Saint Paul Mayor Coleman announced this week that he has appointed Jane Eastwood as the new Saint Paul education director. Eastwood succeeds Vallay Varro, who is leaving to serve as executive director of the new education group, MinnCan. Eastwood, who previously worked as vice president of advancement for Scholarship America, will assume her duties as education director on December 15.
“Jane has proven herself to be an innovative leader with the experience necessary to support our youth. Her guidance will be essential as we work to close the achievement gap and further Saint Paul as a national model for out-of-school-time programming,” Mayor Chris Coleman said.
“Learning is essential at any age and I’m excited to help Saint Paul provide the education and learning opportunities necessary to prepare our youngest for school, our youth for the workforce and our adults for all of life’s changes,” Jane Eastwood said.
As education director, Eastwood will draw from an extensive background in public and non-profit sectors. In her role with Scholarship America, she managed a one million dollar budget as well as oversaw the organization’s annual fund, major gifts, scholarships and grants. Her work furthered the organization in its efforts to provide scholarships for two million students nationwide.
Eastwood holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Macalester College and masters of fine arts in creative writing from Hamline University. Prior to working with Scholarship America, Eastwood served as director of external relations and partnerships for Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Libraries where she spearheaded new programs in K-12, early literacy and adult/senior education, immigrant services and workforce development.
Eastwood was also part of the team that brought the Science Museum of Minnesota to its downtown Saint Paul location as well as working to grow the organization’s attendance by 30 percent while increasing memberships by 50 percent in the process. As a project manager for the Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development from 1982 to 1988, Eastwood played a role in creating the Actors Theatre, which is now the Park Square Theatre, and helped bring the U.S. Olympic Festival to the Twin Cities in 1990.
In addition to this work, Eastwood has held leadership positions on various boards, including: Outfront Minnesota, Park Square Theatre and the Saint Paul Arts, Culture and Entertainment Task Force.