Most people know Jennifer Henson (‘04) as The ACT Lady. But you can call her Jen.
Henson always knew she would be a teacher. As a child, she spent most of her time playing school and using stuffed animals to fill her imaginary classroom.
The Cincinnati native, who has been an educator for more than two decades, first started out as a high school English teacher in northern Kentucky and later Ohio. When a superintendent asked her to help a student-athlete prepare for the ACT, the second phase of her teaching life began. After many requests and trying to balance two demanding careers, she quit her full-time teaching job and started her own company, Jen Henson ACT Prep.
Henson tailors her curriculum for each student based on their individual needs. She lives in Houston, Texas, but she has taught students all over the country thanks to Zoom and FaceTime. She also travels to various schools up to seven weeks out of the year.
Henson is 1,000 miles away from NKU, but she won’t forget her time in the university’s Master of Education program.
“It was such a blessing to have those classes under my belt,” she says. “The content and classes I took at NKU were very practical for application into the classroom. I didn’t feel like it was just coursework that I was checking off to say I was finished. So much of it related to things I could share with my students or help me be a better teacher. At NKU, there was so much choice and opportunity for students to shine in the way they needed to instead of fitting inside a box.”
What does Henson miss the most about being in the classroom? The feeling of community—spirit days, hallway banter and student high-fives.
Test prep was never the plan, but luckily for Henson, she loves every second of it.
“This job is so rewarding because I get to witness the end result,” she says. “My favorite part about all of this is changing a life. I see a student go from, ‘I cannot beat this test, I cannot go to college’ to breaking down that barrier with them. It’s incredible. Sometimes teachers might feel like they don’t get that satisfaction, but we need to think about the little changes. It’s easy to lose sight of them, but they’re there.”