Ja’Nya Banks

Ja’Nya is a second year PhD student in the Education Policy, Politics and Leadership cluster. She is a proud East Coast native, raised in the “DMV”: DC, Maryland, Virginia region. She started her career as a Special Education Teacher and case manager, eventually transitioning into roles around youth mentorship, and race and identity facilitation for educators.

As a practitioner and researcher she is interested in understanding communal ties amongst school based stakeholders (parents, students and teachers) during the plight of policy shifts. She looks at opportunities for shift in institutions and well as organizations, such as teachers unions, that contribute to those changes. She focuses on major events such as school closures, board turnovers and trigger reform laws and more.

Currently, she conducts research with her advisor, Professor Bruce Fuller, on projects related to Transition Kindergarten expansion in California, and the impact of federal funding in “post”-pandemic school recovery. She works as a lead Graduate Student Instructor for the Education Minor course EDUC190AC: Critical Studies of Education. She also serves in a leadership role of the School of Education Graduate Coalition.

Specializations and Interests

Race and Policy, Special Education Policy, School-Based Community Organizing

doctoral student ja'nya banks smiling at camera


MSEd, Education Policy, University of Pennsylvania

MS, Special Education, University of Maryland

BS, Special Education, University of Maryland, Certificate in Teaching Special Education, birth-21

Curriculum Vitae

Ja'Nya Banks