Jeanette De Jesus
Progressive Leadership '21
I am proof that we have an opportunity through education to empower young people to change their lives. And as a teacher, I realized that I needed to keep walking the walk. Getting a degree in leadership was transformative for me.
With a JD from Fordham University School of Law, Jeanette De Jesus began her career as an attorney before switching careers and becoming a New York City Teaching Fellow. After earning her first master’s degree in education from Fordham, she worked as a public school teacher for 16 years before she completed Bank Street Graduate School of Education’s Progressive Leadership program in 2021. Now, as an inclusion instruction coach, De Jesus helps schools across the New York City area implement and maintain inclusive programming that supports special education services in the least restrictive environments.
De Jesus, who grew up in public housing and dropped out of high school at one point, is inspired to advance as a leader so she can help dismantle the kinds of inequities she faced as a student. “I am proof that we have an opportunity through education to empower young people to change their lives,” she said. “And as a teacher, I realized that I needed to keep walking the walk. Getting a degree in leadership was transformative for me.”
De Jesus discovered that leadership is not only about creating a collaborative and cohesive school culture and environment, but it’s also about cultivating other leaders. “In a public school system where justice and racial equity still remains very much at the surface level, I now know how to work to build safe spaces that support healthy social-emotional development not just for students, including the many children of color who may struggle emotionally and behaviorally, but also for our teachers,” she said.