From Aspiring Lawyer to Master Of Education

Jennifer Rumpke takes us through her college years and how she eventually found the right career path for her.


Oliver Niblett

The beautiful New York skyline.

by Leanna Fitzgerald, Contributor

When you’re a highschooler on the cusp of adulthood, you believe that you have all of your future layed out. More often than not, the mindset that you enter this next chapter of your life with, is not necessarily what you will leave with.

Jennifer Rumpke, a social studies teacher at Central Kitsap High School has experienced this. While growing up in New York, Rumpke’s job interests shifted over time. Throughout her life, she was intrigued in a variety of career options, ranging from the medical field to even becoming a nun. 

Eventually, she landed on the idea of becoming a civil rights lawyer and was determined to pursue it in college. Some of the historical figures that inspire her the most are minister and human rights activist Malcolm X and lawyer and jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Malcolm X poses for a photograph (Original negative by Marion S. Trikosko. Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd.)

Rumpke stated, “The power of their intellect, their ability to persevere in the face of adversity, their willingness to push for what is right and just, their strength and courage…what’s not to be inspired by?”

Throughout her university experience, she found herself taking courses regarding Black Studies, Women’s Studies and U.S. History, which went into more detail than her high school classes.

Social Studies is a vast topic with many subjects within. According to Rumpke, her favorite subject to teach students is the Civil Rights Movement, a period with a lot of activism and leadership. She loves to discuss the strength people had during that time and discovering new things that she was not aware of.

As an active member of the CKHS community, Rumpke is involved in the Survivor Support Through Outreach and Prevention Club, also known as “STOP.” The purpose of the club is to help prevent future cases of sexual assault by educating others on the topic, and also works as an outreach group for survivors. Her past experience as an educator for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness, and her attendance at this last summer’s demonstration at the Jennie Wright Building, helped contribute to her decision of becoming a club advisor.

Rumpke adds, “I wanted to make use of that [DVSAPA] experience to help support students. I also wanted to speak up for myself, as a survivor of sexual assault, maybe help shed the stigma and shame so many survivors are subjected to.”

Screenshot of the STOP club information. Taken by Leanna Fitzgerald.

Rumpke began to pursue a career in teaching history by taking on a new challenge, something she is quite used to. With a total of nine moves around the world as a military spouse, the one thing that has stayed consistent is her unconditional love for history and New York. 

Jennifer Rumpke concludes, “I was born and raised in New York and I carry that attitude and culture with me.” 

Rumpke graciously smiles for a photograph. (Matthew Rumpke)