For nearly three decades, Jane Rea Gerling has contributed to the future of Geneva by serving as a strong and compassionate advocate for its children and teens. As a teacher and coordinator of education and disabilities programs, and now as the director of Geneva Head Start she has worked to better the lives of generations of young people and truly made a difference in our community.
Her leadership support of the Head start Program has made it one of the most successful programs for youth in the area. That success has led to the implementation of the Follow-Through Program which has enabled Head Start to continue to support parents for another year after their children have gone from pre-school to kindergarten.
Jane Gerling's passion to improve the lives of children extends beyond the classroom. To expand services to these future leaders of the Finger Lakes region, she is a board member of Success for Geneva's Children, a community collaboration of agencies and programs that serve Geneva's children and their families. She also leads a local program for teen parents, helping young mothers gain the life skills necessary to support their children.
Never tiring or ceasing to do for others in the community, Gerling is a central figure in the Presbyterian community. She is the youth adviser at the Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church of Geneva where she also serves on the Worship and Mission Committees as well as the Faith in Families Team. She spent several years combining her vested interest in youth and spiritual communities as chair of the Christian Education Task Force of the Geneva Presbytery and has worked tirelessly to create within the Church a culture of diversity and inclusion.
Civic groups and social service agencies have recognized her altruism and endless commitment to the Geneva community. Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes presented Gerling with the Sharing the Light Award in 2002, given to a select group of individuals who have contributed immensely to the betterment of the Finger Lakes region.
In the formulation of the Geneva Partnership, Hobart and William Smith Colleges sought Gerling's counsel. Her deep understanding of the challenges facing Geneva and her creative mind for solutions proved integral to our efforts.
Gerling earned her bachelor of arts degree from SUNY Buffalo and a master's degree in education in reading from the University of Missouri.