Jenny Rao grew up in Mexico City, daughter of a Mexican mother and a British/American father. Feeling the absence of role models for women in Mexico at the time, Jenny decided to attend college in the United States. From researching schools without a college counselor, to translating her teachers' recommendations into English, to taking SAT's without ever having seen a practice test, Jenny overcame the challenges and ultimately was accepted at Bates College in Maine.
Upon arriving, she signed up for the debate team in order to learn to think faster on her feet in English. In her senior year, she represented Bates at the World Parliamentary Debating Competition in Greece. This is a metaphor for Jenny's approach to her professional life: set a goal, determine what steps are necessary to accomplish it, and then raise the bar even higher to further challenge herself to achieve an ever-greater goal.
Upon graduation from Bates with a degree in Economics, Jenny joined Cambridge Associates, a consulting firm, in Boston. During her three years as a consulting associate, she honed her strategic and analytical skills. The world of finance, however, did not fulfill her deeper self, and she returned to teaching, as she had taught classical ballet in Mexico City.
Although she loved her years in the classroom, teaching Spanish at a K - 9th grade day and boarding school for boys in the Boston area, she discovered that she missed the strategic and analytical pieces in her consulting job. She enrolled in and completed a masters degree in Private School Leadership at the Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Before arriving at Emma Willard School in July 2017, Jenny was the director of academic affairs at Garrison Forest, where she has combined classroom teaching (English, Spanish, and Geography), with administrative work. Jenny is now the 17th Head of School at Emma Willard.
An advocate for nurturing the qualities of leadership in high school students, Jenny models good citizenry by her commitment to education and she serves on the board of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). She also is on the board of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce.