Jen Mangrum is a native North Carolinian, born in the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital to USMC 1st Sgt. Tom Robinson and Sheila Samms Robinson in 1964. 1st Sgt Robinson served in WWII, Korea and two deployments in Vietnam.
After leaving the military, both of Jen’s parents completed certification and became public elementary school teachers. They raised their three children in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Jen grew up riding her bike to school, playing soccer on an all-boys team (there were no girls’ teams) and excelling in school. However, Jen’s mom passed away after suffering a massive heart attack when Jen was just 14 years old. Her older siblings had already left the nest and with the loss of her mother, her middle-class world changed forever. Jen found herself relying on school as her safe place and her teachers became family. This moment would define her passion and life’s work.
In 1987, Jen graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in elementary education. She continued her parents’ legacy and worked in a diverse school near the military base. During this time, she also met and married 1st Lieutenant Ron Mangrum, USMC Naval Aviator. Ron remained in the military until 1989 when he took a job with MacField in Reidsville, NC. Ron and Jennifer have two daughters. Both girls attended public schools K-12.