Meet Jeannine King, Director of Student Support at Bronx Community Charter School, a small learning community founded on the principle that children learn best when they are active participants in their own learning.
Jeannine King has been an educator for the last 21 years and is working each day to ensure better education for her students. She started out with Teach For America, for which she moved from Texas to New York in 2000. Second-year of teaching, she got pregnant and decided to accept a position as an assistant teacher at a Manhattan private school, while she was raising her son. After a break back home in Texas, Jeannine returned to New York and joined a teaching fellows program. She was a special education teacher for the NYC Department of Education for 8 years before her current school in the Bronx. She changed her field from general education to special education during this time.
After working as a teacher for 3 months in the Bronx Community Charter School, the co-directors of the institution offered her a leadership position as the Director of Student Support, and has been acing the role ever since. Her responsibilities include coordinating all special education programming for the school, running meetings, connecting with service providers, ensuring teachers receive adequate support and working closely with families. Talking about the institution, she says, “Bronx Community School is a progressive charter school. It believes in hands-on learning, independent choice, and voice for its kids. They take field trips and have arts programs to learn and grow. Children learn to use their minds well, cultivating strong intellectual habits and skills to become self-directed learners with clear passions and ambitions.”
The journey has been quite challenging for Jeannine, especially being a single parent. It has been a steep learning curve. Fortunately, her son attends her school, so she doesn’t have to worry about him too much. They come to school together, and they leave it at the same time. She is trying to balance work and home without letting any side suffer. Assuming the position as a director, many questioned Jeannine’s abilities or if she was qualified for the role. However, she has support from her co-directors, who have her back. They acted as a solid support system so that people saw her as a leader and accepted her authority. She has defied all odds and proven to be an excellent leader, living up to the founders’ confidence in her when she was chosen for the position.
Jeannine has had an inspiring journey, and she is passionate about what she does. As an educator and now a director, she understands the needs of both students and teachers and is trying her best to make it easier for them. The strategy that worked for her was to continue learning along the way. Even if she didn’t know something that was required for the job, she took the time to learn it to give her best. It’s her dedication and hard work that has paved the way for her success in transforming the school into a top learning community for students.