In 1984, after working at a variety of jobs—from making stained glass windows for local businesses to housekeeping at a nursing home—she received a MA in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Composition from Eastern Washington University.
In the fall of 1984, she accepted a full-time job in the English Department at Santa Rosa Junior College, and moved to northern California. After the first of her three children was born in 1986, she began teaching part-time in order to devote more time to her family and her writing. Since then, the course she has taught most often at SRJC is Creative Writing, although she also teaches Introduction to Literature, Critical Thinking, and Composition courses.
Jean is a frequent speaker and instructor at writers’ conferences and workshops. She has taught for the Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in Sicily for the German Studienshiftung program in northern Italy, and has been Writer in Residence at the College of York St. John in York, England.
Jean has three grown children, a beloved stepdaughter, and four granddaughters. She and her husband live in the forests of northern California, where her pastimes include beekeeping and reading poetry at a local Memory Care Facility. She is always at work on another book.