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November 02, 2021

By Capital Communications Team

Kelly Named Dean of the School of Education

Capital University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Faison Kelly as dean of the School of Education.

Kelly is a tenured professor of Education and has served on the faculty at Capital since 1999. Her appointment as the first African-American dean of the School of Education at Capital highlights a career of administrative and service contributions to the University. Most recently, she served as associate dean of clinical partnerships for the School of Education.

“We are fortunate to have Jennifer Kelly leading Capital University’s School of Education,” said Provost Jody Fournier. “Jennifer brings innovative ideas and a commitment to collaboration to the position. I am excited to see how teacher education preparation will advance under her leadership.”

Kelly is a native of Warsaw, N.C., and earned her undergraduate degree in physical education from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Adapted Physical Education and a doctorate in Sport and Exercise Education from The Ohio State University. Before joining Capital University, she worked as a health and physical educator and coach in Duplin City Schools in Kenansville, NC.

“I am honored to be the next dean stewarding the great foundation that the School of Education has laid in the Central Ohio community. I work with some of the most diverse, dedicated colleagues in the field of education,” Kelly said. “I am confident that with the support of Capital leadership, key stakeholders, and donors, we can expand our vision and impact nationally and internationally.”

At Capital, she formerly served as department chair in Health and Sport Sciences and on numerous committees, including the Capital Scholars Committee, Academic Standing & Student Affairs, Faculty Evaluation Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Committee. In 2007, Kelly received the Capital University Cotterman Award, the highest award recognizing excellence in advising.

In 2017, she became one of the University’s inaugural Master Academic Advisors, helping to vision, launch, and staff the Advising Office. She has earned a commendable record of international, national, regional, and local peer-reviewed and invited publications, presentations, and reports for specialized associations and organizations. She has contributed to numerous successful community grants.

Kelly has served on many local, state, and national advisory councils and boards, including co-chairing the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Physical Education. She serves on the editorial advisory board for the “Journal of the Alliance of Black School Educators” and the ODHE Review of Adapted Physical Education ProgramsKelly is a member of the African American Advisory Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio and the Columbus City Schools Afrocentric Early College. She was instrumental in establishing a strategic partnership with Whitehall City Schools, where Capital University education students teach phonics at the Kae Avenue Early Learning Center.

Her professional memberships include the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Alliance of Black Scholar Educators, and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni. Kelly is committed to preparing teacher educators to see the value of all P-12 students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, and establishing mutually beneficial partnerships in underperforming schools. She is a respected voice of reason and integrity throughout the Central Ohio community. 

Kelly is an ordained minister at Rhema Christian Center. Her husband is Anthony Kelly, and her daughter, Samantha Mahogany Hodge, attends Columbus State Community College. Kelly enjoys advocating for students and families in the schools and is an avid blood and platelet donor for the American Red Cross.