Born and raised in the Midwest, Jenelle came to Maui from the Northern California/Berkeley area. With over ten years of combined teaching experience in both elementary and secondary education, Jenelle returns to the elementary classroom to share her love for books and literacy with young readers.
As an undergraduate, Jenelle attended Miami University of Oxford, Ohio where she received a Bachelors of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her senior project, entitled “Forgotten Voices, Learning to Speak: Resiliency and the Democratic Curriculum,” was based on her experiences volunteering in an inner-city Cincinnati classroom and explored the qualities of curriculum and pedagogy that ensure every child success. Despite an initial major in Political Science, she became interested in teaching when she volunteered as an after-school French teacher and discovered that being an inspiration to children was the most progressive political act of all.
Following her undergraduate studies (and a bit of worldly travel to Europe and India), Jenelle was accepted into the highly competitive teaching corps, Teach for America, which placed her in 4th- and 5th -grade classrooms in Compton and Long Beach Unified School Districts. With a desire to reflect on her teaching experiences, Jenelle attended the New School for Social Research in New York City, receiving both a Masters of Science in Teaching and a certification in Secondary Social Studies Education. During that time, she worked as a Master Teacher for the Paulo Freire Literacy Academy in Brooklyn, NY and student taught at Brooklyn International High School, serving students from 45 different countries, speaking 43 different languages. Prior to moving to Maui, Jenelle spent a few years working in the non-profit sector, developing meditation and yoga retreats for families and children.
On a more personal note, Jenelle enjoys spending her free time relaxing outdoors. Her competitive spirit finds her on the soccer field, in an outrigger canoe, biking up a crater, or playing beach volleyball. When the sun goes down, she moves indoors to hobbies such as writing, sculpting, or dancing. To stay fit in all areas of her life—body, soul, and mind—she maintains a daily practice of hatha yoga and meditation. Keeping her company at home is her loving husband, Alin, and their two cats, Tiger and Mira.