Jenni Dickens currently serves as Place Network Liaison for the Rural Schools Collaborative. In this role, she assists RSC with Place Network outreach and communication, and with RSC events that occur within its Illinois hub. Jenni is also the Director of Partnerships and Initiatives for the Educational Studies Department at Monmouth College, where she coordinates support between the Department, the community, and partner place-based schools through professional development, outreach, and grant opportunities. Jenni formerly served as Assistant Director of teacher education and teacher licensure officer in the Department. Prior to joining the College, Jenni worked in the local rural school district as a Kindergarten teacher for English language learners, who make up 20% of the district’s student population. She continues to serve as a district consultant in English as a second language and bilingual education and has presented regionally and nationally on the topic of supporting diverse students in small, rural communities.
Jenni holds a master’s degree in literacy education with a focus on bilingual/ESL from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Michigan State University. As a Brazilian native, Illinois transplant with Finnish roots, Jenni understands the importance of place. As a rural educator, she sees the power of education to strengthen it.
Jenni and her husband, Eric, live in Monmouth with their cat and their parrot.