CPS welcomes first-ever Officer of Equity, Diversity and Excellence

Chelsea Public Schools (CPS) is proud to welcome Dr. Aaron T. Jennings, a talented leader to CPS, as the first ever Officer of Equity, Diversity and Excellence. 

“I am excited to have Dr. Aaron Jennings join our team.  Dr. Jennings is passionate about equity in excellence and has a proven track record of working with and lifting up youth of color.  Our goal with this new position is to deepen the work of equity and excellence in all our schools,” said Supt. Almi Abeyta. 

Dr. Jennings will be charged with ensuring that equity goals are incorporated throughout CPS operations and providing strategic and policy direction on equity issues. 

“I am blessed to become a member of Chelsea’s community,” he said. “Being a part of a city where its institutions, leadership, and residents are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging seems only possible through dreaming. I look forward to learning from the community and leading with the community – so together, we can further make Chelsea a Beloved Community in our region.”

This position will report directly to Supt. Abeyta and is a Cabinet position.  Chelsea Public Schools prioritizes an inclusive working environment and values the diverse backgrounds and characteristics of all people. As such, a goal of CPS is to diversify District staff – a diverse staff will better reflect the District’s diverse student population.

Jennings is described as an equity warrior and agent of change, who is committed to working at the nexus of education, community, and government. He has orchestrated beneficial cross-sector resources and partnerships for children and families through collaborative action, capacity building, and system-level change. After obtaining his Master of Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Jennings worked at DC Public Schools as a child and parent advocate for families from Ward 8, his home ward. After an impactful tenure, he returned to the Brown School as the founding Manager of the Urban Education Initiatives. In St. Louis, Dr. Jennings led efforts to change the narrative and scale of impact for social work professionals engaged in urban education at the micro, mezzo, and macro-levels throughout the region. After many years of demonstrated impact, he returned to academia to pursue his Doctor of Education Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

At HGSE, Dr. Jennings enjoyed diverse learning and leading experiences. He advised and planned diversity, inclusion, and belonging programs with Harvard College and the Graduate School of Education administration and staff. During his ten-month doctoral residency, he was the Health and Human Services Doctoral Fellow at the City of Somerville Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Jennings also served as the Gordon M. Ambach Fellow for the Children’s Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Internationally, Dr. Jennings has traveled to Israel, India, and the Greater Antilles to study educational systems and to examine how social inequities influence education policies and impacts the lives of marginalized students. Dr. Jennings co-developed a work plan and provided best practice recommendations to support English Language Learners following new federal immigration policy changes for Eagle County Schools in Colorado. At the completion of his doctoral degree, he worked as a Vice President of Education and Impact for an EdTech startup that concentrated on ending chronic absenteeism and improving national attendance within the K-12 sector. Recently, Dr. Jennings co-led equity and anti-racist professional development for Grossmont Adult Education educators and staff. 

As a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, Dr. Jennings studied religion and government, creating an unofficial social justice focus that provided him a foundation for his mission in life – Connect, Serve, and Lead.

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