While Title IX may most be associated with women’s participation in high school and college sports, the law, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, is much broader and far reaching.
Title IX states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.”
It applies to any school or institution if any part of that school receives federal funds.
To ensure the Anoka-Hennepin School District is in compliance with federal law, the district has hired a Title IX coordinator. Jennifer Cherry assumed her new position June 6.
Cherry earned a degree in business administration from Metro State University and began her career in human resources.
Through career counseling after being laid off a job as the result of the dot com bust, she discovered her true passion was working with kids.
From there, Cherry returned to school. Through a program at the University of Minnesota (U of M), Cherry was able to earn a master’s degree in education and complete a license program. Currently she is finishing her PhD in human resource education at the U of M.
After graduating from the U of M, Cherry taught business and computer networking classes at Edina High School.
She said it was an awesome experience.
“It was great to have a connection with young adolescents and meet them at a time in their lives when role models are so important,” Cherry said.
“Computer networking is a field dominated by males and I had a small impact on encouraging females to enter the field.”
For the past six years she worked at the U of M as a teacher education coordinator and senior teaching specialist.
In that role, Cherry found herself working with people like her going through career changes and taking the skills they gained in the private sector and putting them to work in the classroom.
“My peers were executives who had amazing experiences in their industries and had an awakening that their real purpose in life is to serve kids,” Cherry said.
Cherry was interested in the new Title IX position with the Anoka-Hennepin School District because she was interested in having a direct impact on students and the community.
In her role Cherry will coordinate the effective implementation of all district reporting and investigating procedures related to parent and student complaints of harassment and/or discrimination and in accordance with Title IX and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
She will also respond to student and/or parent concerns of harassment and/or discrimination related to Title IX and/or the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
“My time at the U was important but it was removed from what was happening in schools on a daily basis and was more researched focused,” Cherry said.
“I am excited to tie research and practice together. Another thing that is important to me is the impact of equity issues.
“I will work to ensure I am meeting the district’s students’ and family’s needs in following the district’s harassment, violence polices and procedures.
“The Title IX coordinator is a great position to have a real impact on schools, students and the community.”