Chief People Officer
Jamella deeply believes in Jumpstart’s vision that “every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.” As Chief People Officer, she provides human capital leadership to align Jumpstart’s strategic priorities with the necessary people capabilities to deliver on the organization’s mission, business objectives, values, and people-centered culture so that Jumpstart can build a more equitable education system for young children. With Jumpstart Jamella returned to her roots in national service. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, where she also minored in business. After graduating from Cornell, she deferred pursuing her master's in education at Harvard to serve as a corps member and service leader at City Year of Columbus. From there, while earning her master’s at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she worked as an elementary school teacher at King Elementary School in Cambridge, MA; worked as a facilitator in the Harvard Summer Literacy Institute; and as a literacy teacher at the Dorchester Neighborhood Charter School. Upon graduating, at the behest of former President Clinton and President Nelson Mandela, she moved to South Africa to manage the Clinton Democracy Fellowship at City Year, helping to lead that organization’s first international expansion initiative. After several years in South Africa, Jamella returned to the United States to work as a vice president of communications and professional development for the Ohio Charter School Association and vice president of development and special initiatives at Concept Schools in Chicago. In 2010, Jamella earned a Juris Doctor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, a program for which she was the Katherine C. Jones Scholarship recipient and was also awarded the Marsha Schermer Scholarship by the Columbus Bar Foundation. While in law school, Jamella worked as a two-year summer associate at the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, and taught in the Ohio Law & Leadership Institute, a program developed to provide an opportunity for high school students from underserved communities to learn skills that may help them become lawyers and leaders in their communities. At graduation, Jamella was awarded the Harry S. and Georgina Lett Memorial Award for outstanding service to the Moritz College of Law. A recipient of numerous other awards, Jamella has also been awarded the Compaq Leadership Award, an award honoring alumni of City Year who have distinguished themselves through continued civic leadership and commitment to service. After law school, Jamella joined the Taft School faculty serving as chair of the Global Studies and Service Department and dean of Global and Diversity Education. In collaboration with Waterbury partners and colleagues, she created the Center for Global Leadership and Service, an "action tank" developed though the Edward E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant initiative and subsequent matching donations. Since 2018 she has served as Jumpstart’s VP of People and Culture. In August of 2021, Jamella was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as a member of the Board of Early Education and Care.