Taj Jensen

Principal, Educational Consultant
Tacoma Public Schools

In his 11 years as a principal, Taj Jensen has gained the ability to take struggling schools and turn them into thriving, sustainable learning communities. From 2009-2014, Jensen was the leader of Tillicum Elementary in Washington a failing school with 97% receiving free and reduced lunch (generational poverty). When he arrived there, achievement was low and the school had been negatively impacted by high rates of criminal activity in the surrounding community. However, Jensen was able to turn Tillicum into a National Title I School of Distinction in just five years. At the state level, Tillicum as won a School of Distinction award, among others, for closing the achievement gap and achieving high progress in reading and math. Last year, Jensen was given the opportunity to replicate his success at Tyee Park – a task that he considers a privilege. In a school where 96% of students participate in the free or reduced lunch program, he understands that basic needs must be met first. On-site dental visits and flu shots, a weekend meal program, after-school tutoring, and adult ESL classes for parents are just some of the ways that Jensen levels the playing field so that students have equal access to education for all students. As an instructional leader, he is visible and active, and encourages collaboration among students and staff alike. Jensen is currently taking over Mann Elementary for the 2016-17 school year where it is his goal is to replicate the work and success that took place at his prior two schools. Mann is also a school with over 80% Free and Reduced lunch rate count and dismal state assessment scores. Jensen holds a B.A. from the University of Redlands as well as a M.Ed. in Leadership and two professional certificates in Teaching and Administration from City University. Jensen is also the co-founder of schoolturnaround.net an educational consulting groups that utilizes a systematic process to acquire a clear picture of each site. The comprehensive process identifies specific strengths and focus areas and initiates an individualized plan based on agreed upon outcomes.