Kevin Jennings, GLSEN’s founder, is recognized as a leader in both the education and civil rights communities and currently serves as the Executive Director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Mr. Jennings spent a decade teaching high school history at the Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island (1985-87) and at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts (1987-1994), where he also served as Chair of the History Department. In 1992, Mr. Jennings was named one of fifty “Terrific Teachers Making a Difference” by the Edward Calesa Foundation, and in 1993 was selected as a Klingenstein Fellow by Columbia University for his outstanding leadership in independent school education.
Mr. Jennings is best known for his work creating safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. After “coming out” in a chapel talk to the school community at Concord Academy in 1988, Mr. Jennings
helped establish the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance for students at Concord and became a well-known spokesperson and writer on LGBT issues in schools. In 1990, he founded GLSEN, bringing together teachers, parents and community members to end anti-LGBT bias in K-12 schools. As the head of than all-volunteer group in Boston, Mr. Jennings led GLSEN in its successful effort to make Massachusetts the first state n the nation to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against public school students and in 1993 to establish a state-wide program called “Safe Schools for Gay and Lesbian Students.” Mr. Jennings became GLSEN’s first Executive Director in 1995, relocated its national headquarters to New York, and has led its rapid growth from an all-volunteer group to its status today as a national education and civil rights organization with nearly seventy chapters around the country and a national staff of approximately thirty.
Mr. Jennings has made several television appearances as an advocate and spokesperson for LGBT youth. He is also the author of several books including Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay & Lesbian History for High School and College Students; One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories; Telling Tales Out of School: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People Remember Their School Years; and Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning Son or Daughter. Mr. Jennings also wrote and produced the historical documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.