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March 17, 2022
Salt Lake City has hired Jennifer Newell as the Senior Advisor for Education to Mayor Erin Mendenhall. The position stems from a recommendation by the City’s Racial Equity in Policing Commission, which Mayor Mendenhall and the City Council created in June, 2020. While Ms. Newell will broadly oversee education-related initiatives for Salt Lake City and ensure the City’s collaboration with education partners, she will also lead discussions between the SLC School District and the Salt Lake City Police Department regarding School Resource Officers.
“I’m thrilled to see this recommendation from the Racial Equity in Policing Commission come to fruition” said Mayor Mendenhall. “Jennifer will be a tremendous asset to the City and to the District and will help ensure that our kids have the opportunity to learn in a safe environment that reflects progressive policy on the interaction of youth with our criminal justice system.”
Before coming to Salt Lake City, Jennifer worked for more than 24 years at the Salt Lake City School District in a variety of positions including Multicultural Education Coordinator, Positive School Culture and Attendance Specialist, bilingual elementary teacher, and middle school teacher of English Language Development (for English Learners) and Spanish.
Jennifer is a graduate of East High School and completed her bachelor’s degree at Utah State University. She obtained her master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from New College of California in San Francisco, where she began her career in education as a bilingual (Spanish) elementary school teacher in the city’s Mission District.
Through her lenses of equity and restorative justice, Jennifer has extensive experience collaborating in numerous education-related capacities with students, families, counselors, administrators, community groups, school resource officers and the court system–all with the end goal of creating and sustaining conditions and supports for student success.
“I see my new role with the Mayor’s Office as a perfect culmination of my 24+ year career with Salt Lake City School District. I feel expertly prepared for this challenge and I’m thrilled to continue to serve the students and communities of Salt Lake City in this new capacity. I am so grateful to Mayor Mendenhall and the City Council for the opportunity to represent the City in this way,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s work will center on: furthering the Mayor’s education priorities, assisting the school district in addressing the needs of low income and culturally diverse students and families, supporting training for Student Resource Officers and school administrators per H.B. 345 (2021), working with City, County, and the Salt Lake City School District to collect and evaluate data on racial and ethnic disparity of school discipline, school-based arrests and police contacts, and Serve as the primary point of contact and liaison between the Mayor’s office, school administration, and other programs and community partners, among other responsibilities.
Additionally, Andrew Wittenberg has been named Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office. Andrew most recently worked as Deputy Director of Communications for Mayor Mendenhall’s administration and served as the Marketing and Research Manager in the City’s Department of Economic Development prior to that role. He previously worked for 15 years in broadcast journalism.
Andrew takes over the role from Lindsey Nikola, who is stepping down to spend time with her newborn sons.