisions for School Improvement.
In addition to organizing people and projects, her professional background also includes economic development, real estate finance and construction. A graduate of Northwestern University, Ms. Jennings is completing further graduate study as the Kellogg Foundation NonProfit Management Opportunity Fellow of the Seton Hall University Center for Public Service Masters in Public Administration program.