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Jeanne Allen
Founder & CEO

Jeanne Allen is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform (CER), the nation’s premiere leader in advancing innovation and opportunity in education.

A pioneer of America’s Education Reform Movement, Allen founded CER in 1993 and authored the path-breaking School Reform Handbook; How to Improve Your Schools (1995).

A nationally recognized advocate and respected expert for more than a quarter century, Allen directs CER’s work at the local, state and national level to advance innovation and opportunity from K through career. She is a trusted advisor to individuals across the spectrum of education policy—from White House and Cabinet-level officials, to elected representatives in Congress, governors and state legislators, to local school officials and parent groups, to policymakers, philanthropists, and fellow advocates of education improvement.

In 2016, Allen changed the conversation, re-orienting the direction of education reform by authoring Manifesto: A Movement at Risk, The New Opportunity Agenda. In 2017, her release of Charting a New Course: The Case for Freedom, Flexibility and Opportunity Through Charter Schools gave added impetus to the effort as just two of several bold reports that challenge conventional wisdom, a unique attribute of CER.

In addition to policy work, Allen has contributed her expertise to a number of education and technology organizations, including CommonLit, the StartED Accelerator at NYU, GSV Labs and numerous schools.

She maintains a near-constant media presence through interviews, op-eds and articles with a diverse range of print and electronic media outlets such as Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Review—the last of which hosts her regular podcast, “Reality Check.

Jeanne Allen began her career first on Capitol Hill and then as a senior official in the US Department of Education from 1983-1988 before moving on to launch the Heritage Foundation’s education policy program and the first policy-focused interactive social network, Townhall. Between 2013 and 2015, Allen took a learning sabbatical to earn Masters Degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Ed Entrepreneurship program and to explore the technology and higher ed landscape. She advised business development for Hotchalk, Inc., created Education Reform U., and launched the Modern States Education Alliance.

Among her charitable and civic work, she sits on the Leadership Council of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and is a Dame of the Order of Malta as well as an active member of the John Carroll Society. Jeanne Allen has been awarded the Education Industry Association’s “Friend of Education Award”, and the Black Alliance for Educational Options’ Champion Award and has been named Working Mother’s “Most Powerful Moms in Education” and EDTECH Digest’s “Top 100 Influencers in Edtech” for 2018.

Jeanne raised four children. A first generation American, she enjoys visiting her family’s communities of origin in Italy when time permits and spends time on the water with her husband Dr. Kevin Strother, a classically trained musician, educator, and charter boat captain and their 2 labs. These activities and her family and friends contribute to Jeanne’s deep appreciation of wine.

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