Jennifer Eik2017 Rising Alumni

Jennifer Eik

Jennifer Eik is focused on reducing the graduation gap for Latinos in our community. Jenni was hired at Roosevelt High School to launch a Spanish Heritage curriculum that uses culturally relevant pedagogy. Her courses focus on English as a second language at the same time as exploring Latino culture, history, and identity. Students who had felt marginalized discover ways to express themselves through spoken word, music, and community projects. Remarkably, Roosevelt High’s Hispanic student graduation rates increased last year by about 15 percentage points, and Roosevelt’s principal credits the Spanish Heritage program.


Teacher, Roosevelt High School

CEHD Degree

Second Language Education, 2013

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

  • Heritage Language Curriculum Designer, Roosevelt HS, Minneapolis
  • Co-Instructor, CARLA Summer Institute, University of Minnesota

Please list any past or current volunteer activities.

Youth Development Volunteer, U.S. Peace Corps – San Vicente, Ecuador (2009-11)

Please list any awards or honors from your collegiate, professional, or volunteer experiences.

Featured in MinnPost: "Spanish heritage program at Roosevelt High helps boost Latino graduation rates, student voice"

MELA (Minnesota Educational Leadership Award) Winner, 2015

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Jenna Cushing-Leubner was the facilitator of my Professional Learning Community (PLC) group in grad school. She facilitated the conversations in a way that pushed my cohort members and me to reflect on and examine our racialized experiences. For many of us, including myself, it was the first time we were guided through that process. My time in the PLC with Jenna greatly impacted who I became as an educator. I am happy today to call her a colleague and a friend.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My students are brilliant and incredibly resilient. I am inspired by the way that they navigate and read the world each and every day.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

Powerlifting, watching and singing along to RENT, happy hour.

How do others describe you?

Compassionate, tranquil, easy to talk to.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Nina Simone!

What gets you excited about work?

Thinking, organizing, and engaging in activism with young people.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional rollerblader.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?


What is a "fun fact" about you?

Besides education, being a Broadway performer is my dream job.