Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2001
School of Education
May 1, 2009
Graduate An Early Advocate for After-School Programs in Orange County
Jenel Prenovost, Ed.D., serves as the Director of Evaluation for THINK Together in Santa Ana, the largest provider of state-funded afterschool programs in California.
Dr. Prenovost earned her joint doctorate from UCI-UCLA in 2001, as part of the third Ed.D. cohort. Her dissertation focused on the evaluation of some of the first middle school after school programs in the state. The outcomes of the evaluation were part of just a handful of data available to the California legislature to help determine whether to continue additional funding.
Dr. Prenovost earned her B.A. in Political Science from UC Davis in 1992, where she became engaged and interested in education policymaking during an internship experience in Washington D.C. It was here that she decided her career should start with teaching. After earning her teaching credential and Masters from UCLA in 1992, she taught at both the high school and middle school levels, serving as both a master and a mentor teacher for World History.
In 1999, Dr. Prenovost left the classroom to become the first Program Specialist for Santa Ana Unified School District’s state-funded after-school programs where she provided oversight and support for day-to-day operations, program development, budget, grant writing, reporting and evaluation. It was during this time that she became familiar with THINK Together and was presented with an opportunity to join a team of people interested in expanding a model of quality afterschool programming that could be scaled up across multiple school districts, thereby reaching thousands of more students who otherwise had no afterschool academic support or enrichment opportunities. Dr. Prenovost is now leading the development of evaluation measures, tools and processes for THINK Together that can provide both summative feedback on the overall impact that THINK Together has had, as well as more formative feedback that is meaningful and timely and focused on helping staff at over 200 program sites more effectively address the needs of their students.
Dr. Prenovost chose to leave the classroom and dedicate her career to a relatively new field in 1999 because she saw the potential of afterschool programming to offer both parents and students important, no-fee support that could truly help students be successful in school. With small town roots in Montana, she also saw the potential for afterschool programs to offer a sense of community to students who otherwise are part of a large urban school where they can easily feel disconnected and insignificant.
Afterschool programs offer students the unique opportunity to become part of a small community where program instructors and other students have a chance to get to know them every day for three hours each day. An afterschool community increases the chance that these students are connecting with at least one adult, strengthening relationships with peers, building self-esteem, and engaging in more leadership, athletic and mentorship opportunities; ultimately fostering a nurturing environment that facilitates students’ ability to learn.
Since earning her Doctorate, Dr. Prenovost has continued to work with the Department of Education at UC Irvine, not only throughout her tenure as the Program Specialist in Santa Ana, but most recently in her role as the Director of Evaluation at THINK Together. THINK Together and Santa Ana Unified School District were recently just one of five grantees nationwide awarded a High Quality Supplemental Services/21st Century Community Learning Centers National Demonstration Project grant by the Federal Government. This three-year project designates UC Irvine as the lead evaluator to examine and identify best practices that can serve as a national model for coordinating federal funding for both afterschool programming through 21st Century Community Learning Center funding as well as small-group tutoring programming as well as Title 1 Supplemental Educational Services tutoring.
As an alumna of the doctorate program, Dr. Prenovost looks forward to working closely with the Department as they focus their efforts in becoming the premier afterschool research institution.