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HUmble beginnings...
Jen grew up in the small town of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.  Lined with rolling hills, and beautiful seasons, Orwigsburg is tucked away in the southern part of the anthracite coal region. The 3,000 + people here are as tough as the anthracite coal itself; including Muhammad Ali, who in the seventies and early eighties, had his training camp here in Deer Lake.

Orwigsburg is where Jen’s passion for climbing trees, running through the woods, sledding, and playing baseball all began. She was actually the first girl to make the town’s Little League all-star baseball team - playing second base. Her supportive family and motivational middle school science teacher/volleyball coach/basketball coach, inspired her to pursue her athletic goals. The classroom was a tough place for Jen, having undiagnosed dyslexia, but the court, track, or field always felt like a place she could excel  with hard work.


In high school, Jen continued her competitive athletic career pursuing three-sports: volleyball, basketball, and track & field. Jen was a setter for the Eagles volleyball team and 'three guard' for the Eagles basketball team. In track & field, Jen ran the 4 x 100 and 4x 400 relays, long-jumped, and threw javelin.  Her senior year, Jen was fortunate to qualify for states in basketball and javelin, placing ninth in Pennsylvania for javelin.  Despite being 5'1" her real passion was volleyball.  She was determined to continue playing volleyball in college.  Eventually, her sports career at Blue Mountain High School earned her a 2006 induction into both the Blue Mountain Sports Hall of Fame and then the ARC Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.


At 5’1”, following her passion and not her height, she pursued her dream of playing Division I college volleyball.  Growing up watching Penn State volleyball games with her family, she always wanted to play on the team she idolized.  In 1992, Penn State just joined the Big Ten, and the following year, in 1993, Jen had an opportunity to walk onto the Penn State Women’s Volleyball Team.  


The transition to Penn State was tough without having big club volleyball experience like the other players. Her red-shirt, freshman, and sophomore years, consisted of having to sit on the sidelines to watch while building fundamental skills in practice, gaining confidence, and learning a new position.  With Fab 50 players, and players with major club volleyball experience, Jen had a long road ahead of her in gaining the volleyball skills needed to transition from a small town high school setter, to a division I college defensive specialist.

Russ Rose, The winningest college volleyball coach with seven National Championships, expected nothing but the best effort from his student-athletes every moment on the court and everyday in the classroom.  With lots of hard work, it was at Penn State where Jen earned All-Academic Awards every season. The team was very competitive winning three Big Ten volleyball championships, making three Final Four appearances, and losing the national championship in five games, her senior year, to Kerri Walsh’s Stanford team.  Penn State won their first national title the following year, followed by six others, in Coach Rose’s successful forty-five years of coaching.

After college, Jen traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast to become an elementary school teacher.  As a second grade teacher, Jen started training Brazilian jiujitsu, sometimes twice a day, and earned her blue belt.  She trained for over two years, but ended up dislocating then tearing her shoulder in a few places during a competition.  Surgery was needed, and she was told she’d never be competitive in any sport again. Jen continued her education earning a Master’s degree from San Diego State University, in reading and writing curriculum instruction, and another forty units beyond.  Jen taught elementary school for the last twenty years - fifth to eighth graders.


While teaching, Jen had her first opportunity to run the Season 6 American Ninja Warrior Course in Venice Beach, CA and then Season 7 the following year.  It was a life-changing, humbling experience, meeting a variety of diverse athletes, with inspiring stories, drive, determination, and incredible skills. She was able to share this experience by promoting health and wellness among teachers, students, and families. Jen's fourth grade class was very active and healthy taking 'movement brain breaks' during transitions, eating healthy snacks, drinking water every hour from a reusable water bottle, participating in EduNinja™ Fit lunch clubs, and meeting up as a class trying new physical activities outside of school.  

Jen  learned just as much, if not more, from the failures versus success. She became even more passionate about learning how to train differently, think differently, and develop the skills to overcome whatever new obstacles may appear. Right after Season 7 of American Ninja Warrior, Jen tore her left Achilles running up a wall in parkour. It was a three quarter tear.  With the Doctor's advice, Jen opted to cast it, boot it, and move on crutches for many months while nature took its course before learning how to walk again. The recovery was two years in patience. This healing time allowed Jen to concentrate on building educational relationships, lead the EduNinja™ health & fitness challenge for teachers, take educator mindfulness classes, and become a positive voice in expressing the benefits of health and wellness in schools. 


Jen was honored to be nominated for the San Diego County Office of Education and NBC Inspirational Teacher of the Month Award for promoting health and wellness among teachers, students, and families. Jen also was presented with The Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association's Ovation Award for improving learning through health awareness and physical exercise. Sept. 2018. Jen started getting asked to do keynote speaking for Cal State Northridge, Penn State University, local schools and even Zoom presentations for teams such as  the Yale Women's Volleyball Team to help individuals perform at their best daily. 


The biggest leap Jen ever made was from the classroom, teaching for over twenty years, to the gym as a full time National Strength and Conditioning Association certified personal trainer helping everyone from elite athletes, to weekend warriors, to people looking to get effective workouts in their own homes. Jen loves taking her teaching and training skills to the next level by building relationships and getting results.


    Keynote Speaking For Teams,            Businesses, or Organizations          Looking To Elevate Their Life 
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Award-winning Ninja teacher
making a difference at Rowe
Grade School Teacher &
American Ninja Warrior
Competitor Jen Burdis
Makes Exercise Approachable
Former Penn State Volleyball Player
Gives Norris Teachers A Push
Inspirational Teacher of the Month:
Jennifer Burdis San Diego Office Of Education And NBC San Diego
The EduNinja Mindset 11 Habits
For Building A Stronger Mind And Body
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  • Penn State Women’s Athletics "Teammates For Life," initiative keynote speaker Elevating Our Life Together! 2023
  • Yale Women’s Volleyball Webinar Empowering Athletes And Unlocking Human Potential. 2020.
  • Penn State College of Education Webinar Taking Care of Yourself Through Nutrition, Movement, and Mindfulness. 2020.
  • Penn State College of Education GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Women’s Leadership Conference: What Achilles Heel? Finding Your Purpose and Passion 2019.
  • DKG International Society for Key Women Educators:  Leading Women Educators Impacting Education Worldwide, California Chapters, It’s Time to Raise the Bar With EduNinjaTM Nutrition, Movement, Mindfulness 2020, 2019.
  • Cal State Northridge Better Together CA: It’s Personal Meeting The Needs of Every Student: “Grit: Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Quit?” 2018. 


  • ARC of Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field)
  • Penn State Volleyball Alumna
  • 2x American Ninja Warrior
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer
  • Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach
  • Author of The EduNinja Mindset 11 Habits For Building a Stronger Mind and Body
  • M.Ed. Over 20 Years of Teaching Experience
  • San Diego County Office of Education and NBC Inspirational Teacher of the Month Award for promoting health and wellness among teachers, students, and families. November 2018.
  • Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association Ovation Award for improving learning through health awareness and physical exercise. Sept. 2018.
  • Eta Chi Chapter DKG Community Service Award for being ‘a trailblazer nurturing life work balance among colleagues.’ June 2019.





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The EduNinja Mindset 11 Habits For Building A Stronger Mind and Body

Jen shares 11 powerful habits to help teams, organizations, and individuals develop top performance skills to be the best. Learn how to:


  • Set and achieve aggressively achievable goals.

  • Develop grit and flexible thinking.

  • Bring your "A" game daily

  • Live with purpose. 

  • Practice mindfulness and reduce stress.

  • Take care of yourself inside and out with basic nutrition and exercise.

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Gabby Reece, Fitness Expert

“Getting young people started in the right direction creates a gift that will serve them their entire lives. The EduNinja Mindset inspires and provides actionable ways to be a Ninja in and out of the classroom. We need as many hands on deck to support each other and young humans finding their way. Life is full of obstacles, but when you have a plan and a clear line it makes getting through them so much easier. Jen knows this first hand, and I am so grateful to her for sharing it with all of us. It does take a village but why not a village of Ninjas?” 


Russ Rose, Retired PSU Volleyball Head Coach

“The EduNinja Mindset epitomizes the journey of Jen, a small-town girl with a learning disability, to a big time role model with a plan to help others.  She never gave less than her best and did it with a smile.” 

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 Dr. John Skretta, Former Superintendent of Norris School District

“We knew Jen Burdis would be an inspirational force addressing our faculty and she didn’t disappoint. The combined skill sets of an elite athlete and a master teacher incarnate in one person! Jen’s story is one of success through resiliency, integrity, and fortitude. Educators everywhere can draw inspiration from her example.”

Invite Jen To Speak To Your Team, Business, Or Organization
To Set A Strategic Plan For Developing A High Performance Mindset, Resilience By Looking At Obstacles As Opportunities, And Wellness Strategies For Sustainability.


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EduNinja TM  Fit Teachers

Through Keynote speaking, professional development workshops, and NSCA- Certified Professional Trainer fitness sessions EduNinja™ Fit Teachers has been

empowering teachers to use a growth mindset when practicing kinesthetic techniques, movement, sound nutritional habits, and mindfulness tools to meet the needs of the whole child for years.


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EduNinja TM 30 Day Challenge

The EduNinja™ 30-Day Health and Wellness Challenge was launched in 2015 to promote healthy habits and fitness activities for teachers, students, families, and friends. Through this yearly challenge, students, their families, and teachers have learned to live stronger, healthier lives through nutrition, movement, and mindfulness. 


EduNinja TM Fit Students

EduNinja™ Fit Students empowers students to become self-sufficient learners by independently applying kinesthetic techniques, sound nutritional habits, and mindfulness tools to achieve success.

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