Author, TEDx and Keynote Speaker, Entertainer and Educator

Dr. Jen Mott

“The information provided by Dr. Mott gives you a new perspective on handling situations within your life.”

Princeton City Schools

Jen Mott Cincinnati Circus Co.
The cover photo above is one of my favorites because I love giving high fives when I’m on stilts – it seems to me a perfect parallel for what we, as educators, do on a daily basis.  We are “taller” in the sense that we are older and have more life experience but we are constantly working to get on our students’ level and show them the abilities they have, even when they do not believe it.  Showing them that they matter and that we want them to reach “new heights” (pun intended) can be way more successful when we engage them in an entertaining way… get on their level… show them they matter and we simply want what’s best for them.

What’s my story?  Below are the parts (circus & education) that are relevant for now, along with how they intersect.  If you would like to know more, call or email me and let’s set something up.  I’d love to meet you or talk to you more if we’ve already met. 


The most common question is: how do you just join a circus? The short answer is: I love talking to people, learning about their stories, and quickly saying YES to new opportunities & adventures.  The long answer is: I was at the annual WEBN Labor Day fireworks in Cincinnati in September 2006.  My friends and I saw some stilt-walkers who were juggling and we thought it was neat so we went over to talk to them.  I told them about how I could juggle (barely), they let me try (see pic below) and the rest, they say, is history.  They could not have been nicer, invited me to join them at a practice, and once I convinced my parents to let me go, I never stopped!

Within a few months, I was performing in shows…
Juggling with fire
… and even juggling on the moon!  



…Just kidding about the moon part.  That is clearly a green screen; a girl can dream!  Regardless, it was the best college job I ever could have imagined and I enjoyed all four years thinking it would be just that – a college job.

Juggling on the moon


Coming from a family of educators, I always knew I wanted to be one, too.  Traveling to Spain in high school gave me the quick realization that I would be a Spanish teacher and I never looked back.  I started college at University of Cincinnati to stay close to home and also had the opportunity to be a Division 1 athlete, playing on the inaugural women’s lacrosse team.  Being a student-athlete was an incredible experience and I am forever grateful for my time at UC. 

As graduation approached, I was student teaching and about to start full-time teaching.  I knew that meant the circus would come to an end.  I was fortunate enough to get a long-term substitute position at Mariemont City Schools before eventually being hired for my first full year out of college at the same school where I student-taught – Mason High School.  Just before I was about to quit the circus, I reflected and thought – why does this mean I have to quit?  We have the most amount of events on the weekends and in the summers and that is when I am most free.  Can I make both work? 

I am glad I questioned myself and stuck with it.  I taught high school Spanish, coached volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse, finished grad school at UC – all while continuing with the circus.  What a joy it was performing at events where I got to see students, too (below)!

After a few years at Mason, I made the difficult decision to leave in order to go “home” – back to where it all began – to Sycamore Community Schools.  This is where my mom went K-12, where she taught the majority of her career and also where I went K-12 and where I always dreamed of teaching.  I continued coaching volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse while teaching Spanish and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at Sycamore Junior High.  These were the years where I also went back to school after being accepted into the Doctoral Program of Leadership Studies at Xavier University while pursuing my Principal Licensure, as well.  Of course, I continued working with Cincinnati Circus Company and offering my talents at school events like the annual fundraiser, Flight Fest (see picture below).
Ms. Mott Mason Schools
Jen Mott on stilts
It was a blast and even more difficult to leave home.  I had to go across the river in order to return to teaching my passion – Spanish. Highlands High School in Fort Thomas Independent Schools was a fantastic, one-year experience that gave me a final year of teaching the subject I love and growing as a school leader, ready to move into administration.  There I met a whole new group of students I could entertain with the Spanish culture and language while, of course, not forgetting to share with them my juggling skills, too. I saw some of them out and about at various events (picture on next page) and was able to end the year with a trip to Spain with them!

As I completed my Principal Licensure and felt the pull to move into administration sooner rather than later, I also felt the pull to leave the circus – not because I wanted to but because I felt like I should in the sense that being a circus performer as an administrator would not be very professional. I feared teachers and students wouldn’t be able to take me seriously and wouldn’t see me as the school leader I knew I could be. 

However, by now plenty of people knew about the “double life” I was living and plenty more people – mentors and administrators included – encouraged me to keep doing the circus since it was part of who I was. I am incredibly glad that I listened to them because, after years of administration as an Assistant Principal at Fairfield Senior High School and Assistant Principal & Athletic Director at Mason Middle School, I continue being a happy circus performer, as well. 

INTERSECTION of Circus & Education, Keynote Speaking

Over the years I have found unbelievable parallels between the work on the weekends and in the summers that I do as a circus performer and the work on a daily basis that I do in the schools. I have also been presenting at conferences for educators for a few years and finally felt like it was time to bring the two together. My first presentation where I juggled and spoke to teachers in a professional setting was at the University of Dayton in January 2018. There I spoke to educators from around Ohio on “Incorporating Character Education Into the Curriculum: A Juggling Act.” I not only was asked to come back the following year as Keynote Speaker, I also felt like I tapped into something new and fresh, which has led to this concept of “Entertaining Educator.”  Here we are. 

In December 2020 I wrapped up a five-and-a-half-year Doctoral program at Xavier University by finishing up my dissertation on Teacher Perseverance in secondary teachers. Now, as Dr. Jen Mott | Keynote Speaker my goal is to speak to students, teachers, parents, and any other community members passionate about the schools in their area regarding topics that are meaningful in education and in our world today. I do not simply want to speak, though; I want to focus on entertaining – on truly engaging my audience in a unique way that incorporates juggling and/or balloon storytelling to give visuals to the points I’m trying to make. There are clear applications that can be applied immediately afterwards, too.

As a result of this goal, I have expanded my message to include harnessing our potential for everyone. Therefore, I now speak to – and work with – businesses, nonprofits, organizations, creatives to offer full scale keynote presentations and/or smaller workshops that get the people involved in thinking creatively about their own passions and how they can be incorporated with their careers and lifestyles. Through experience presenting to young and old, I have learned this message applies to all ages, abilities and backgrounds. That of adding passion into our careers for levity and fun, while bringing in our careers to our passions for more depth and richness. In a world that is now more hybrid than ever, it’s important we bring our most authentic selves to what we do, knowing we are more capable than we often credit ourselves. 

Dr. Jen Mott
Jen Mott lighting torches
Every day I am fortunate enough to work with students that are constantly willing to learn and grow and with teachers who are dedicated to their craft and passionate about the work they’re doing. I consider it a great joy to be able to have the time to encourage and motivate them in ways that are unique in order to remind them that what they do and who they are matters. 

A quote from an audience member from a conference presentation that I will carry with me forever is: “Jen Mott did an amazing job of illuminating just what it feels like to be an educator.” I started with the story behind the top cover photo and this all ends with the story behind the picture below.

I want to ignite a fire – to meet teachers and students where they are and build them up so they feel like they can do anything! This is my avenue to do so and if you’ve made it this far, you are officially part of my story so please reach out and let me know how I can help your school or organization feel valued and encouraged. Let’s chat.

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TEDx and Keynote speaker, Dr. Jen Mott, is available for schools and staff as well as corporations, businesses and organizations for team building, motivational keynotes and more. Put a date on hold using the Contact form link below!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Mott

School Administrator Performer & Speaker Extraordinaire