The Region 17 Comprehensive Center is excited to welcome new leaders in two roles. Jennifer Esswein will serve as the center’s new director, and Jacob Williams will serve as the new deputy director.
Both Jennifer and Jacob bring extensive classroom and research experience to the Region 17 Comprehensive Center. In addition to prior work teaching educators, Jennifer has worked closely with several state agencies with a focus on data use to inform policy decisions, accountability, and school improvement. Jacob began his teaching career in special education before pivoting to provide technical assistance to state education agencies and school districts across the country. Their combined experience at the state and district levels offers a unique balance to help Region 17 partners navigate the hurdles of working within a large state agency while simultaneously translating the work to a level that directly impacts student outcomes.
In addition, Jennifer and Jacob have each worked in Idaho, Montana, and the surrounding states for nearly a decade. They understand that the unique educational landscape in Region 17 includes large schools in cities as well as one-room schools in remote rural areas. They remain committed to supporting student success no matter which schools students attend.
Jennifer and Jacob believe that building capacity within state education agencies begins with identifying and expanding on strengths. They plan to build on the Region 17 Comprehensive Center’s existing partnerships with state education agencies in Idaho and Montana to continue supporting the region’s K–12 students.
“It’s an exciting time to step into the deputy director role, in light of all that happened in 2020 and 2021,” said Jacob. “I feel education is on a precipice of innovation and I’m excited to support Idaho and Montana as we move into this brave new world.”
“I look forward to continuing my work with the Region 17 Comprehensive Center and serving Idaho and Montana in this new role,” said Jennifer. “Every day, I feel lucky to work alongside inspiring, dedicated leaders creating real change in their state.”