Dr. Christine Jax, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, will address the University of St. Thomas Alumni Association’s First Friday Club luncheon at noon Friday, Feb. 4, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, 35 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis.
Jax was named commissioner by Gov. Jesse Ventura on Jan. 15, 1999. On Monday, Jan. 3, nearly all of the duties and authority of the state board of education were transferred to Jax. Her department now has the power to approve charter schools, set licensing guidelines for school administrators and make education policy decisions.
Prior to her appointment, Jax was a professor of education at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, taught sociology at the College of St. Catherine and was a University of Minnesota legal research fellow studying educational finance and segregation. In 1996, she received a Bush Leadership Fellowship to study, as part of work for her doctoral dissertation, at-risk African-American high-school students in Minneapolis.
Jax, who grew up in Bloomington, Minn., is best known for founding a school for homeless children in 1992. She has directed a nursery school, taught for a continuing-education organization for teachers and families, and directed child-care and learning facilities. She has a degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.
On first Fridays of each month, October to June, the First Friday Club meets for lunch and a speaker of current interest. St. Thomas alumni and friends, along with the general public, are invited. Cost of each luncheon and presentation is $17.
On March 3 the club will welcome Irish poet Louis de Paor, winner of St. Thomas’ fourth annual O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry.
Reservations for the February luncheon are due at noon Tuesday, Feb. 1. Early reservations are recommended as these luncheons fill quickly. For reservations and further information, call the St. Thomas Alumni Association, (651) 962-6430.