A Passion for Racial Justice and Equitable Education
Widely known as principal for 20 years of Boston’s Young Achievers Science and Math K-8 Pilot School, Jinny Chalmers devoted her entire adult life to the pursuit of justice for children and families within the education system.
Every day Jinny showed how deeply she cared for each of the thousands of students and family members whose lives she affected during her 44-year career. She was trusted, admired, respected and loved by hundreds of teachers and school staff, who benefited from her guidance and mentorship.
Jinny championed racial justice and excellent, inclusive education for students of all abilities. This became the mission of Young Achievers, where Jinny viewed families as equal partners with teachers in the education of their children. Her collaborative leadership philosophy was the centerpiece of her work every day.
Earlier, Jinny’s innovative work as a classroom teacher and administrator at schools including the King Open, Elliot Pearson and Bank St. College Children’s School pushed fellow educators toward new methodologies for reaching students.
But it was more than a desire to teach and nurture that animated Jinny and inspired her life’s work. A fire blazed within Jinny; a passion for racial and social justice was centered in her core. With her ability to harness her passion and put her ideas into practice, Jinny was a true change-maker.
In 2018, Jinny retired from the Boston Public Schools and Young Achievers and began a new phase, drilling down on projects that were close to her heart.
Tragically, on November 17, 2020, Jinny Chalmers died in a traffic accident as she rode her bicycle a few miles from her Dorchester home. She was 70 years old. Jinny left behind a loving family, legions of friends and a large community of colleagues, students and families that will always grieve the loss of her visionary leadership, her energetic, problem-solving spirit and her generous heart.
Jinny called herself a radical. She was a force of nature on a lifelong mission, and she made a real difference in people’s lives and the life of her community. With our Jinny Chalmers Fund for Education Justice, we are determined to continue making a difference in her name.
More About Jinny
A graduate of Tufts University (1973) and Tufts’ graduate program in Early Childhood Education (1976). Directed or consulted with numerous programs in Massachusetts and served as Dean of the Division of Children’s Programs at the Bank Street College of Education, New York.
Championed experiential learning at Young Achievers, whose students explored environmental issues in Costa Rica and trekked around Boston to learn the story of their own city; and at the King Open School where she was a pioneer teacher in the early days of the Algebra Project.
In retirement, Jinny was part of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative team, a project with Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School. Her work with the team on a new volume in the series Helping Traumatized Children Learn was focused on amplifying the voices of educators of color in trauma leadership. Jinny also mentored pre-service principals through the Harvard School Leadership Program.