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Blackpast.org in the Classroom

Jeanette James, Doctoral Student: A Leader in the Classroom & Community.

Jeanette James

Even before Jeanette James started the Ph. D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Washington, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.  She wanted a program where she could make a significant contribution and carry that knowledge immediately into her full time work as an administrator at a middle school.  In choosing a program, Jeanette realized it was also important that the faculty had a commitment to her success.  Jeanette says she found the program she needed at the University of Washington.  Two UW Professors, Jim Antony and Ed Taylor encouraged her to study at the U.  To stay focused on her studies, Jeanette surrounded herself with peers who pushed each other to meet goals and remain motivated.   

Jeanette says the UW’s enriching large university environment gives students access to important black leaders such as Cornel West, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela in the myriad of speaking engagements hosted on campus. 

Despite the UW’s large university environment, Jeanette says she was able to “carve out her own path.”  She says students at the University of Washington also find opportunities within the Seattle African American community to combat the feeling of social disconnection.  Moreover they also can make an impact on that community.  Jeanette stays active in Seattle’s African American community through various organizations. Between 2004 and 2006, she was the first president of the Seattle Urban League Young Professionals (SULYP).  In SULYP Jeanette had the opportunity to work with the next generation of leaders who want to make a difference in the community.  Jeanette also remains active in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Seattle Alumnae Chapter.   Jeanette’s years at the University of Washington have been productive and motivating.  She credits the University with not just a degree but a better way of imagining the world.

“Remember what is important,” Jeanette says.  “Take responsibility for the slowdowns in your education but always celebrate your successes.”


Chicago native Jeanette James has called Seattle home since 1993.  She is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in Educational Leadership Policy through the College of Education, the University of Washington.  She is also currently Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Seattle Girls' School and was formerly with the UW Office of Minority Affairs Gear-Up Program. 

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