DFER DC Appoints New State Director

Jessica Giles to Lead Work to Justly and Equitably Serve D.C. Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2021)—Democrats for Education Reform (DFER DC) announced today that Jessica Giles has been appointed as the new State Director for the chapter, as well as its affiliate organization Education Reform Now DC.

Giles joined the organization in 2019 and has since served as Interim Director and Deputy Director, during which she’s advocated for strong, but just accountability for DC’s public education system and increased funding for education, mental health, and academic supports to equip all students with the tools they need to succeed.

“Jessica is an extraordinary leader who has already delivered powerfully for children in DC,” said DFER National President Shavar Jeffries. “As Deputy Director, she led the charge for ERN DC in calling for COVID relief funds to support publicly funded High Impact Tutoring for students who have fallen behind academically during the pandemic—an investment that will take effect later this year. She also advocated, in coalition with partner organizations, to successfully expand the school based mental health program to more than 60 schools in cohort two during the pandemic. Jessica is uniquely prepared to lead our chapter to the next level of impact for the District’s students, and we could not be more excited for the new horizons we will reach under Jessica’s stewardship.” 

Giles also drove ERN DC’s advocacy efforts to make the My School DC Lottery more equitable by providing the 47% of DC students identified as ‘at risk’—those who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are experiencing homelessness, are in the District’s foster care program or are one year or more older than expected for their grade in high school – a greater opportunity to attend the participating public charter school of their choice, beginning in school year 2022-2023.  

“As DC grapples with a concurrent crisis of a deadly pandemic, disrupted education system, mass unemployment, and continued racial inequity and injustice, I feel called to lead in this moment,” said Jessica Giles. “Our public education system in DC has improved, but it has not served all our students well. Education reform is about centering students in policymaking, advancing equity, and constantly improving our public education system so that our Black, Brown, English Learners, students with different abilities, LGBTQ+ students, and students from low-income families receive a high-quality education from preschool through postsecondary education and training that enables them to enter the workforce well-prepared and free from crippling student loan debt. We’re not there yet but I won’t stop fighting until this vision is realized,” continued Giles.

Previously, Giles served as Deputy Committee Director for the Council of the District of Columbia’s former Committee on Education. Having served on the Committee for nearly four years, Giles helped ensure greater equity in the childcare industry and public education. Specifically, under the leadership of former Councilmember David Grosso, Giles advanced legislation to protect the education rights of students with special needs, improve educational opportunities for students in the care of DC, and increase our supply of high-quality, affordable childcare for low-income families in DC. Giles also worked on issues in the Human Services committee, where she fought to protect the rights and dignity of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Giles began her career as an early childcare provider in South Carolina. 



DFER DC recruits, educates, and helps elect Democratic and progressive candidates who are committed to creating a public education system in Washington, DC, that justly and equitably serves all students. Since 2015, DFER DC’s work aims to continue and accelerate the reforms that have made the D.C. the most rapidly improving urban district in the nation. Learn more about the organization at dfer.org.

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