Welcome, Jenn O’Connor!

Raising NY is thrilled to announce that Jenn O’Connor has joined The Education Trust–New York team as the Director of Partnerships and Early Childhood Policy.

Jenn, who has a strong background in early care and learning, maternal and child health, and mental health, will lead the early childhood team. She will work alongside Raising NY coalition members to set direction and goals for our important work to advance policies that support families of infants and toddlers during these first critical years of life. Additionally, Jenn will support Ed Trust–NY’s external relations by ensuring strong relationships with our statewide partners.

Prior to joining The Education Trust–New York, Jenn worked on policy and advocacy for several nonprofits, in both Albany and Washington, D.C., including Prevent Child Abuse NY, Council for a Strong America, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, National Governor’s Association, and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. She also spent a few years as a staff member in the New York State Legislature.

Fun Facts About Jenn

Nickname: Jenn (with two Ns) is short for Jennifer, but my British royalty nickname is Tiggy (long story).

Superpower: Resilience!

Weakness: Bacon.

Favorite Sports Team: My dad, who is from Boston, raised a diehard Red Sox fan.

Proudest Moment: Having my essay on raising a child with a trauma diagnosis published in The Washington Post. (And any time that child succeeds!)

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work? (Ex. Hobbies, volunteer work) Writing, photography, activism, and time with friends/family– and my dog, Phineas.

What are people most surprised to learn about you? I’m a fairly open book– my love for Neil Diamond, flamingoes, and marshmallow Peeps (as a primary food group) are pretty well known.

What drew you to education? The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the most important in terms of brain architecture and those years between birth and age three set the foundation for all future learning. Primary caregivers are a child’s first teachers, but kids don’t come with a manual. Policy that supports families is imperative to their success… and that often requires advocacy. I’m drawn to education because, to me, it’s more than classrooms. It’s child care, home visiting, early literacy, and all the resources families and communities need to make those first 1,000 days count.

Why are you passionate about working at Ed Trust? Working at Ed Trust allows me the opportunity to continue my work in the early childhood space AND, with our partners, to create a cohesive, coordinated blueprint for 0-3 in New York State.