Jacquelyn Dortch was born and raised in the Austin community on Chicago’s west side. Her parents were 15 and 17 years of age at the time of her birth. Jacquelyn’s life was immediately plagued by the prescribed perils of living in an impoverished community and being reared by teenagers. Fortunately for Jacquelyn, she lived in a community where principals and teachers believed in moving beyond the office. When her mother’s elementary school principal learned that she had given birth, he made a house visit. He simply told Jacquelyn’s mother and father, “no matter what, stay in school and make sure these children have a quality education.”
Jacquelyn asserts that it is because of principals like this that she is who she is today. Jacquelyn graduated from Chicago public schools and went on to achieve a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s degree from Spertus College. Jacquelyn joined the Stand family in September of 2011. Given her start in life, it is ironic that her career would evolve to her leading the charge of Stand’s family engagement program in Chicago. Jacquelyn took on the role of Family Engagement Manager and successfully rolled out Stand University for Parents (Stand UP) in Chicago. Through her efforts more than 250 parents have graduated from Stand UP. Jacquelyn is now serving as our National Family Engagement Coach wherein she works to assist other states in the successful launch and implementation of Stand UP. Jacquelyn asserts the most invigorating part of her work is to work for an organization that embodies those words of wisdom that were spoken to her mother “no matter what, stay in school and make sure these children have a quality education."