Communities In Schools of PA is excited to share the spotlight on our new Executive Director, Jessica Knapp. Jessica joins us with more than 8 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, including time in a variety of program management and fund development roles. To learn more, please click here.

1. What would be the title of the autobiography of your life?

A Messy Mind

2. What is the one thing you can’t live without?

My family

3. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I spent a summer living in Rwanda in graduate school and worked in a refugee camp.

4. Name 3 things that define you as an individual.

My academic pursuits, my family, and my passion for nonprofit work.

5. Who (or what) is your biggest inspiration?

I’m lucky to have some incredibly strong women in my life – my mom, my aunt, and both of my (late) grandma’s. They are amazing role models who inspire me to work hard, love without reservation, and practice kindness.

6. What was one past experience that made you a stronger individual?

Definitely all of my travel experience. Traveling alone to foreign countries can be daunting, and forces you to adapt and develop skills that you might not have previously had. It’s also helped me develop a global perspective on my career and academic pursuits, which is something I’m really grateful for.

7. What advice would you give your younger self?

Be kinder to yourself.

8. How do you define success?

Success is such a relative term – if I feel good about the work I’m doing, and it’s resulting in positive, measurable outcomes, then I feel like I’m successful.

9. What drives you to do this type of work?

I am passionate about nonprofit work; I fully believe that this sector is critically important to our society and fills a gap in services that are not provided by the government or private sector. I’m drawn to the work of Communities in Schools in particular because I believe that all children should be afforded a chance to succeed and do well in school. By providing additional supports, students are empowered to stay in school and reach their maximum potential – and that is a powerful thing. I’m both excited and honored to be a part of that work.

10. What is the best part about working at Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania?

The staff at CISPA are wildly talented and incredibly passionate. It’s so inspirational to be surrounded by such a dynamic group of people every day!