CHARLOTTE – Jennifer De La Jara intends to represent every child if elected to an at-large seat on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, but she also wants to use her experiences to lift up the voices of the immigrant population.
De La Jara is one of 13 people running for three at-large seats on the school board.
If elected, her priorities are fighting to attract and retain the best teachers, ensuring equitable access to resources and adding more counselors and social workers to schools.
People familiar with her background as an educator and community advocate encouraged the Burke County native to run for school board in recent years.
“I believe every child deserves a quality education,” De La Jara said. “As an educator, I feel like I have a lot to offer in the way of my leadership and collaborative style.”
De La Jara works as director of education at the International House. In that role, she oversees adult programming, as well as the agency’s partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
De La Jara, who speaks Spanish as a second language, started her career as a K-5 ESL teacher. She’s shifted her focus to working in partnership with CMS as more of a family literacy educator that engages with parents.
“Through the years, I’ve been able to work at a lot of different schools,” she said. “I feel like it’s given me a unique perspective about some of the challenges we face but also some of the wonderful things that are taking place in CMS.”
De La Jara and her husband, Jorge, have lived in Charlotte since 2001. A few months ago, they moved to Davidson to be closer to Jorge’s job.
“That experience is obviously one of the reasons I’m running at-large because it’s given me a whole new perspective of what the needs are of the other six towns,” she said. “I intend to make sure that we are communicating with the other six towns.
“I intend to help mend bridges and help us get on track of working with all seven cities and towns together. We need to accept that we are all part of the same system.”
On the web: www.jenniferforcms.com