Madeline Pérez De Jesús is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut. As a faculty member with a strong background in critical scholarship and community work, Madeline brings 25 years of real world experience into the classroom to support students. This real world experience is centered around her time as a social worker and community organizer collaborating with low-income residents to advocate for urban school reform.  A life-long New Yorker before moving to Connecticut, Madeline received her Ph.D. at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Her study, Two Tales of One City: A Political Economy of the New York City Public High School Admissions Process, was awarded honorable distinction in 2011. She co-authored the book  Theory and Educational Research: Toward Critical Social Explanation (Anyon et al. 2008, Routledge), in which she has featured chapters on the experiences of Latina mothers navigating school choice and on how she employed  critical theory to understanding educational inequities. This year, Madeline has conducted a dozen lectures on how to engage critical social theory in education research including but not limited to California State University, University of Massachusetts, and City University of New York. As she currently completes the final manuscript for her solo authored book on school choice, Madeline is also experiencing public school choice for the first time as a parent bringing yet another lived stakeholder experience to her work.

            Prior to, during, and since her teaching work, Madeline has dedicated herself to working on issues of inequity affecting the underserved communities accessing quality public schools. She has facilitated workshops to train school administrators, teachers, and students on school reform issues, and developed leadership opportunities that supported parents’ engagement in their children’s education. Her consulting work has included but not been limited to supporting New Visions for Public Schools, New Leaders New Schools, KIPP schools, the Center for Collaborative Education (MA), and the Bay Area Coalition for Essential Schools (CA). Her work with Latino/a public school parents in the Bronx resulted in the creation of a bilingual publication about educational options developed with and by a cadre of mothers. She has consulted with school districts to strengthen dual-language programs, train parents of special-needs children, and has led a campaign to organize tenants being displaced as a result of gentrification. Her current research project focuses on the experiences of Latina adult learners (in their mid-30s- mid-50s) as they return to college to complete their undergraduate degrees alongside traditionally aged students.