Team Member

Jen DeNeal

Message Jen DeNeal

Jen DeNeal

Director of Policy and Research

Jen DeNeal, Director of Policy and Research at the Education Trust-Midwest, is an education policy professional with more than a decade of experience in the field.

Believing strongly that zip codes should not determine educational outcomes, Jen began her career as a K-12 music teacher in rural eastern Arkansas. She then moved to North Carolina to pursue graduate studies in public policy. Following graduate school, Jen combined her practical classroom and academic policy backgrounds at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

She worked on a variety of projects centered on North Carolina teacher quality for several years before moving to the North Carolina State Board of Education as a Leadership for Educational Equity Public Policy Fellow, focused on writing and revising state education policy. In that role, Jen helped coordinate the launch of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission and assisted in the revision of educator and principal preparation policies. As the associate director for ethics and policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jen led an equity audit evaluating university policies in terms of equity and accessibility in support of the university’s efforts to build a culture of integrity and transparency through healthy policy processes.

Jen has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from Duke University, and a PhD in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University.