Jeanne Russell began her nontraditional career in education as a teacher, reported on education as a journalist, and shifted into public policy work to improve not just the classroom, but the system. Her commitment to equity was shaped through early work in Oakland, East Harlem and Central America, where she also learned the value of giving students’ ownership of their own learning. She has helped create many of San Antonio’s signature education initiatives, including Café College, PreK4SA, Upgrade and SA Works. She joined Kate Rogers as part of the founding team that conceptualized CAST and was later named executive director of the growing network. Her personal passion is for student voice, and she led the San Antonio Youth Commission in the year that it presented the first youth-informed public policy agenda to City Council, also introducing the citywide civics fair Speak Up Speak Out! to San Antonio. “We learn the most when we stop to listen to students, and put their needs at the forefront,” she said. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California-Berkeley, a master’s degree in education from the University of California-Davis and a joint master’s degree in journalism and Caribbean and Latin American Studies from New York University. Both of her children attend CAST Schools.