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JTHS Alumni Spotlight A Tradition of Education: A Feature on Jennifer (Albert) Bethman, Joliet Central High School Class of 1982


JTHS Alumni Spotlight

A Tradition of Education: A Feature on Jennifer (Albert) Bethman, Joliet Central High School Class of 1982

Academy of Human Services

Career & Education At-a-Glance

  • Assistant Superintendent in the Bethel School District (Washington State)
  • Joliet Junior College (Associate)
  • Illinois State University (Bachelor)
  • City University (Master of School Administration)
  • Washington State University (Doctorate of Educational Administration)

For Joliet Central High School Alumna Jennifer Albert Bethman (’82), education is a passion that has led to her current role as Assistant Superintendent at Bethel School District in Washington.

Her love of education began at Central, and Jennifer declares that she is a very proud Steelmen, expressing deep appreciation for her alma mater. “The quality education I received at Joliet Central is the foundation of my continued success,” she says.   

Jennifer's educational foundation was enhanced by her extensive involvement in a variety of activities at Central which included Band, National Honor Society, Cross Country, Swim Team, Badminton, Student Council, Math Team, French Club, Outdoors Club, and Pit Orchestra.  She was awarded the title of 1982 Miss J, a coveted honor that is still given to the ideal Central senior girl and boy who embodies the characteristics and educational achievement desired of all students.

As an administrative leader in her field, Jennifer reflects on two Central teachers that continue to inspire her, Mr. Lega and Mr. Benner. “Mr. Lega was the band director and I had him all four years of high school,” she says. “He inspired me to strive to meet a level of excellence not often found when working with a group of teenagers. He inspired all of us in band to understand that the best moments are reached when everyone is prepared individually to work together as a team.”

Continuing her reflection, Jennifer credits Mr. Benner. “He was both my Health teacher and Cross Country coach.  He helped me learn that endurance, pain, and pushing up hill all lead to success.”

Jennifer spreads her educational inspiration through her current role as assistant superintendent where she works to support principals and teachers throughout a school district of 19,000 students (K-12) to provide a high quality education to all students.  Her job responsibilities include selection of curriculum to be used throughout the district, providing professional development opportunities for teachers and building administrators, evaluating principals, monitoring program effectiveness, connecting community resources to the schools and assuring Federal programs are implemented correctly.

Her dedication has led to professional awards and accolades which include the Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2016 and the acquisition of the Superintendent Credentials in 2012.

When asked what advice she would give current Joliet Central High School students, Jennifer states, “Take risks. Audition for plays, musicals and athletic teams. Take a difficult class. Run for student government. Join a club even though your friends aren't joining. Don't worry about being ‘good enough’ just go for it! Sometimes the experiences where you initially feel like a failure will ultimately be the most memorable experiences.”



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