Director of Advocacy & Public Affairs

JerseyCAN 570 352 5783 morganne.firmstone@jerseycan.org

Morganne hails from Honesdale, Pennsylvania and shares this birthplace with the first commercial steam locomotive to run on rails in the United States (woot, woot!).

After graduating from Honesdale High School, Morganne began her life in New Jersey and attended Monmouth University. At Monmouth, she served as a senior editor for the student-run newspaper and was a captain of the University’s field hockey team. In 2011, she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in communication with concentrations in journalism and public relations and minors in information technology and gender studies. Shortly thereafter, she began graduate school at Monmouth, receiving her master’s in public policy in 2013.

Morganne began her professional career as an intern for New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck, later transitioning to the senator’s constituent relations coordinator, and eventually legislative director. Working as legislative director, Morganne oversaw the senator’s policy agenda and worked on numerous policy issues aimed at protecting various groups of people including the developmentally disabled, Hurricane Sandy homeowners and domestic and sexual violence survivors.

Morganne was also a member of the adjunct faculty at Monmouth University, where she taught sociology and developed a keen interest in racial, social and economic achievement gap trends. Morganne continues to coach and play field hockey whenever she can and is a puppy mother to a two-year-old golden retriever.

I aspire to be like Tina Fey. Here’s why:

I have immense respect and a slight obsession with Tina Fey. Not only is she an accomplished comedian, author and actress; she commands respect and exudes confidence in a way that is relatable. I think that there is such a compelling, persuasive power in that.

Why I love my job:

At the most basic level, my job entails narrowing the achievement gap and raising the bar for all New Jersey students. Every day I get to come to work and strive towards this ultimate goal.

I don’t think there is another job out there that allows you to affect real, important and lasting change for the future like a job at JerseyCAN.

My connection to public schools:

My late great-grandmother, Edith Firmstone, graduated from the same public high school I went to growing up. In the late 1930s, she went on to become a third- and fourth-grade teacher. Her father was also involved in public education, serving as a principal of a two-year high school in Waymart, PA and then as the superintendent of Wayne County Schools in 1921.

I am truly blessed to have attended the same public school system that my relatives laid the groundwork for and continue to preserve to this day; my father is the current business manager of the district and my aunt is a third-grade teacher.

What I’m bad at:

I have a terrible sense of direction! I often tell people I could get lost in a paper bag. Luckily with the advent of handheld electronic devices and GPS, I can get just about anywhere.

The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:

This infamous Banksy street art appeared in Boston in 2010. I think this image speaks to the conflicting realities that many kids face today: the entrenched mantra of striving towards the American Dream is unfortunately at odds with accessing​ high-quality public schools. Working for JerseyCAN, we get the opportunity to remove that “cancelled” sign and get kids back to the business of dreaming.

Image source: Rocky Chang on Flickr http://bit.ly/1C663cP (cc)