Jane O’Meara Sanders is an American social worker, college administrator, and political staffer. Sanders was provost and interim president of Goddard College (since 1996–1997) and president of Burlington College (since 2004–2011). In June 2017, she founded the think tank The Sanders Institute. She has been married to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders since 1988.
Education and personal life
Sanders was born Mary Jane O’Meara on January 3, 1950, and grew up in Brooklyn, as one of five children of Bernadette Joan (Sheridan) and Benedict P. O’Meara. She was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, including Saint Saviour High School, before attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. O’Meara dropped out of Tennessee and moved back to Brooklyn with her first husband, David Driscoll; they then moved to Virginia. In 1975, they moved to Vermont when Driscoll’s employer, IBM, transferred him. O’Meara had requested that Driscoll seek a transfer because she did not like Manassas, Virginia. The couple divorced shortly after their arrival in Vermont and the birth of their son Dave. She has three children (Heather Titus, Carina Driscoll. And David Driscoll ) from her marriage with Driscoll.
O’Meara finished her college degree at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, with a bachelor’s in social work. She met Bernie Sanders in 1981, ten days before his first campaign victory as Mayor of Burlington. Likewise, again at his victory party; they wed in 1988.
In 1996, she earned a doctorate in leadership studies in politics. Similarly, the education from Union Institute & University headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Early in her career, Sanders worked in the Juvenile Division of the Burlington Police Department. And then as a community organizer with the King Street Area Youth Center, and a volunteer for VISTA, where she helped pay off student loans.
From 1981 to 1991, Sanders served as founding Director of the Mayor’s Youth Office and Department Head in the City of Burlington. She was also active in K-12 education, elected as a School Board Commissioner, and was a founding member of the Women’s Council & the Film Commission. From 1991 to 1995, she worked in his office on a volunteer basis.
Career in Adviser and aide to Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders has described his wife as “one of [his] key advisers”, and he has employed her at various times as “an administrative assistant, spokeswoman, policy adviser, chief of staff, and media buyer”.
She has served in Sanders’s Congressional office as Chief of Staff and as Policy and Press Adviser, and also serves as an Alternate Commissioner for the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission.
Career in Burlington College presidency
She increased the small college’s fundraising. During her tenure as President, Burlington had an endowment of “about $150,000”, and fundraising revenue had increased from about $25,000 when Sanders first arrived at $1.25 million by 2011. In 2010, Sanders oversaw the purchase of property formerly owned and occupied by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. The College-based the real estate purchase on projections that enrollment would rapidly grow from fewer than 200. And that was to as many as 750 students, with a corresponding income increase from tuition fees.
- Full Name: Mary Jane O’Meara Sanders
- Date of birth: January 3, 1950
- Age: 70 years
- Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, United States
- Spouse: Bernie Sanders (since m 1988)
- Education: Union Institute & University of Vermont, Goddard College, University of Tennessee
- Children: Carina Driscoll, David Driscoll, Heather Driscoll
- Parents: Benedict O’Meara, Bernadette Joan O’Meara
- Siblings: Ben O’Meara
- Net Worth:
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Reference Net Worth of Jane O'Meara Sanders