Jessica Coles is a School Improvement Specialist for Equity on the Quality Schools and Districts team. Passionate about educational equity, Coles believes in the innate potential of every student to learn and flourish. In her role, she provides professional learning, technical assistance, coaching, and consultation, spearheading initiatives that promote equitable experiences and outcomes for all students. In partnership with state education agencies, district and school-based leaders, and educators, Coles is dedicated to forging equitable systems that honor diversity in culture and identity, such as race, ability, gender, and social class.
Prior to joining WestEd, Coles worked as a Senior Professional Development Specialist focused on culturally responsive practices. She collaborated closely with the New York State Education Department’s Office of Special Education. Her foundational experiences are rooted in her tenure as a Special Education elementary school teacher and literacy educator.
Beyond her direct engagements in schools, Coles has enriched the academic community by teaching university-level teacher preparation courses on subjects including Educational Psychology, Adolescent Development, Contemporary Issues in the American Education System, Introduction to Human Exceptionalities, and Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in the American Education System. Coles has not only shared her profound understanding of education but has also underscored the pivotal role of inclusivity and cultural responsiveness in molding the educators of tomorrow.
Coles holds a BA in Elementary Education from Saint Peter’s University and pursued an MA in Special Education and Literacy from the University at Albany. She is currently on her journey towards achieving a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Methodology with a focus on Special Education from the same institution.