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Clark College News and Events

October 31, 2007
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications & Marketing
Telephone:  (360) 992-2921


Debra Jenkins, chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Clark College, is named to the board of the I Have a Dream Foundation-Oregon.

Debra JenkinsVANCOUVER, Wash. -- Debra Jenkins, chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Clark College, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the I Have a Dream Foundation-Oregon (IHAD-Oregon). 

The I Have a Dream Foundation is an educational enhancement program designed to increase the overall high school completion rate of students.  The foundation's goal is that all "Dreamers" graduate from high school prepared for advanced study or rewarding employment.

The foundation’s board of directors ensures effective organizational planning, adequate resources, and effective management of resources at IHAD-Oregon.  The board also monitors the organization’s programs and services and has responsibility for fiscal accountability, budget, and policies. 

As a member of the board, Jenkins will serve as chair of the committee that monitors both qualitative and quantitative data collection for grants, publications and reports.  The committee aligns annual goals with the organization’s strategic plan, creates the annual report to the community and tracks project effectiveness.   Jenkins’ two-year term will end in July 2009.

Jenkins said, "I am extremely humbled to be chosen to serve this organization and its ‘Dreamers’ as a member of the board of directors. I firmly believe in education and come from a family who also believed in it. My mother had ten siblings.  Six were college graduates at a time when the opportunities for a college education for people of color were quite rare. I want to provide that same opportunity for as many young people as possible. Now I have the chance to impact the lives of children and youth from struggling communities to become successful college graduates. This is something that I always have been - and always will be - passionate about."

About Debra Jenkins

An alumnus of the Clark College Early Childhood Education (ECE) program graduating with honors, Debra (Debi) Jenkins began her career at Clark College as an ECE Program Aide in 1992 and has continued her work in the ECE program at the college since that time. 

In 1995, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College with a focus in Developmental Education.   In 1997, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Human Development specializing in Bicultural Development and became the Coordinator of the Online Bicultural Development and Education Degree Program at Pacific Oaks College.

Jenkins, who resides in Camas, is the chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Clark College, serving as coordinator of the ECE Vocational Technical Program. She has developed and taught online courses for over 10 years, teaching courses through Clark College’s eLearning Department and through the Washington Online (WAOL) Community and Technical College Consortium.   She currently teaches psychology courses at the college and teaches traditional and online-hybrid early childhood education classes.  Online-hybrid courses take place in the classroom and online.

In Washington and Oregon, Debra Jenkins is a sought-after speaker on topics related to early childhood development, lifespan development, diversity and equity, cultural competence, ethnic identity development, intercultural and cross-cultural relations.

Jenkins participates with the international Teaching Umoja research group with well-known scholars in the early childhood educational field such as Dr. Sharon Cronin, co-leader of the Teaching Umoja Participatory Action Research 15-Year Commitment; Carol Brunson Day, president of Brunson, Phillips and Day Consulting and past CEO and President of the Council for Professional Recognition; and  Dr. Antonia Darder, who teaches in Educational Policy Studies and Latino/Latina Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

“Umoja” is the Kiswahili word meaning unity. The Teaching Umoja is a 15-year commitment to examine the ethnic identity, bicultural, cross-cultural, and tri-literacy development of children of color and improve the quality of education – and life – for children and families of color.  In 2001, Jenkins traveled with the group to a remote village in Jamaica to research the early childhood cultural development of the Maroon people. 

Debra Jenkins also volunteers for various educational communities through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta.  She is currently a Diversity Advisory Board member for Washington State University.


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