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Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

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Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Partner
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Jennifer O'Neal Schiess is a partner on the Policy and Evaluation team. Since 2014, she has worked with a range of clients, including national and state advocacy organizations, nonprofits, policy think tanks, and foundations. She advises clients on state and national education policy, covering a range of topics. Jennifer has led work on personalized learning, school finance, school transportation, rural education, and governance. Prior to joining Bellwether, she worked with the Texas Legislature for a decade in a non-partisan role, serving as a senior adviser on the public education budget, school finance, and the fiscal and policy implications of a range of other public education issues including standards, assessment, and accountability; educator quality, compensation, and benefits; and charter schools and school choice policy. She also worked in university and governmental relations for Vanderbilt University and taught English in a public high school in Nashville. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University, a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University.

Experience at Bellwether: policy and strategy advising, research

Client segments served: policy research and advocacy organizations, think tanks, nonprofits, foundations, policymakers 

Sample clients: Stand for Children, TNTP, Alliance for Excellent Education, the Walton Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Why I do this work: I benefited from a high-quality public school experience that prepared me well for my college and career goals, and I believe it is our duty and obligation to ensure that all children have equitable access to the education and support they need to prepare them for success.

Recent Media

Publication
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes $123 billion to K-12 education through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and $39 billion for higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). What’s in the law? How can schools use the funding? And will it be enough to address the gaps that COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated? Despite variation in local context, in many places, ARPA will represent a windfall of funding for education. This brief provides a look at the K-12 and higher education-related provisions of ARPA, as well as an overview of other ARPA provisions related to families and children, including childcare, food, housing, and income supports.