Meet Jen

Jennifer Porter is an author, coach and award-winning educator who works alongside individuals with disabilities, educators, caregivers, and service providers, “unfreezing” their hearts, lives, and genius to create truly inclusive, dynamically interdependent communities.
Jen is the author of The Frozen, a Christian dystopian science fiction novel that explores the way we place value on others, as well as other fiction and nonfiction works. She writes and offers a curated selection of related works in her bookstore to unfreeze hearts and promote understanding and interdependence.
Jen created the Special Needs Spa to pay forward the gifts she has received. She provides training, personalized resources, coaching, and community to individuals with disabilities, service providers, and teachers in order to unfreeze lives by saving time and filling toolboxes with strategies, and unfreeze the genius within us all to achieve dynamic results through connection and collaboration.
Jen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Language Arts Teaching, as well as a Master’s Degree in K-12 Special Education. She has been a teacher since 2001, beginning her career teaching language arts, and then finding her calling in teaching students with autism and related special needs in 2009. She was the recipient of the Lion Newcomer Award from the Linn-Mar Community School District in 2011 – for a person who “has made a significant impact on students through an extraordinary contribution of time and talent outside of employment responsibilities.” She also received the 2017 ARC of East Central Iowa Teacher of the Year Award – for individuals “who go above and beyond for those with disabilities.” Her greatest honor, however (other than being a mother), was getting to know and learn from each incredibly special and unique student and family, as well as other educators, paraprofessionals, and coaches with incredible heart and dedication.
Jen and her husband Jim are steadily blessed by the gifts of their five children, each uniquely crafted by God for their roles in this world. Their blended family, though four of the “children” are no longer children, still daily works together to overcome the struggles that arise from the mixture of very different personalities and family backgrounds, as well as ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders, and severe Down Syndrome. Jen and Jim are also very proud grandparents. They live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with their oldest daughter, their youngest daughter, three jealous and paranoid dogs, and some fish. Does Jen have a social life? Well, yes, Jen enjoys exploring her many other interests, but her husband claims to have married her because she can’t get enough Star Trek…