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Jeanne Allen
Founder & CEO, the Center for Education Reform

Jeanne Allen founded the Center for Education Reform (CER) over three decades ago to restore excellence to education, and built it into the nation’s leading advocate for innovation and opportunity in education. CER pioneered dozens of laws providing parents with choice and launched a nationwide movement that energized millions to engage in the fight.

In 2021, Allen partnered with long time board member and education philanthropist Janine Yass and her husband Jeff to direct their education investments, and launched the Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education, which defines their focus. Together and in partnership with Forbes, they work to support and engage educators, innovators, parents and policymakers to create the mechanisms for success for every student.

Allen began her career on Capitol Hill in 1983 and served as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Education. She was the founding director of the first online communications portal, TownHall, and launched CER in 1993. From 2013 – 2016, Allen worked with a number of Silicon Valley education companies to bring about new innovations in online education and in 2015, she advised on the creation of the Masters in Education Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Pennsylvania and was co-founder of the StartED Accelerator.

Jeanne has appeared extensively throughout the media and has contributed her analysis and voice to hundreds of outlets from NBC to FOX, and from the Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post. She is a regular contributor to Forbes Online, and a sought after speaker. Along with mentoring hundreds, she has served on numerous boards and posts in the education and tech worlds, and is a member of several lay orders dedicated to serving the poor.

A first-generation Italian-American with an oversized affinity for her heritage, Jeanne authors a weekly newsletter entitled Forza, hosts the in Piazza podcast, and is author of An Unfinished Journey: Education & the American Dream (2020) which chronicles her journey through education.  She is also the author of  Education Reform: Before it Was Cool (2014), Manifesto: A Movement at Risk (2016) and co-author with Angela Dale of The School Reform Handbook: How to Improve Your Schools (1995).

Allen, who holds a bachelors from Dickinson College and a masters of science from the University of Pennsylvania, is mother to four amazing people & grandmother to two. She enjoys spoiling them, entertaining, politics and spending time on the water with her husband Dr. Kevin Strother, educator, boat Captain and classically-trained musician.

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