Director of Student Affairs
Already a core member of the Middle Way community as a parent, Jen brings more than 25 years of leadership and administrative experience in educational organizations, most recently as an Assistant Dean at Bard College. Jen supports students’ individual needs while maintaining open lines of communication with families and staff. She also has the herculean task of managing our daily schedule and programming. We are thrilled to have Jen on board.
After three years as a member of the Middle Way School parent community, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve our beautiful school as a member of the administrative team. I come to this role with a deep respect and appreciation for the talented teachers and staff and a true enjoyment of the energy, curiosity, and creativity that children bring to each moment and situation. I also bring the perspective of a working parent during a pandemic, and immense gratitude for all of the parents who entrust us with their children and contribute so much positive energy and effort to help our school community thrive.
Before joining the Middle Way team, I worked at Bard College for 14 years, most recently as the Assistant Dean of Studies and Director of Academic Advising. In this role, I worked individually with students who were experiencing academic challenges and personal crises, and I collaborated with family members and staff to creatively adapt the learning environment to meet the needs of each student. In addition to Bard College, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many incredible educational organizations over the past 25 years, in roles such as Director of the Girls Leadership Workshop at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, Director of the Teen Parent Center for the Santa Fe Public Schools, and Coordinator of the Success By 6 program for United Way of Santa Fe County. In all of these positions, I supported young people and their families through challenging situations, and created structures, systems, and programming to advance the mission and sustain the programs into the future. I have a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Organizing and Administration and partial training as a Waldorf teacher.
In both my personal and my professional life, I am a committed anti-oppression activist who engages in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work on multiple levels. I was a founding member of the Bard College Council for Inclusive Excellence and worked with that group for 10 years to make lasting improvements and cultural shifts on campus. I also advised the student-led Anti-Racism Collective at Bard, facilitated anti-oppression workshops for campus groups, and supervised the Bard Educational Opportunity Programs. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the MWS Anti-Racist Coalition and building relationships with other social justice groups as we work together to expand diversity and strengthen equity and inclusion at MWS.
I first began to explore Buddhism while working at the Omega Institute in 2005, and. I am still developing my own personal practice and knowledge of Buddhism, and I am really excited to join a team that nourishes this journey. I truly believe that expanding access to Buddhist thinking, perspectives, and practices, especially for young people, is critical to creating a positive future for our world. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the larger mission of MWS, and to support students, families, and staff while our vibrant learning community continues to thrive and grow!
I currently live in Cantine’s Island Co-housing Community in the village of Saugerties with my husband Michael, daughter Charlotte (an Owl at MWS), and our fabulous golden retriever and certified therapy dog, Pepper. I enjoy swimming in creeks and waterfalls, yoga, cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, green building design, and doing therapy dog work. I also love creating outdoor experiences with children that allow space and freedom for kids to explore the natural world and connect with themselves and one another.