2021.08.22 jackie norris 957

Hi Everyone! My name is Jackie Norris and I am running to serve as your at large representative on the Des Moines School Board.

I am running because I believe public education is fundamental to ensuring that every family in our community has access to a high quality public school that develops our children’s ability to be inquisitive and have the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.

This is high stakes work – our children need us. And they don’t just need me, they need all of us. And so does Des Moines. Good schools are critical to the economic vitality of our city.

So, a little about me. I am the President and Owner of State Public Policy Group and Essman Research. It is an issue based consulting company that helps organizations achieve sound public policy. We work to ensure that voices often ignored are heard – such as after-school care providers or local farmers and ensure government policies support them.

I’ve served at the highest levels of government as Michelle Obama’s White House Chief of Staff where we raised awareness on the importance of healthy eating and activity to help reduce the childhood obesity crisis.  I’ve been the CEO of Goodwill of Central Iowa where we provided employment and training pathways for individuals with disabilities or criminal records and I have been active in politics for decades giving me deep understanding of how advocacy and public engagement can make a positive difference in the lives of many people.

In my roles, I’ve managed large budgets and large staffs. I’ve been on boards and been managed by boards.

By far though, my favorite job was serving as a high school government teacher. Best job ever. I love helping young people as they are finding their voice and formulating opinions at such a formative time in their life.

I will bring these professional experiences to the school board – as well as my life experiences – being the kid of a school nurse and public school teacher, being a mom of three teenagers in Des Moines public schools and a parent volunteer.

As a school board member, you have my word that I will work very hard to represent the vision and values of the whole community. So think about that – what is your vision for the schools? What are the values you believe we should uphold in the schools? If I am doing my job well I will represent your vision and values and hold the school system accountable for improving student outcomes and publicly monitoring that progress.


So what can you expect from me when you elect me to the Des Moines school board?


-An advocate for hiring and retaining good teachers, securing effective, proven teaching materials, and ensuring clean, safe school buildings.


-A champion of career pathway counseling for our students so they leave our school with an employment pathway that is best for them.


-A strategist who will confront the difficult financial questions ahead for public education with continued budget cuts and enrollment declines.


-A proponent of whole child thinking – ensuring that our children are active outside of the classroom including physical activity, art and music. Activities that are so necessary to develop the life skills of teamwork, resilience, and persistence.


-A partner in our community who will engage with business and local government to ensure that Des Moines lives up to Iowa’s historic reputation as a great place to raise children. We need teamwork. I’m proud that our City came together to build the largest skate park in the country and through harnessing that same commitment, I know we can partner together to have amazing public schools that are the envy of the state.


Those of you who know me can testify that anything worthwhile is worth doing excellently. Our children deserve nothing less than excellent public schools.I need your support and your vote to make that possible.


There are two open at large seats and the election is on November 2.  If you are all in to support me, sign up for the email newsletter and learn about ways to help. I need help spreading the word, knocking on doors and putting up lawn signs.

Thank you for listening and next time you see a Des Moines teacher, student or staff – give them an elbow bump and thank them for choosing DMPS.

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