Jenne Smith had already been accepted to law school when she realized teaching was where she was meant to be.
“I love opening students’ eyes to the world around them, and I love the subjects that I teach,” shared Jenne, who teaches humanities at IDEAS Academy. “It’s a very rewarding job, and I am very happy with the decision I made.”
The humanities curriculum consists of three separate course offerings: American Studies, Global Studies and an individualized Global Issues course. Students earn one social studies credit per course as well as half of an English credit. Students earn additional quarter credits in English through Academic Writing and Communications.
Since 2007, Jenne has been teaching 9th- through 12th grade English online for Warriner High School. She taught Integrated Language Arts and Creative Writing for Etude High School from 2007 to 2009. Jenne took a leave of absence from Etude in order to attend graduate school at Pepperdine University, but she continued to teach the Warriner class online.
Jenne, 29, was born in Long Beach and grew up in Southern California. Her family moved often, and she also lived in Minneapolis for a while and attended high school in Atlanta before heading to Connecticut for college.
She holds an undergraduate degree in English, history and political science from the University of Connecticut. She received her master of arts degree in teaching from Cardinal Stritch University in 2009.
Her resume is quite varied, including stints working for state senators in Minnesota and Connecticut and in a probation office in Connecticut. She also spent time as a research assistant for historical fiction writer Karen Essex.
When she’s not working, Jenne enjoys spending time with friends and her Scottish terrier, Holiday. She loves to play tennis and to swim at the beach. Next summer, she hopes to take up sailing.
Jenne has been a longtime volunteer for Royal Family Kids’ Camps, which benefits abused and neglected children. Her grandparents were instrumental in founding the organization.
In addition, she’s a big supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“My cousin has cystic fibrosis,” she shared. “He is 31 and has had two lung transplants that have allowed him to have a career and marriage when he wasn’t expected to live nearly as long as he has.”
Jenne is completing her last semester of course work via Skype for a master of arts degree in American Studies from Pepperdine. She said she’s grateful to have received the Keck Fellowship, which covered a majority of her tuition costs, to study there.
“I will be flying out to L.A. in December to take my final exams in person,” she said. “Throughout the graduate program, I took political theory, literature, art, religion, history and economic courses. The American Studies program has given me invaluable in-depth knowledge my students will benefit from, and it has helped me to better organize and teach my American Studies humanities course.”