Episode 146. Donna Hargens – Former Superintendent, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS)-(2011-2017)
Dr. Donna Hargens’ unwavering belief that every child can learn serves her as she leads the country’s 28th largest school system, with more than 101,000 students and nearly 17,000 teachers and staff.
In 2011, Donna began her position as the superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). She quickly brought the community and education communities together with a series of ongoing forums dubbed the Superintendent’s Summit. These valuable meetings allowed the School Board and her to initiate a five-year plan for the district’s future.
Donna has proven to be a distinguished and caring educator, and was chosen by the US Education Secretary as the featured superintendent at the 2012 National School Turnaround Summit.
Previously, Donna served as the interim superintendent and chief academic officer for Wake County school system in North Carolina, where she focused on reinventing struggling schools and achieved unprecedented academic gains. Before moving to the administrative side of education, she taught Spanish and English in Lomira, Wisconsin.
She loved to read as a child in Wisconsin and she was determined to become a teacher. She is the first college graduate in her family. She serves the community on many boards, including the Fund for the Arts and the Mohammed Ali Center.
Donna and her husband, Jeremy, have two adult children and one grandchild.