Introducing our Three Newest Team Members
The Rennie Center is thrilled to introduce our three newest team members: Elle Jansen, Meghan Volcy, and Sophie Zamarripa!
“Sophie, Meghan, and Elle bring energy and passion to our organization and our work,” said Chad d’Entremont, Executive Director of the Rennie Center. “Their dedication to improving education for all students—particularly those who have been marginalized—is evident through their hard work and innovative thinking. We are so fortunate to have these talented new team members.”
Elle Jansen, a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, brings with her a background in education and the arts. She started her professional career as a performer and has worked as a professional dancer and choreographer since the age of 17. After graduating from the University of San Francisco (USF) with a BA in Performing Arts & Social Justice and International Studies, she was hired as an instructor at USF for collaborative artistic courses bringing together students and incarcerated peoples in the San Francisco County jails. In that role she also had the opportunity to support formerly incarcerated people in furthering their education and artistic endeavors as returning citizens. While teaching at the university she continued to teach theater, dance, and musical theater within San Francisco public schools and early childhood education centers. She has developed a variety of classroom curricula, from an early childhood arts-integrated program for Building Kidz Worldwide to college-level syllabi.
Elle says she joined the Rennie Center because she wants to push our education system to be more equitable, student-centered, and holistic. Since joining the team as an Associate, Elle has worked on our Back-to-School Blueprint, a series of tools to help schools and communities navigate the unique challenges of returning to learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, by researching and writing action guides and planning webinars. She served as the lead researcher for our report on the women’s power gap in K-12 education, currently in production. Elle supports the work of Open Opportunity – Massachusetts, a cross-sector network of over 40 organizations that aims to transform our education system by tearing down the barriers that segregate students and their families by race and class. She also leads the Systemic Student Support Academy, which brings together school districts from across the state to learn about evidence-based strategies to connect students to the resources they need to succeed.
Meghan Volcy comes to the Rennie Center with experience in community organizing and policy research. Prior to joining our team, Meghan worked as a Program Manager for a Boston University community service and social justice education program for incoming first-year students. During her academic career, Meghan interned in late-night television for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Late Night with Seth Meyers. She has also interned in policy for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and, during her semester abroad in Switzerland, for the non-governmental organization Graduate Women International, where she helped advocate for access to quality education for girls and young women around the world. A lifelong Malden, MA resident, Meghan received a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Sociology from Boston University.
Meghan’s interest in local policy and equity in education for marginalized students led her to join the Rennie Center. As project coordinator she helps manage Curriculum Ratings by Teachers (CURATE), a fellowship program that brings together educators to review evidence on implementing curricular materials and their alignment to Massachusetts learning standards. Like Elle, Meghan also supports Open Opportunity – Massachusetts and worked on our Back-to-School Blueprint series. And she co-founded and leads the Future Education Leaders Network, which empowers young professionals—particularly young professionals of color—to step into their power, take action, build social capital, analyze policy, and make connections in order to create space for marginalized voices to lead within the predominantly white and male-led education space.
Sophie Zamarripa has experience in consulting, education research and policy, data analysis, and hands-on classroom engagement. Prior to joining the Rennie Center, Sophie worked as a consultant at District Management Group, where she partnered with districts across the country to evaluate and recommend improvements to special education, social-emotional and behavioral learning, and intervention practices. Prior to her consulting work, Sophie supported the Rennie Center on a previous project to infuse equity considerations into continuous improvement processes. During her graduate studies in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Michigan, she joined the Education Trust-Midwest’s Data and Policy Analysis team as a Graduate Student Fellow where she analyzed opportunity gaps in Michigan schools. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Educational Studies from Tufts University, throughout which she worked as a teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten classroom.
Through her experiences and coursework, Sophie developed a strong commitment to correcting and preventing educational inequities in public education. Since joining the Rennie Center, Sophie has helped to create an IEP improvement professional learning network for schools and districts in Massachusetts. She also played a critical role in creating our Back-to-School Blueprint action guides and developed our recent Family Guide to Remote Learning. And she is working on our Condition of Education project, an annual series that examines broader patterns in Massachusetts’ public schools and recommends areas for action that are well-supported by research and data.
Keep reading our blog to learn more about the important projects Elle, Meghan, Sophie and the rest of our team are working on!